Emma Sheppard via The Technician: The NC State Icepack held senior night at the Raleigh IcePlex playing host to the UNC-Wilmington Seahawks on Friday night.
The Icepack (19-3-0) played poor hosts, as the Seahawks (11-8-1) came into the IcePlex hoping to better their resume for a bid to the postseason with a win over the Icepack. The ice tilted in favor of the Icepack multiple times as NC State cruised to a 7-1 victory.
NC State players got their skates laced, warmed up, took the ice and then scored. Forty-six seconds after the puck dropped, senior forward Matt Costigan started senior night off the right way by putting a pass from senior forward Owen Drugan into the back of the net through all kinds of traffic.
UNCW showed its resilience with a goal of its own shortly after, but the lone goal in the first period would be the only time the Seahawks saw the scoresheet.
Junior defenseman Ian O’Rourke would find his way into the scoresheet, however, by being in the right place at the right time to be perfectly set up by sophomore forward Parker Szarek and junior forward Eric Todd. Szarek picked up another assist by creating a goal for freshman forward Chris Solomon to make it 3-1 before the first period ended.
Leading 3-1, the Icepack started the second period off with a jump as well, sophomore forward Riley Johnson found sophomore forward Alex Robinson on a breakaway, who scored a beautiful goal on the backhand not even two minutes into the period to make it 4-1 NC State.
The Icepack used the vibrant start to the second to not look back. Costigan fired home his second goal of the night with a set up from freshman forward Garrett Auriene to make it 5-1, however, the tag team of Szarek and Solomon was not to be outdone. Solomon fired home a rebound to make it 6-1, and Szarek received another assist.
To end the second period, senior forward Laythe Jadallah unwrapped his present from senior forward Nikita Anistratov and beat the goalie on a breakaway to make it 7-1, Icepack.
The scoring was brought to a halt in a chippy third period between the two squads, where UNCW tried to battle back in the game but to no avail, as the Icepack defense stood its ground to defend the six-goal lead and set sail for a 7-1 victory.
Costigan had a game to remember for his senior night, with two goals scored, a huge victory, and to top it off, his mother taking home a new Icepack jersey in the jersey raffle.
“Call it a hat trick,” Costigan said. “I’ve been on the team for four years but this is the first multi-goal game I’ve had. I’m more of a role player so it feels good to do it in my last home game.”
When asked about the upcoming postseason and the tension that comes with it, Costigan said finding the goal-scoring rhythm makes it easier for the team to continue pumping energy into their play to keep going.
“Nights like tonight definitely help boost that for sure,” Costigan said.
Coach Mike Gazzillo highlighted the speed that the Icepack played with to be a factor in it’s win, as well as playing the game as you practice, and it’s precision passing to move the puck in the neutral zone.
“Play for your seniors,” Gazzillo said. “Every player on the team has heard the same thing for years, the motivation is always there.”