With its fall finale looming, UNCW hockey prepares to host rival NC State

Brian Carpenter, Staff Writer

The UNC Wilmington club hockey team will host North Carolina State this Saturday night at the Wilmington Ice House at 10 p.m.

The game on Saturday marks the Seahawks’ final game of the semester and is arguably the most important game of the season for the team.

“There is this internal drive to beat them because they are somewhat of a rival and we always have close games against them every year,” said forward Daniel Brescia.

Brescia’s style tends to lean on more of the physical side of hockey. This was put on full display last Saturday when Brescia received a five-minute penalty and a game misconduct against Christopher Newport.

“As I have gotten older, I started to play a more physical grinding role,” says Brescia. “That is a role I fill with the team pretty well.”

NC State is a Division 2 school in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) which is a division higher than the Seahawks, who are Division 3. Heading into Saturday, NC State is currently ranked 19th in the D2 Southeast rankings.

Over the last three seasons, the two teams have combined to play each other a total of six times. NC State currently holds the advantage, going 3-2-1 against the Seahawks. The last three contests between the teams have ended in one-goal games.

The Seahawks head into Saturday with an 8-1 record after defeating Christopher Newport by final scores of 3-2 and 5-2 this past weekend. New rankings were released on Wednesday afternoon by the ACHA for Division 3, with UNCW remaining in the seventh position in the South region.

NC State heads into the game with a 7-4 record, with their last recorded game coming against Virginia on Nov. 3. NC State lost the game 5-3.

The Wolfpack are led in scoring by left winger Sam Banasiewicz with 15 points (nine goals and six assists) and Luiz Gimenez Madill with 13 points (three goals and 10 assists). The team also carries four goaltenders on their roster, three of have seen game action this season. This will pose a challenge for UNCW, knowing they may face any of these goalies on Saturday.

“We have seen different situations with multiple goaltenders,” said forward Evan Ciesliga. “Sometimes they will play their top one. We have also seen a rotation and sometimes that will work in our advantage since the goalies won’t be as warm.”

Tickets are $5 for students at the Ice House and the team asked for the fans to come out and support the team.

“It’s going to be a good game,” says Ciesliga. “It is our biggest game of the year and NC State has always been a close game. Come on out, we play better when you are here.”