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The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    New look, new league, same expectations for Stony Brook hockey

    There is a sense of optimism heading into next season for Stony Brook’s ice hockey team,  and the goal remains the same as the previous year: win the American Collegiate Hockey Association national championship.

    “We have a very good team on paper, but it comes down to how it all comes together.” said head coach Chris Garofalo.

    There is also a sense of excitement from Garofalo as the team will be switching conferences and moving to the Eastern States Collegiate Hockey League, after going undefeated the previous year in the Eastern Collegiate Hockey League.

    “[The ECHL] was good to us,” Garofalo said. “But I wanted to challenge our players more, and they wanted the challenge.”

    Stony Brook will be joining the University of Delaware and the University of Rhode Island, Robert Morris University and West Chester University of Pennsylvania. The former three teams all finished last season ranked in the top 15 of the ACHA Division I national ranking.

    Stony Brook went into last season with high aspirations, but the team struggled as the team rarely played at full strength, finishing with a 23-14 record and ranked 13th in the ACHA Division-I national ranking.

    “Last year was a little bit of a disappointment,” Garofalo said. “We had as many injuries as we had over the last 15 years, and we couldn’t overcome it.”

    On the offensive end, Stony Brook will be led by sophomore Wes Hawkins, who led the team in scoring last season, as well as seniors Mike Cacciotti and Bryan Elfant.

    Cacciotti, whom Garofalo considered the team’s best forward, missed half of last season, putting up 40 points in 21 games.

    The team might also have assistant captain Chris Ryan, who was set to have graduated last year, return for another season. According to Garofalo, Ryan is enrolled for classes for the upcoming semester, but is looking to play pro hockey with the New York Aviators in the Federal Hockey League.

    “Chris will be a last minute decision,” Garofalo said.

    On defense, the team will be led by seniors Jason Aro, Phil Borner and George Nicholes.
    Aro and Borner both served as assistant captains the previous season and bring 186 games of combined experience. Sophomore Pat Foster, an undersized offensive defenseman who put up 15 points in 21 games, is also expected to contribute.

    Between the pipes, Chris Hausel, who missed the first half of last season due to academic issues, is the current #1 goalie of the team.

    Eleven new players will be joining the team for the upcoming season. Highlighting the recruiting class are juniors Eddie Montgomery and Ryan Vertino, a pair of junior college transfers who both averaged over a goal per game last season.

    Garofalo also spoke highly of freshman Sam Brewster, a 6-foot-2, 200 pound power forward out of the Eastern Junior Hockey League who he expects to provide size up front.

    Other new players Garofalo mentioned include freshman defenseman Daltrey Meitz and Andy Yancone, as well as goalie Dan Snyder, who all come from the Atlantic Junior Hockey League.

    “There are a lot of kids that are really good that I brought in,” Garofalo said.

    With the team healthy and a new batch of recruits ready to contribute, Garofalo is excited for the upcoming season.

    “I have high expectations for the team, and I really feel that we have a great chance to achieve all of our goals.” Garofalo said.

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