NC State hockey team back to nationals with intent to 'win it'

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- For the second time in three years, NC State's Icepack club hockey team has qualified for nationals. This time in scenic Bismarck, North Dakota. The trick now? Raising the money to get there.

"You know, they've just had a singular goal from the beginning of this is to get back to the Nationals," head coach Tim Healy said.

Two years ago, the Icepack had a fairytale run. 25-0 in the regular season and their first trip to Nationals. The road has been bumpier this year because they've sought out the best, taking on the likes of Liberty and two-time defending champs Florida Gulf Coast.

"Two years later, we're a much better team. We have just as much depth, and I think the belief is there," senior defenseman Devin Halko told ABC11. That's something that's very different than the team two years ago."

Getting this far has taken skill on the ice, certainly, but also plenty of determination off of it.

"They're willing to sacrifice for each other and this year, that sacrifice doesn't just mean blocking shots," Healy explained. "It means not going maybe to the big fraternity party, it means not going out on Glenwood South to protect the rest of the team to be able to be on the ice."

Defenseman Alex Vedetta said it has all been worthwhile.

"You could always just look forward to going into practice and to see all the guys," he said. "Bonding on the ice, bonding off the ice in the locker room, just something that you never really think about until it's kind of thrown up in the air."

Now the back-to-back-to-back ACC champs are scrambling to get the money together to chase their national title dreams. Close to $30,000 all told -- money they don't intend to waste.

"I like our chances," Healy said. "We've been in the top 10 nationally all season. Our plan is to go there and win it."

Editor's note: Collegeclub hockey should not be confused with full NCAA Division I hockey. NCAA hockey's championship, the Frozen 4, will be held at PPG Arena in Pittsburgh from April 8-10.
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