The UNC Wilmington club hockey team dropped its spring semester opener to North Carolina by a final of 4-3 Friday night at the Wilmington Ice House. With this loss, UNCW falls to 2-9-1 on the season.
Here’s how it happened:
A slow opening 20 minutes for UNCW
In the opening 20 minutes, it was clear that the Seahawks hadn’t played a game in almost two months and their conditioning didn’t match up great with their opponent. UNC (6-11) controlled the puck for a good portion of the period and managed to put up a 2-0 lead thanks to goals from Kyle Oliveira and Andrew Jordan.
According to assistant coach Tony McCabe, a lack of practices for the team has definitely hindered the team’s ability to get themselves in better shape at this point in the season.
“We have been on a long break since the season started… but we want our players to put themselves in good shape off of the ice.” McCabe added that it’s up to the players and what they want to get out of this season.
Icehawk captain Hunter Phillips continues to show great leadership
With the Seahawks trailing 2-0 and the team on the penalty kill to start the second period, the team needed some kind of a spark to get back into the game. Look no further than the captain of the team Hunter Phillips to provide that spark. Phillips scored a shorthanded goal with 18:09 remaining in the second period to get the Seahawks back to within a goal.
“We all know we can count on Hunter to do what needs to be done and tell us what we need to do,” said forward Daniel Howell. Howell has been able to play with Phillips the last two seasons and he immediately saw the kind of leader Phillips could be.
“Coming in last year, he showed leadership always getting us in line and he has just been a Godsend to this team.”
A resilient third period comes up just short
Going into the third period, the Seahawks found themselves losing 4-1. With a few players injured and the team needing some kind of spark, the coaches decided to make a few line adjustments to change things up. The message in the second intermission was also to keep it simple.
“First, it was to understand who you are and what your role is and who you are replacing on the ice. These are the guys on the power play. You know who you change for and what they do. Don’t get flustered about things. You understand that one position has one role and we all know all of the roles,” said McCabe.
The Seahawks were able to add two goals in the third period from Greg Wiklund and Joey Alexander to make it a 4-3 game, but the Seahawks just couldn’t get the tying goal they needed to force overtime.
“That’s the kind of effort we are looking for from the kids,” said McCabe. “Start to come together and work together on these things and not give up on plays.”
“The resiliency that the boys showed in that last period is something to be proud of,” said Howell. “The results may not show the win but what we were able to do showed what we are made of.”
The Icehawks will play one more home game this weekend at the Wilmington Ice House, as they take on North Carolina State on Saturday, Jan. 19 at 4:30 PM.