The NC State Icepack will be heading to Charlotte this weekend to take part in the Stephen Russell Memorial Tournament. The Icepack heads into the tournament with an 8-3-0 (2-0-0 ACCHL) record, with its only losses coming from dropping a single game in the Liberty Showcase tournament to MSU-Denver and the other two from an unsuccessful road trip north to take on Stevenson and St. Joseph’s.
Since then, NC State has won three straight against Elon, UNC-Charlotte and UNC-Wilmington, posting an overall goal differential of plus-19 in those three games.The tournament, which is usually held in Raleigh, is held in honor of the late Stephen Russell, a member of the NC State men’s hockey team from 2006-09. Stephen sadly passed away in the summer of 2009 before his senior year, but due to his passion and love for the sport, the Atlantic Coast Collegiate Hockey League decided to hold the tournament in honor to remember him and celebrate the sport.
The tournament used to be called the Canes Cup and involved only four teams. Since then, the tournament has continued to grow, and it now encompasses all 16 teams in the ACCHL and is used as a semiofficial marker to the start of ACCHL play for the entire league despite some league games having happened before the tournament.
The tournament is a point-based system in which all teams will play in three games and also includes an individual skill-based competition that goes into the scoring.
For a game win, a team will earn four points. If a team is leading after the end of a period, they will earn two points. If a game ends tied, both teams will earn two points, and if a period ends with the score tied, both teams will earn one point.
The winner of each skill competition earns three points for their team, second place earns two, and third place earns one. Finally, the skills relay winners will earn an additional point for their team. Last year, the Icepack finished second in the final tournament standings despite going 3-0 in its tournament games, losing by only a single point in the official score to the University of Virginia. NC State last won the tournament in 2015, achieving 31 total tournament points.
This year, NC State is set to take on that same UVA team and also scheduled to play both Georgetown and Virginia Tech. Last season, the Icepack defeated Georgetown 10-0, Virginia Tech 7-4 and UVA in the ACCHL finals by a score of 4-2 to advance to the ACHA Southeast Regionals. All three teams, but especially UVA, will be looking to get revenge and prove themselves by trying to beat the current best team in the league.