ACCHL Tournament: North Carolina State Wins Admirals Cup with Win Over Virginia
Winston-Salem, NC - Virginia and NC State played a nail biter in a tense exciting championship game in the ACCHL Tournament final. The Admirals Cup, emblematic of winning the ACCHL Post Season Championship Tournament, was won by NC State 4-2 as they bested the Virginia Cavaliers at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds Annex Sunday afternoon.
The match was scoreless until NC State took the lead 14:30 into period one. Tyler Alfonzetti got the scoring started for NC State with a great assist. The Stormville, NY forward out-muscled the Virginia defense behind their net, gained puck possession and centered it into the low slot for Ryan Kinney who blasted the puck high side right past goalie David Voigt.
Both teams killed off minor penalties as the 1-0 NC State lead held up for the rest of the period. Both netminders made excellent stops. A late flurry especially tested Ice Pack goalie Joey Hall although the number the number of Virginia shots (9) was low compared to the 22 shots by their opponents.
Period two commenced with NC State on their second power play. A late high sticking minor to Virginia at 19:57 of the opening period gave NC State the man advantage as the teams opened period two.
Voigt had to stop seven shots during the not quite two minutes but was up to the task. Shortly after the NC State power play expired Alfonzetti was set off for boarding setting up a Virginia power play. Again, despite several excellent chances including a couple of short-handed breakaways, the 1-0 lead held.
That was until, with 47 seconds left Virginia used another power play to even the score 1-1. Will Thrun provided the helper for Thomas Dale who knotted the score through a crowd in front of the net. Almost immediately NC State looking a little undisciplined, picked up another minor as Nikita Anistratov was sent off with just ten seconds left in period two.
Despite holding a 48 to 22 advantage in shots the undefeated Ice Pack skated off tied 1-1 and facing being down a man for almost two minutes to start the final 20 minutes of regulation time.
The Virginia power play was ineffective as the teams returned to even strength and after some back and forth Virginia stunned the Ice Pack with an even strength goal. Jack Yager slammed one home from the far side at 16:33 with an assist credited to Jacob Fishman.
The rare position of being behind seemed to awaken the Ice Pack and Ian O’Rourke blasted a shot from top of the left side circle to tie the game 2-2. Sam Banasiewicz and Anistratov set up the goal. Shortly after losing their lead the Cavaliers faced further adversity having to kill another NC State power play.
They survived but it took one of the outstanding saves of the tournament by Voigt as he robbed an NC State forward at point blank range reaching high and behind his body to snag a vicious slap shot.
A break in the game came at 7:03 for the Ice Pack as a shot from the right side by Cameron Mazikowski created a rebound that Banasiewicz flipped past Voigt. The score came on the 58th shot of the game by NC State.
Both teams continued to come close as opportunities at both ends kept the crowd on edge. Both goalies held their ground until the 1:36 mark when Voigt came off for the extra attacker. A stoppage in the NC State zone and a time out by Virginia was used to set up a play off the ensuing faceoff.
Several chances later with just 55 seconds left Riley Johnson broke free for the Ice Pack to nail an empty netter and seal a 4-2 win for the Ice Pack.