In case you missed it this morning, want more preview information or are just biased in the “RED” direction, you can find an NCSU-slanted game preview with help from NCSU student and PA Announcer Drew Blevins HERE.
Simple – 7pm / PNC Arena / $5 (or technically free)
If you are just catching up with the possibility of a Thursday night local hockey even, the details are pretty simple. At the home of our beloved Carolina Hurricanes, the North Carolina State men’s hockey team will face its arch rivals from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. No tickets are required and admission is free (though a $5 donation is requested) with choice of seats much better than you can get for a Hurricanes game for less than $50. It is really pretty simple. Deck yourself out in your choice of Wolfpack red or Tar Heel blue. Grab $5 (parking is also free). Head to PNC Arena in time for the 7pm start or to mingle earlier with doors opening around 6pm.
Canes and Coffee coverage and also hope to meet a few people
Canes and Coffee will be running a short series of articles today previewing the game. Matt, Cory and Andrew (with official duties covering the game for the Technician) will be in attendance for Canes and Coffee. Specific details are pending, but my hope is to get their early and post a quick heads up on my location on Twitter in hopes using the event to meet a few more people from our Canes hockey community and Twittersphere.
From the blue side – UNC Tar Heel hockey
Chiming in from the blue side is Trevor Lenzmeier. Trevor a junior reporting major and creative writing minor at UNC Chapel Hill. He is the editor and founder of Carolina Hockey Central, a student-operated media hub dedicated to Carolina Club Hockey that provides game coverage, highlights, a coach’s show, and more. Founded in 2016, our goal is to increase visibility for Carolina’s hockey team on campus, but also for the sport of hockey in North Carolina as a whole.
Canes and Coffee: In addition to the rivalry and bragging rights, what does UNC Hockey have on the line in Thursday’s match up against NC State?
Trevor Lenzmeier: After a thumping of a 6-2 victory on NC State’s home ice earlier this season, the Heels are looking to sweep the season series – doing it in front of a heavy Wolf Pack crowd at PNC Arena would only make the victory sweeter. But I think this game is even more important because of its proximity to the ACCHL Tournament in Charlottesville in a few weekends, which both teams are expected to qualify for. The Heels have a chance to prove they’re a championship-caliber team with a win tonight, but State has the same opportunity.
Canes and Coffee: How would you describe UNC hockey’s style of play?
Trevor Lenzmeier: The Heels play a quick brand of hockey and use their speed to out-skate larger, more physical teams. The Heels don’t have a lot of bruisers, but guys like Ben Sisemore play above their size to create pressure against opposing teams and ultimately open up the ice for speedy scorers like Ricky Chen and Andrew Jordan. If the Heels can find open ice and stay out of the penalty box, I think they should be successful against State.
Canes and Coffee: Which players lead the 2016-17 UNC Hockey squad?
Trevor Lenzmeier: The Heels have looked a lot of places for leadership this year after facing injury woes early in the season, but have come upon a really solid core group of leaders. AJ Hamel and Brendan Radatovich are two of the most talented players in the ACCHL and play the game smart on both sides of the ice. Joe Baglio missed about half of the season with a fractured fibula, but he’s brought a great physical energy to the Tar Heels’ bench since his return. Last but not least is Ricky Chen, who was relatively quiet on the score sheet for the first half of the season but created tons of opportunities. Lately, he hasn’t been able to miss – he had four of the Heels’ five goals in their last game versus the Citadel in Charleston, and his line with Andrew Jordan and Ben Millar has been the deadliest for the Heels in 2017. I’d expect them to get the start tonight against State.
Canes and Coffee: How is UNC Hockey’s 2016-17 season going so far?
Trevor Lenzmeier: Carolina’s 2017 has started much better than last year’s portion of the campaign. The Heels are 8-12-1, but six of those wins came from their last seven games. After starting off the season 0-5, struggling with injury and team identity, and slipping a bit from ACCHL playoff contention, the Heels have bounced back and guaranteed a spot in the tournament (2/17-19). Carolina won five games in a row between November and last weekend, when they fell to the College of Charleston before bouncing back to blow out the Citadel 5-0. The winning streak began following a tough loss to Wake Forest in Winston-Salem, the morning after which beloved UNC goaltender coach “Lefty” passed away. The team really rallied around their late coach and looks like an entirely different team than the one that lost to Wake that night.
Canes and Coffee: On the opposing bench, what does NC State bring to the game that UNC Hockey must counter to be successful in Thursday’s game?
Trevor Lenzmeier: Two words: Sam Banasiewicz. I’m kidding, but only a little bit. He has the talent, speed, size, and scoring ability to spark his NC State squad, and has the ability to take the game into his own hands when necessary. Hamel, Radatovich, and defenseman Vince Boudreau are going to need to shut down Banasiewicz, a notable scratch from the Heels and Pack’s last meeting. Beyond that, State is a deep team with a lot of size and speed – Carolina needs to stick to their game, shadow Banasiewicz, and play good team hockey throughout. It’ll take more than an individual’s effort for the Heels to be successful.
Canes and Coffee: To win this big rivalry game, UNC must ________.
Trevor Lenzmeier: The Heels have to shut down Banasiewicz, stay out of the penalty box, and play sound defense in front of their keepers if they’re going to win tonight. The Jordan/Chen/Millar line staying hot would be a huge bonus for the Heels, who I think will have to put up more than two goals to leave PNC with a victory. Both Gabe Harousseau and Chris Bakolia were solid over the weekend between the pipes for the Heels, but with Bakolia coming off a shutout, I wouldn’t be surprised if he gets the start.
The puck drops at 7pm! Grab your school gear and head out to PNC Arena for a fun night of local hockey!
Go Tar Heels (for this post :-))