RALEIGH — As the first quarter of the hockey season draws to a close, it's time to take a closer look under the hood at the thrilling journey the Icepack's undergone thus far.
In this brief yet comprehensive recap, we will delve into the statistics and team awards, as well as highlight some key quotes from an array of the team's players as they reflect on the young season.
Player Statistics Leaders
LEADER — Garrett Auriene (6)
RUNNERS UP -- Nick Shook (5), Zach Herman/Philip Bailey (4)
LEADER — Caid Cox (7)
RUNNERS UP -- Joey Gouveia (7), Zach Herman (7)
LEADER — Zach Herman (11)
RUNNERS UP — Garrett Auriene (10), Caid Cox (9)
LEADER — Caid Cox (9)
RUNNERS UP — Nick Shook (8), Joey Gouveia (7)
LEADER — Caid Cox (9)
RUNNERS UP — Ricky Frosch (5), Alex James (4)
LEADER — Addison Lawrence (.946)
RUNNERS UP — Isaac Tawyer (.882), Eric Daniel (.853)
GOALS AGAINST AVERAGE:
LEADER — Addison Lawrence (1.71)
RUNNERS UP — Isaac Tawyer (3.51), Eric Daniel (3.95)
TEAM RECORD — 4-4-0
WIN PERCENTAGE — .500 (4th in ACCHL Premier, 69th in ACHA M2)
GOAL DIFFERENTIAL — +13 (3rd in ACCHL Premier, 32nd in ACHA M2)
POWER PLAY — 25.0% (6th in ACCHL Premier, 61st in ACHA M2)
PENALTY KILL — 80.8% (2nd in ACCHL Premier, 46th in ACHA M2)
First Quarter Awards
FORWARD OF THE QUARTER — Zach Herman
What's the Team's Feeling on the Season So Far?
RALEIGH — Another week of Icepack play has come and gone, and there's plenty to reflect on from the team's most recent battles with the Liberty Flames.
Here's a look back at the weekend prior, as well as what's in store for the team tonight as they kick off their ACCHL league play.
Icepack Splits Series with Rival Flames
As mentioned in the previous edition of "Icepack Insider," the 'Pack sought to gain a leg up in their bitter rivalry with the D2 Liberty Flames, a team they have remained on relatively equal ground with for the past three years.
The series' first game kicked off at Invisalign Arena, where the Icepack sought to take advantage of a Flames team who had yet to play a game on the road this season.
A tumultuous first 25 minutes of the game saw three different lead changes between the Flames and Icepack, two of them in favor of the visitor. However, late second period goals from rookie Aiden Brenner (shorthanded) and assistant captain Jackson Cowen helped the Icepack regain the lead and ride the momentum to a 5-3 win. Forward Zach Herman had himself a day, notching a goal and two assists in the statement win.
The second game shifted to LaHaye Ice Center, as the Icepack traveled north in attempt to complete the sweep of the "Wagon Wheel" series with the Flames for the first time in its existence.
Game two, unlike game one, was deadlocked for roughly 42 minutes total, as one power play goal for either team was all that stood through 59 minutes of play. The Flames finally broke through with 50 seconds remaining in the contest, holding on to win the game by a score of 2-1.
A diamond in the rough of the heartbreaking loss was a dominant performance by rookie goaltender Addison Lawrence, stopping 50 of 52 shots (.962 SV%) in his Icepack debut, earning him the honor of Primo X Hockey "Player of the Week."
Icepack Opens ACCHL Play with UNC Wilmington
The Icepack draws their first league game of the season tonight, as the UNC Wilmington Seahawks flock to Invisalign Arena for a Thursday night matchup.
NC State has had the Seahawks' number recently, going 4-0-1 in their last five head-to-head games and outscoring Wilmington by a colossal margin of 24-9. The Seahawks are 5-3-0 on the young season, as well as 1-1 on the road.
A major key to victory for the Icepack will be activating their power play. The team operated at a measly 14.2% (1/7) on the man advantage last weekend, a mark the 'Pack will certainly seek to improve as the season drones on.
Puck drop is at 9:00 p.m. at Invisalign Arena tonight. Make sure to pack the stands, pun fully intended, and give the team the best home ice advantage possible for a strong start to league play.
Written by: Connor Corrigan-Webster
RALEIGH — The Icepack's 2023-24 season campaign is in full swing, and it won't be slowing down anytime soon.
