State takes down JMU 8-4 to open tournament.
A quick start, a dominant 1st period, and strong showings from Sam Banasiewicz, Trevor Merchant, and Tyler Alfonzetti was the story of the opening game for State in the ACCHL tournament. Joey Hall stood on his head and Ryan Kinney continued his return to action, all in help of pushing the Pack to a 8-4 victory Friday evening.
Quickly into the first, after being recognized as the scholar athlete of the year for the ACC, Tyler Alfzonetti quickly potted one for the Icepack, followed by a beautiful tip out in front from Trevor Merchant. James Madison was quick in the first, and while they did send one past Joey Hall, Eric Todd continued his wonderful slot positioning and had a juicy tip in deep from Luis Giminez, and the captain clutch in Sam Banasiewicz cellied his way into having 2 scores in the first. State came out charging.
Boy, it was wild.
The second period died down and it was a lot more back and forth, as James Madison switched out their starter for a mammoth backup goaltender, who towered in height at 6’6. But that didn’t stop the determination of State and their ability to find a way to crash the net, as another beauty was scored by Trevor Merchant. James Madison clawed their way back quickly, answering most of the goals to finish off the second period.
The Dukes couldn’t stop Ryan Kinney or Ian O’Rourke, as they potted the 7th and 8th goals of the game, respectively. JMU could only put 4 behind Joey Hall in the end. All the offense contributed to one of the most promising statistics of the season for the Icepack; this is the 6th game in a row where they have scored 5+ goals, and the 3rd of 6 where the team has scored 8+ goals.
“It makes it easier to win when we’re getting goals from all 4 lines, even if it’s opportunities,” said Coach Mike Gazzillo after the game. “Guys are pitching in, they want it, we need to keep it going.”
Trevor Merchant had a dominant night as well, registering 2 goals and an assist, being one of the teams most consistent and gritty second line forwards.
“[Coach] Gazzillo has been working with us in practice to help guys get to the front of the net and drive,” said Merchant. “Every once in a while there would be a perfect pot pass off the pad and no one would be there to bury it… but today we did.”
The Pack will now advance to take on Wake Forest tonight at 7PM, after sweeping the Demon Deacons 2-0 in the season series. Ethan Barry and Zak Selwaeh will have the call starting at 6:45PM live from the Main Street Arena, on PackTV’s YouTube livestream. For all updates and moments that can’t be missed, stay tuned by following @icepackgameday, @ncstatehockey, and @intothepack on twitter.