Fresh off winning the ACCHL Fall Tournament, the top ranked Pack traveled to Ohio to take on the 11th ranked University of Cincinnati Bearcats. The matchup featured teams with nationals two trips to the ACHA nationals to their credit in the last three years. The Icepack pounded the Bearcats over their two game set, 7-1 and 8-3. The Icepack entered into the game ranked #2 nationally and #1 regionally.
In game one the Icepack welcomed back Senior Riley Johnson from injury. After a tight game through most of the first period, Johnson and linemate Senior Parker Szarek, scored consecutive goals on the same shift to put the Icepack up 2-0 to close out the first. The Bearcats would get one back of their own to narrow the lead to 2-1 but the Icepack would reel off five consecutive goals by Junior Victor Hugo, Szarek’s second, Sophomore Drew Bresingham and two third period tallies from Freshmen Zack Robinson. Erik Daniel notched the win turning aside 28 shots.
The second game featured more of the same as Johnson answered back an early Bearcat goal to tie the game at one a minute into the first. It was part of six unanswered goals scored by the Icepack. Johnson would add his second of the game midway through the first, while Freshmen Emery Oliver closed out the first period scoring. The Pack would add goals by the Senior Don Johnson, Freshmen Zack Robinson and Colby Pederson to take a 6-2 lead into the final frame. Matt Miller and Charles Monteith would close out the scoring in the third as Eric Daniel got the win in net. Garrett Auriene notched two assists on the night to lead the way on points.
The weekend marked the second time in a row that the Icepack skated with the target of being the top ranked team in the Southeast Region. The top two teams in each region after the final computer rankings in February advance directly to the National Finals in St. Louis, while the next twelve teams will tray to advance to nationals through a regional tournament, where two teams advance. Nationally the Icepack are ranked #2, a tenth of a point behind defending National Champion, University of Mary. The Icepack are in a stretch of 10 straight games against regionally ranked teams with #13 UNC-Chapel Hill up next and #2 Liberty University in a home and home to start second semester.
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