With a handful of games in the books since our last check-in, let's take a look at how the season's unfolded in the meantime, as well as preview the big pair of games coming up this week.
Tough Losses at Liberty, vs Kentucky
As we covered in our previous installation of "Icepack Insider," NC State traveled to Lynchburg nearly three weeks ago to face the Division I Liberty Flames. The annual early-season matchup at LaHaye Ice Center is never an easy one, and this year was no different, as the Icepack suffered a compelling 7-2 loss.
On the brighter side of things, goaltender Eric Daniel shined in the matchup, recording a .923 (24/26) save percentage in relief and notching an assist on the second goal. The loss dropped their record against the D1 Flames to 0-4 all-time, being outscored 33-13 in the process.
The team didn't have long to dwell on the loss, however, as the Kentucky Wildcats came to town for the Icepack's first test at home.
The Icepack started the game by putting up two goals in the first 21 minutes, but difficulty scoring on the power play (1/8, good for 12.5% efficiency) allowed the Wildcats to storm back from the deficit, resulting in a 5-2 loss, the first on home ice this season.
Forward Philip Bailey had a big night for the club, recording two goals in the narrow loss to a highly-respected Kentucky team.
Icepack Splits Road Series With Penn State
The busy schedule continued rolling on the following weekend, as the team traveled north to State College for a two-game series with the Penn State Nittany Lions. The series had "revenge" written all over it for the Icepack, as they sought to defeat a Nittany Lions team that had knocked them out of the ACCHL Tournament the season prior.
The first game, similar to their game against Kentucky the week before, saw the Icepack jump out to a 2-0 lead early in the game. This time, however, the group held their ground, notching a 3-1 win and their first road victory of the young 2023-24 season.
The team couldn't achieve the road sweep, unfortunately, as a 4-2 loss evened up the series with the Nittany Lions. The teams met twice last season too, splitting those games as well.
Forwards Zach Robinson and Garrett Auriene had convincing weekends, putting up two goals and two assists, respectively. Defenseman Caid Cox continued an extremely impressive rookie campaign, notching an assist in the second game, bringing his season total to six points in five games played.
Home-And-Home With D2 Flames On Deck
Despite a less-than-deal start to the season in terms of physical record, the Icepack has the chance to make a statement this weekend with the D2 Liberty Flames coming to town for their annual "Wagon Wheel" home-and-home series.
Since 2020-21, the Icepack and Flames have met six times, three times at home and three times on the road for either team. The rivalry has been about as evenly matched as one could imagine, with each team going 2-2-2 and a slight goal differential advantage in favor of the Icepack (+1).
The Flames have had an excellent start to their season, going 3-0-1 (.833 win percentage) and chalking a goal differential of plus-12. The red-hot Liberty squad has yet to play a game on the road this season, however, so a raucous crowd in Raleigh will be crucial for the Icepack to start the series off strong.
The series' first game is tonight at 9:00 p.m. at Invisalign Arena, while game two shifts to LaHaye Ice Center tomorrow night at 10:15 p.m.
The Icepack is excited to launch a partnership with Ticket Sauce. By moving to this new platform the Icepack will deliver an improved fan ticketing experience. The best news is that unlike traditional ticket platforms with Ticket Sauce there are zero user fees. If you have already bought tickets through our website, look for an email from Ticket Sauce with your new tickets, they will automatically be transferred over. We anticipate less and less availability of walk-up tickets so we highly encourage purchasing ahead of time. In particular we expect the UNC game to sell-out in advance. If you are bringing a fan 17 and under, they must be ticketed as well, however, there is a category that provides free tickets through Ticket Sauce. Season Ticket Members will continue to utilize their wristbands. Purchase your tickets here.
It's been a big week for the Icepack. From putting up a football score in their home opener to naming the team's tangible leaders, a lot went down behind the doors of Invisalign Arena.
Here's the latest scoop on what's been going on, as well as a look into what will likely be the team's biggest challenge this season.
Icepack Opens Season With 17-3 Home Win vs. ECU
Season openers are fun regardless of the final score. That being said, it’d be tough to open the season in a better way than the Icepack did last Friday.
The Icepack kicked their 2023-24 campaign off with a bang, dismantling the visiting East Carolina Pirates by a whopping score of 17-3. Yes, you read that right. 17.
