Sam Banasiewicz kicked off the game scoring a breakaway goal. With 10 seconds remaining in first period, Mackie Hayman scored putting NCSU up 3-1. Georgetown scored their second goal early in second period tightening the gap. Chris Nelson responded, making the score 4-2, but the lead didn’t last long. Georgetown scored two more goals, tying it up; proving that they’re not going down without a fight. NCSU came back full force during third period, with goals from Alec Engel, Mackie Hayman and an empty netter from Sean Blye; defeating Georgetown 7-4.
“It’s always big,” said Chris Nelson about Friday night’s victory. “The past few years they’ve beat us in the finals of the championship. It’s always good to come out a big win early. We had a good crowd out here. Coach Gazzillo had us running tight throughout this week in practice”
Nelson went into further detail about his strategy with his line-mates going into the game.
“Honestly, we just wanted to get the pucks low on net. Make sure we’re playing hard coming back and have a third guy high. Kamaris was kickin’ well in net so we just kinda relied on him and played our game”, said Nelson. He also spoke on how his top shelf goal during second period and how it developed: “We just [broke] out the puck. Solid D-D pass up the middle. I had a lucky bounce, [Reed Farhat] was going hard to the net, opened up a shot for me, took the shot and thankfully it went in.”
Despite NC State’s big comeback, head coach Mike Gazzillo stated a few improvements can be made; one being more energy from the team from the start.
“I don’t think we played well initially up to our capabilities, but the guys did show a lot of resilience and they did come back,” said Gazzillo. “I did have to ask them to make a few adjustments between second and third period and they responded to that. I thought Nick Kamaris played a great game in goal. I think the third period was obviously our best period.”
Friday was the kick off day for the three day Stephen Russel Memorial Tournament honoring former NCSU goalie Stephen Russell who passed away in 2009. ACCHL has honored Stephen every year since his passing, but this year NC State hosted the event and they were thrilled.
“It’s really great; it’s for a really great cause,” said Nelson. “Stephen Russell’s family have been very active in this It’s nice to see everyone come together for a cause. It’s also nice to have all the teams here for the kick-off tournament and to see everyone here supporting the team.”
Coach Mike Gazillo also spoke on hosting the tournament this year:
“It’s great to have all the teams from the ACC coming in to Raleigh. This has been about a year in planning. Mike Walley, the commissioner, Stephen’s parents, they’ve done a tremendous amount of work to get this underway. Between here, the Raleigh IcePlex, and RCI (Raleigh Center Ice), they’ve bent over backwards clearing the schedule allowing us to have three days, 11 games, a skills competition, and a North versus South All-Star game. The winner of that will be the Stephen Russell Memorial Cup winner. Everyone’s kind of playing for something and the guys are all excited about it. I wish we could host it under better circumstances, but everyone has been very supportive and it’ll be for a good cause. There’s money going to charitable organizations. In that respect, it’s always good when you can help other people.”
It definitely turned out out to be an exciting weekend bringing the ACCHL together, benefiting a great cause and honoring former goalie Stephen Russell. NC State takes on Elon Friday October 17th at the Raleigh IcePlex. For more information on NC State’s upcoming games, visit their website.
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*Photo creds Martha Hobby