(Photo Courtesy of North Carolina Athletics)
In a Tuesday afternoon dog fight, the North Carolina Tar Heels survived, 17-15, against a High Point team that refused to go away.
A phenomenal effort at the faceoff dot from Andrew Tyeryar (18-for-20) and Zach Tucci (12-for-15) led to the Tar Heels going 30-for-35 (85%) at the dot as a team and gave them a pretty sizable edge in the possession battle. North Carolina also also outshot High Point 67-35 and won the ground ball battle 45-34.
The Tar Heels were led by Chris Gray with seven points (3G/4A). Tanner Cook had five points (3G/2A) and William Perry ended the day with a hat trick. Collin Kreig had another solid performance in cage, making 10 saves with a 40% save percentage.
Asher Nolting put up an impressive nine points (4G/5A) to lead High Point. Additionally, Brayden Mayea had five goals and Kevin Rogers put up five points (3G/2A). Antonio Arcona stood on his head for the majority of the game, making 18 saves with a .514% save percentage.
High Point started things off the same exact way they did in their season-opener on Saturday: Fast. Kevin Rogers fed Jack Vanoverbeke for a goal not even a minute into the game. And while North Carolina answered quickly with Willam Perry pulling the trigger off a Chris Gray feed, the Panthers seemingly stepped on the gas. High Point went on a three-goal run, getting goals from Kevin Rogers, Dalton Sulver, and Asher Nolting to take an early 4-1 lead.
A two-goal run from Carolina late in the first to even things out more and cut the High Point lead to 5-3 heading into the second. And it was in that second quarter where the Tar Heels exploded just like they have at times all season. The Tar Heels rattled off two four-goal runs in the quarter, which saw Tanner Cook net a hat trick, to get ahead 11-7 at the half and really tilt the momentum in their favor. Devon Buckshot and Kevin Rogers scored the only two goals for the Panthers in the second.
Following a 30-second push call on High Point in the final seconds of the first half, North Carolina opened the third quarter on the power play (man-up) where Chris Gray was able to get a goal just seconds after the penalty expired. Gray’s goal to start the second just continued to add fuel to the fire for Carolina, as the Tar Heels found the back of the net three more times, including another one from Gray, before Nolting was able to end the High Point drought and spark a flame in the Panthers to end the quarter.
High Point ended the third on a six-goal run, which saw Brayden Mayea score three goals (two on the power play) and Nolting score twice. Rogers also found the back of the net during that run for the Panthers.
Alex Trippi and William Perry scored the final two goals for and Nolting and Mayea scored in the final minutes of the contest for the Panthers.
North Carolina moves to 3-0 on the season and is set to face another SoCon opponent in Richmond on Sunday. The Tar Heels will welcome the Panthers back to Chapel Hill on February 27th in what should be a very exciting and highly anticipated rematch.