It was a team effort all night long, as 15 separate skaters managed to record a point. 12 players notched multi-point games, including this week's "'Primo X Hockey' Player of the Week", junior forward Thomas McEneny (three goals, one assist).
Yellow skate laces are a rite of passage for the team's rookies, as first-year players are only allowed to sub them out for the traditional white laces once they record their first goal with the team. FIVE different rookies managed to get their yellow laces off during Friday's home opener, including Nick Shook, Aiden Brenner, Holden Koufman, Caid Cox, and Spencer Harman.
A massive night for the Icepack, and a season opener to remember for the players and 1,500+ fans in attendance.
Team Names Captain, Three Alternates For 2023-24 Group
During practice this week, the team revealed their captaincy for the upcoming season, including one primary and three alternates to serve as the leaders of the up-and-coming Icepack squad. Here's a quick look at the letter representatives:
CAPTAIN - Garrett Auriene (#17)
The newly announced, grizzled leadership group will attempt to lead the Icepack to new team heights this season.
Icepack Ships Off to Lynchburg
While East Carolina may not have posed much of a threat to the Icepack's high-octane talent, their next matchup, the Division I Liberty Flames, is equally as bolstered. In what has become an annual matchup between these two teams, the Icepack heads to Lynchburg, Virginia in attempt to take down a perennial powerhouse in their own building.
This matchup isn't one that's favored the Icepack in the past. Since the two teams first faced off in the 2020-21 season, NC State has lost all three matchups, tallying up to a combined score of 24-9. This is no indictment on the Icepack, however, as the Flames are widely seen as one of the best club hockey organizations in the nation. It all starts with the Flames' top team, who has has gone 50-24-2 since the 2020-21 season, good for a .658 win percentage.
While the team has yet to pull out a win against this particular Liberty group, this is most certainly one of their best chances to do so. The Flames come into Friday's matchup yet to play a game, meanwhile the Icepack will be arriving firing on all cylinders and riding high from their home opener. Combine that with the Icepack trotting out one of the most talented rosters the program has ever seen, and it may just be enough to shock the college hockey world on Friday night.
Vibes are high around the 2023-24 Icepack right now, and for good reason. New and old faces alike have been congregating at Invisalign Arena for the past two weeks with immense excitement for the season ahead. The team has worked tirelessly in order to get ready for the season opener on Friday night against the East Carolina Pirates, nobody can deny that.
However, at the end of the day, hockey is fun. It's meant to be a release valve from the everyday life stressors, ranging from aerospace engineering courses to part-time jobs and everything in between. For that reason, I decided to take the fun route during Icepack Media Day on Tuesday, asking each of the 29 players a interesting hypothetical question. Enjoy.
1) Would you rather have hands for feet or feet for hands?
Ricky Frosch (#5)
Defense / Long Island, NY / Grad Student / Physiology
Forward / Eastover, NC / Freshman / Engineering
Forward / Winston-Salem, NC / Freshman / Engineering
Goalie / Raleigh, NC / Grad Student / Electrical Engineering
Forward / Youngsville, NC / Senior / Information Technology
2) Would you rather never be able to taste food or see color?
Drew Breshingham (#14)
Forward / Oswego, IL / Senior / Environmental Tech & Management
Defense / Greensboro, NC / Freshman / Sport Management
Defense / Livingston, MT / Freshman / Aerospace Engineering
Forward / Vernon Hills, IL / Freshman / Computer Science
3) Would you have a better chance to survive zombie or robots?
Joey Gouveia (#21)
Forward / Raleigh, NC / Junior / Elementary Education
Forward / Amherst, NH / Sophomore / Business Administration
Defense / Charlotte, NC / Sophomore / Business Administration
Goalie / Cary, NC / Sophomore / Business Administration
4) Would you rather always have an itch or always smell bad?
Jackson Cowen (#4)
Defense / Cary, NC / Senior / Sport Management
Forward / Apex, NC / Junior / Sport Management
Defense / Raleigh, NC / Sophomore / Sport Management
Forward / Cary, NC / Freshman / Business
5) If you could bring three things with you on a desert island, what would you bring and why?
Alex James (#15)
Defense / Lakeville, MN / Junior / Finance
Defense / Apex, NC / Freshman / Business
Defense / Georgia, VT / Freshman / Aerospace Engineering
Goalie / Danvers, MA / Junior / Industrial Engineering & Economics
6) Do you think you’d have a better chance at getting 10 rushing yards in an NFL game or 2 three pointers in an NBA game?
