Please also check out the dueling red preview for the NC State Icepack side of the game.
On Monday night at 7pm at PNC Arena the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill and North Carolina State will square off again for local hockey bragging rights. The game is round three of the “Backyard Brawl” series that kicked off last winter.
For those with an open slot on their calendars for Monday night, the event is highly recommended as a great way to both enjoy and support our local hockey community. Parking is free and admission is just a suggested $5 contribution at the door to help support local hockey.
Update from Carolina Hockey General Manager/Head Coach Jeff Volkman
Canes and Coffee: How has Carolina Hockey’s 2017-18 season played out thus far?
Jeff Volkman: Definitely a building year with a tremendous amount of effort into development; we’ve been fortunate to have impactful newcomers John Beeson, Mason Regan, Kyle Bullock, Matt Richard, Justin Magin, and Alec Hardman join our organization. I’m proud of the team’s ability to come together even stronger after knowing they didn’t make the playoffs. Players like Alexei Kouminov and Andrew Jordan have stepped up their leadership to complement and join our early season captains Ben Sisemore and Jonah Graffius. We’ve definitely established a great culture of student athletes and a fraternity. They all (team) work hard in the classroom, on the ice, and make an impact in the community. I couldn’t be prouder of them and the present and future looks amazing.
Canes and Coffee: What are the highlights of your season to date?
Jeff Volkman: It’s always fun for the team to play at PNC arena. Playing our two biggest rivals (Duke and NC State) in an NHL barn with thousands of people supporting college hockey.
Canes and Coffee: Which players have led your team during the 2017-18 season?
Jeff Volkman: In the past, we’ve had 1-2 players that would lead the team in points. This season we’ve seen points from a committee of players. We use this to our strength and have become a well-rounded team throughout the rebuilding process. It fits our identity well, and I’ve never seen better team unity on and off the ice in my 4 years of coaching UNC. This is an amazing group of disciplined and unselfish student-athletes. We still lean heavily on our veteran players like Ben Sisemore, Jonah Graffius, Andrew Jordan, Joe Baglio, Alexei Kouminov, Ben Millar, Nick Keith, and Ricky Chen. In particular Ben Sisemore, Jonah Graffius, and Nick Keith who all have an ACCHL championship on their resume (’15). Those 3 will be a big asset to our team’s confidence going into Monday night, but there is no doubt it will be a team effort.
Canes and Coffee: What does Monday’s game mean for your 2017-18 season?
Jeff Volkman: This is our game 7. We didn’t make the playoffs this season, but we’re building. We want to send a huge message that we’re the better team and it is going to stay that way for a long time. Not to mention, this is one of our biggest rival games on the biggest stage for college hockey.
Canes and Coffee: From your familiarity with the NC State team, which opposing players would you recommend that fans watch out for?
Jeff Volkman: NCSU always has depth and talent in their lineup. Two of their top performers are Sam Banasiewicz and Luis Gimenez-Madill, and I have a lot of respect for those two off the ice. It’s important that we play our game, dominate puck possession, and dictate the pace of the play.