Postgame: Pack fall short to the Deacs

State falls to Wake Forest in the ACCHL Semi Final

The long season finally has come to an end that not many people wanted to see. A strong 3rd period comeback by the Icepack just wasn’t enough, as Wake Forest advanced in the ACCHL tournament to ultimately fall to UNC Charlotte in the championship match.

It seemed as if State would take the victory no problem, as Mr Clutch in Sam Banasiewicz scored within the first minute of play. Getting that quick start has been an issue for the Icepack all season and as of late, they’ve been able to start that momentum quickly. The momentum that created wasn’t in favor though, as a quick response from the Demon Deacons started what would be a long night of back and forth play. James Caras quickly burst through the neutral zone and beat Joey Hall on a very quick wrister. Wake struck twice more before Tyler Alfonzetti, the ACC scholar athlete of the year, beat goaltender Corey Colangelo short side on a partial breakaway to make the game 3-2 heading into the first intermission.

A mundane second period lasted just over the halfway mark, as Banasiewicz knotted things up at 3. Wake Forest regained the lead to finish the period with a 4-3 lead. Not too much later into the third, it was James Caras again for the guys in the yellow and black who extended that lead to 5-3 against Joey Hall, then another quick talley by the bad guys made it 6-3.

Then the comeback began.

After a timeout taken by Coach Gazzillo, the Icepack found the energy they lost following the quick start from Banasiewicz. Luis Giminez then came rushing through the neutral zone to make a power move in the offensive zone, then fired a backhander past Colangelo to make it 6-4. Eric Mura positioned himself well in front of the net in the slot and bodied a puck in to make it 6-5. All was seemingly going well, but the arena was a bit too quiet from the guys in the black and white stripes. Until at the 1 minute mark of the game, momentum was completely halted when a last minute hooking call was made against Tyler Alfonzetti.

“The guys worked hard,” said Head Coach Mike Gazzillo. “We’re a really good 5-5 team and it’s hard to play when we’re stuck in the box… but I’m proud of the guys.”

The compete level was tremendous throughout the tournament, as State rocked JMU 8-4 and seemingly had enough to advance to the final. If it makes any difference, the Icepack finished off with a +3 goal differential in 2 games.

“It’s hard to walk into a locker room like that and say much to them,” said Gazzillo. “We asked the guys and our seniors to have discipline, and give out effort… we had the discipline… they left it all out on the ice… sometimes I get on them about things, but it’s only because I want the best for them on and off the ice. We did the best we could.”

Another Icepack season comes to a close. As difficult as it was to see the team go down in the final, there was a lot of positives to take away. Sam Banasiewicz notching his 100th career goal, Will Biberdorf coming back to the lineup and potting one, and Luis Giminez being an incredible leader in his final season as an Icepack member. The graduating seniors gave it their absolute all, and it led to two amazing performances at the PNC Arena. This will be a season to always remember.

Thanks for following along this season! It’s been a blast keeping everyone posted on the website and helping out with the PackTV broadcast crew. We’ll see you next time! -Zak Selwaeh

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