Seahawk hockey heading into winter break on a high note

Brian Carpenter, Staff Writer

UNC Wilmington’s fall semester is in the books after a 4-4 tie against NC State on Nov. 18.

The team finished with an 8-1-1 record, including going 6-1-1 at the Wilmington Ice House. The team ends the semester ranked seventh in the South Region of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division Three standings. This is the same position the team has remained since the rankings were first released in early November.

The team got off to a quick 2-0 start, defeating The Citadel on Sept. 15 and Coastal Carolina on Sept. 22 by final scores of 13-1 and 6-3, respectively. After dropping a game to Coastal Carolina on Sept. 23, the team went on a six-game winning streak.

The winning streak started against one of the team’s biggest rivals, South Carolina. In this September tilt, the team was helped by Daniel Brescia’s hat trick in game one, and assistant captain Bennett Clark’s three-point night (one goal, two assists) in game two. The Seahawks outscored the Gamecocks 12-6 over the two games.

After nearly a month off and its games against Bryant University being canceled, the team traveled to Liberty University for the semester’s lone road games. Liberty was a team that the Seahawks were familiar with, having lost to them in the previous season’s regional tournament.

With the help of seven power play goals over the two games and great performances from Joey Alexander, Tyler Evangelous, Ben Cooperrider and Clark, the team was able to defeat Liberty by final scores of 8-1 and 4-3 and return home with the Division Three rankings about to be released.

On Nov. 8, the Seahawks learned they were ranked for the first time in school history, ranked seventh of 15 teams by the ACHA.

After taking both games against Christopher Newport by final scores of 3-2 and 5-2 over the weekend of Nov. 10, the Seahawks prepared to close the semester with arguably the team’s most important home game of the season.

With North Carolina State, one of UNCW’s biggest rivals, being a division two school, the team knew that it needed a strong effort to close out the semester.

After Will Tooke put the Seahawks ahead 4-3 with 2:42 left to go in the game, the Seahawks were well on their way to a win. Unfortunately, NC State’s Sam Banasiewicz scored the tying goal with 58 seconds left to force the game into overtime and eventually a tie.

This result was a tough pill to swallow for the team, but UNCW headed into the break with confidence, knowing how well they played against a division two opponent. This break will allow the Seahawks to regroup as they prepare for six spring semester games.

These six games will include: at Christopher Newport, Friday, Jan. 12 and Saturday, Jan. 13; vs. Elon University, Friday, Jan. 19; vs Liberty University, Friday, Jan. 26 and Saturday, Jan. 27 and at NC State, Saturday, Feb. 3.

The team will see a slight shuffling of its roster as they will lose John Cooperrider, who will not be a part of the team in the spring. The team will get back its second-leading scorer, Hunter Phillips, who suffered an arm injury during UNCW’s game against Christopher Newport on Nov. 11 and was not able to play against NC State.

Contributing Writer Brian Carpenter can be found on Twitter @bostonfan17856. Any tips or suggestions should be forwarded via email to uncwseahawksports@gmail.comFor video updates from The Seahawk, subscribe to our YouTube channel.