Emery Oliver (#22)
Forward / Raleigh, NC / Junior / Electrical Engineering
Forward / Geneva, SUI / Sophomore / Textile Technology
Forward / Holly Springs, NC / Junior / Bioprocessing Science
Forward / Wake Forest, NC / Junior / Business Management
7) If you could have one superpower, what would it be and why?
Luke Jagielski (#16)
Defense / Apex, NC / Senior / Marketing
Forward / Holly Springs, NC / Sophomore / Entrepreneurship
Forward / Raleigh, NC / Junior / Parks, Recreation and Tourism
Forward / Holly Springs, NC / Sophomore / Business Entrepreneurship
For those who enjoy sports, there's nothing quite like fall. The leaves change colors, the air smells better, but, most importantly, hockey is BACK.
While excitement levels are high for a new chapter in the metaphorical Icepack book, anxiety and stress filled the room for what was arguably the most merciless round of tryouts in the Icepack's history. For those who have been around the Icepack, it comes as no surprise that this year's tryouts were a gauntlet of competition.
"I've been here for four years now, and this has hands down been the fastest tryouts the team has had in that time," said senior defenseman Jackson Cowen during Tuesday night's tryout session. "It speaks to what Tim [Healy] and former players have built and how much the game has grown here. It's great to see the foundation of the team starting at a high level, and we believe we're going to be built to win games in March."
Defense wins championships, plain and simple. It's a mantra as old as time in the sports world, and continues to be proven true. Luckily for the Icepack, there was a clear surplus of talented blue-liners at this year's tryouts, and the team's veterans took notice.
"The defensive corps is already looking like it'll receive a major boost," said graduate student forward Garrett Auriene. "The skates have been high tempo, and it's clear to us that we have a chance to go to nationals. We're bringing the program to a whole new level this season, and we can't wait to get our redemption tour underway."
Tensions may have been high this week, but that doesn't mean there wasn't a sense of relief to be back at the rink.
"It's a good feeling to be back here with the guys," junior forward Zack Robinson said after an intense shift during Tuesday's tryout scrimmage. "There's a lot of talent coming in this year, and it's just good to be back with the boys and to meet some of the new faces that I'll be seeing around the rink all year long."
New faces is certainly one thing the Icepack has plenty of this season. With the conclusion of tryouts on Thursday night, the team will see 13 new faces this year, accounting for nearly a 45% turnover from last year's roster. With less than two weeks until the season opener against the East Carolina Pirates, it's all "pedal to the metal" in order to get ramped up for the grueling season ahead.
By: Connor Corrigan-Webster
Team Sports Writer & Journalist
136 days. That's how long it's been since the Icepack last took the ice. Feels like an eternity, right?
While the Icepack may have fell short of their national championship aspirations last season, all eyes are looking through the windshield at the season ahead. With one of the best recruiting classes in school history, the team aims to collect some new talent and make a push for their first ever national title.
The first piece of the puzzle in the Icepack's quest for glory is their game schedule. With the 2023-24 game-slate being released today, I wanted to walk you all through some of the many intriguing and important dates and events to mark in your calendars.
If you want to catch all the action at Invisalign Arena this season, be sure to purchase your season tickets here!
Home & Season Opener vs. East Carolina Pirates
The Icepack opens their season at home with a game against the in-state East Carolina Pirates (9/8). The team last played ECU during the 2021-22 season, in which they routed the visiting Pirates by a score of 8-0.
The opening game of any season always has a sense of excitement around it, regardless of opponent or location. The itch for hockey finally gets scratched with the initial puck drop, and there's no better place to kick off an inevitably-exciting season than at home in front of the amazing Icepack fans.
The Icepack are one of the biggest brands in the American Collegiate Hockey Association and we are love our sponsors. Last year over over 45 thousand people saw the Pack play live at Invisalign Arena, PNC Arena and Carter-Finley Stadium. The Pack will host the likes of Liberty, UNC and Texas A&M and you can be part of the action. By sponsoring the Pack you get prime sign placement on gamedays, access to fun gameday giveaways and best of all, you help The Pack! With under 3% of our funds coming from the NCSU, our sponsors help push us to victory! Click here for sponsorship opportunities or contact Head Coach Tim Healy here. All sponsorships are fully customizable.