It’s never easy to lose a close game to your rivals, let alone two within a two-day span. Unfortunately, this is reality for the Icepack, as they come out of a weekend duel with the Liberty Flames winless. The Icepack took on Liberty in the recently-dubbed “Wagon Wheel” series, an annual contest between the two southeastern ACHA DII clubs aiming to be perennial National tournament contenders, suffering two one-goal losses in the process.
The series began last Friday at LaHaye Ice Center in Lynchburg, Virginia, with the NC State Icepack looking to find some steady ground and build momentum as the fall semester of play winds down. However, the game started off in opposite fashion, as Liberty took advantage of the traveling Icepack team, jumping out to a 2-0 lead after one period of play.
The group continued to demonstrate their season-long resilience, as goals by sophomores Philip Bailey and Zack Robinson would bring the game to a tie early in the third period. The game went back and forth for the remainder of the final frame, but saw the Icepack receive the short end of the stick, losing 5-4.
Game two shifted to Invisalign Arena in Raleigh, where the Icepack would seek to redeem themselves on home ice after a hard-fought loss a day prior. Despite changing locations for the second game, the team found themselves in familiar territory as game one, falling behind 1-0 early in the contest.
Another key Zack Robinson goal brought the game to 1-1 later in the first, which would prove to be the final goal of regulation. The team fought valiantly for 60-plus minutes, but found themselves on the bitter end of defeat once again, with Liberty scoring late in OT to seal the game, 2-1.
As is often the case with the densely-packed schedule the Icepack accrued this season, there’s little time to dwell on tough results. The University of Cincinnati Bearcats come to town for a two-game contest this weekend, a team the Icepack defeated in decisive fashion in Cincinnati last season, notching 7-1 and 8-3 wins. The teams face off this weekend at 8:35PM EST on Friday night and 8:15PM EST on Saturday night at Invisalign Arena.
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