In their final regular season game of the season, the Wake Forest Club Hockey team annihilated divisional rival Elon by a score of 9-0.
The Deacs dominated in every facet of the game. They outshot Elon 41-14, had half as many penalties, commanded the vast majority of possession and controlled the pace and play throughout the entire match.
Wake Forest managed to frustrate Elon to the point where they racked up 12 penalties including two for abusing the official and one for unsportsmanlike conduct. The penalties gave the Deacs a significant number of power plays, many of which they were able to convert.
“We got a couple of good power-play goals. I thought we had really good puck movement” said Head Coach Dave Pasquale. “We have two lines we run specifically for power plays and a couple of those plays we were able to execute which is always nice to see.”
Wake Forest opened up the scoring about six minutes into the first period. From behind the net, sophomore Brendan Gregoire passed to senior Matt Solviletti who was a few feet in front of the goalie. Solviletti’s shot was blocked and Gregoire came around the net to snipe in the rebound from a foot out to put the Deacs up 1-0.
“We really wanted to get out to a good start and I thought all four lines were playing well from the get go which allowed us to wear them down,” Gregoire said. “Solviletti made a great play getting the puck towards the net and I was fortunate that the rebound found me in front.”
After an Elon penalty with 12 minutes remaining in the period, Wake Forest scored a minute later off a goal from senior Macrae Robertson. Solviletti gave a backdoor pass to Robinson who deftly fired it into the back of the net to make it a 2-0 game.
Wake Forest’s next goal was with a little under four minutes remaining in the second period. About 30 seconds earlier a scuffle between the two sides led to a penalty on Wake Forest and two penalties on Elon including one player who was thrown out for 10 minutes for abusing the official. This resulted in Wake Forest having a two-minute power play.
The Deacs took advantage and sophomore Jennings Lobel scored a scorching shot from distance at the center of the ice. One of the hardest hit shots of the night sailed past the goalie to put the Deacs up 3-0.
With two minutes remaining in the period, Elon’s goalie was given an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty that kept him out of the game for 10 minutes. With a backup goalie in the game, Wake Forest seized the opportunity and scored five goals during the span.
The first came with 49 seconds left in the second period. Junior James Caras scored off a rebound to make the score 4-0 heading into the third period.
In the third period, Wake Forest quickly ran away with the game. Sophomore Drew Gebhardt scored in the first minute of the period and fellow sophomore Nick Keroack scored 30 seconds later.
Gregoire scored the seventh goal of the game five minutes into the period and by the time there were 10 minutes remaining in the match, Nick Keroack and Macare Robertson each scored their second of the night to make the score 9-0.
With the win, Wake Forest finished the regular season undefeated in league play. They will be the number two seed in next week’s ACCHL Tournament behind reigning champion NC State.
After the game, Pasquale outlined some of the key areas that would allow the Deacs to go on a run in the playoffs.
“Coverage in our own zone in the high slot area, backchecking and picking up the right guy and just some puck luck,” Pasquale said. “Putting pucks on net and getting that goal that just finds its way into the back of the net. Nothing fancy. You’re not going to get a lot of fancy, pretty goals in the playoffs. It’s going to be traffic, rebound type goals.”
Wake Forest’s first playoff game is on Feb. 14 at the Winston-Salem Annex against West Virginia University at 6 p.m.