Courtesy of Ryan Besemer
UNC Wilmington club hockey fell to North Carolina (3-6) by a score of 9-3 on Friday night at the Orange County Sportsplex in Hillsborough. With the loss, UNCW fell to 2-6-1 on the season and now sit tied for second with two points in the Atlantic Coast Collegiate Hockey League Carolina East division standings (with UNC).
Seahawks skate to strong start
Things looked good early on for UNCW, as they were able to get a few power play opportunities in the first period and capitalize on their first opportunity of the night. Goals from Michael Benedetti (Power Play) with 15:53 left in the first period and Kent Mclaughlin with 1:56 left in the first period saw the Seahawks with a 2-0 lead.
“Coach Tony (McCabe) always told me you don’t want to be too close behind the net or too far away (on the power play) and sure enough, it bounced right off of the boards and we put it in,” said captain Hunter Phillips.
UNC’s Christopher Adamson made it a 2-1 game with 17 seconds left in the period, but the Seahawks still considered it a solid period overall.
“It was a good period,” said assistant coach Peter Gilinson. “We played our style of game and we were very unselfish, and it showed on the ice.”
Floodgates open against UNCW in second and third periods
After UNC’s Matt Richard scored with 17:24 left in the second period to even the game at two, it became a brand new game again. However, the ice would completely tilt in UNC’s favor as between the second and third periods, UNC was able to push the game to a 6-2 lead in their advantage.
“It’s definitely frustrating,” said sophomore forward Will Tooke. “We have a young team and it is a lot different having to hold onto that momentum with a younger team. We are getting a little bit better, but we are still having these breakdowns where we get overconfident when we get a lead and it ends up biting us in the end.”
As the game wore own according to Gilinson, the Seahawks became very undisciplined in terms of trying to do too much and as the frustration continued to build throughout the game, this was the biggest problem that the Seahawks had.
Power Play work in practice pays off
In the third period, UNC’s Kyle Bullock received a two-minute minor penalty for tripping. The Seahawks capitalized on this opportunity as UNCW’s Joey Alexander made it a 6-3 game with 17:20 left, as the Seahawks had their second power-play goal of the night.
“It’s a very important part of our game and we had it clicking a little bit tonight,” said Gilinson. “It still needs work, but we are making improvements on the power play and that is a really good sign for us.”
The Seahawks will play two more games this fall semester, as they will travel to Newport News, Virginia to battle a team they are familiar with in their days in Division Three, Christopher Newport. The games will be played Nov. 16 and 17.