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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


No. 20 Stony Brook hockey suffers disheartening sweep versus No. 25 Rhode Island

Goaltender Matvei Kazakov saves a shot against Rhode Island on Friday, Oct. 27. Kazakov saved 95.5% of the shots he faced on Friday. ANGELINA LIVIGNI/THE STATESMAN

After missing a pair of great opportunities, the No. 20 Stony Brook hockey team is now on a three-game winless skid.

It was a very disappointing weekend for the Seawolves (2-4-1, 1-1-0 ESCHL), who hosted the No. 25 Rhode Island Rams (5-4-0, 2-0-0 ESCHL) at The Rinx. On Friday, Stony Brook fell in overtime 2-1. In Saturday’s affair that counted towards the Eastern States Collegiate Hockey League (ESCHL) standings, the team blew a 2-0 lead and lost 3-2.

Rhode Island found the scoreboard first on Friday when left defenseman Jonathan Shaw beat goaltender Matvei Kazakov at the 8:24 mark of the first period. Coming off a pass from right winger Ryan Godfrey, Shaw ripped the puck through Kazakov’s legs from the slot to make it 1-0.

After a scoreless second period, Rhode Island center Ethan Cordeiro was called for slashing, sending the Seawolves to the power play with 6:58 left in the third. Within the first minute of the power play, left winger Matt Minerva attempted a cross-ice pass, but it deflected and almost left the offensive zone. Left defenseman Andrew Mancini recovered the loose puck near the blue line and took a shot from the point. Mancini’s snipe deflected off  Rhode Island right defenseman Demitri Forand’s stick and found the back of the net to tie the game with 6:05 left in the game.

The game wound up going into overtime, where the Rams walked it off after just 66 seconds. After a giveaway by left defenseman Joey Trazzera in the offensive zone, Rhode Island left winger Shane Mulhern found himself with the puck in a two-on-one breakaway. Right winger Justin Nakagawa tried to cut off the shooting lane by sliding in front of Mulhern, but he held onto the puck and dragged it into the open space and beat Kazakov on his glove side to win it.

By not putting enough pressure on Rhode Island goalkeeper Curtis Briggs, Stony Brook floundered offensively.

“Their goalie is very, very good, and I talked about it before the game,” head coach Chris Garofalo said in a postgame interview with The Statesman. “Unfortunately, we weren’t going to the dirty areas of the ice, and we weren’t grinding.”

The Seawolves flipped the script and drew first blood on Saturday, scoring just over seven minutes into the game. A stretch pass from center Jesse Edwards found right winger Devin Pepe all alone behind the Rams’ defense to set up a breakaway. Pepe faked a shot to make Briggs drop down before commiting to the right side and sliding the puck into the net.

With 2:32 left in the first, Nakagawa took control of a loose puck behind Rhode Island’s net and passed it into the slot to find Minerva. With a defender in front of him, Minerva was able to get off a strong one-timer to beat Briggs and double the lead.

With 13:39 remaining in the second period, Rhode Island center Jake MacKinnon buried a rebound after a save by goaltender Scott Barnikow to cut Stony Brook’s lead in half. Just over eight minutes later, left winger Alex Cudd rang one in off the left post to tie the game at two apiece.

With just over eight minutes left in the game, Rhode Island right winger Kevin Kanaczet took a shot from the slot, but it was deflected high and into the glass by Barnikow. The puck bounced off the glass and back towards the front of the goal, allowing Cordeiro to bat it in.

The Seawolves had a chance to come back after a five-minute major was assessed to Rhode Island right defenseman Ronan Judge, but the unit was uninspiring for three and a half minutes. With just 2:35 left, center Matteo Daita was called for slashing, nullifying the power play. The Rams held on to win it, handing Stony Brook a hard loss.

The Seawolves’ power play struggled again, going just 1-for-9 in the series. Mancini — who scored the only power-play goal of the series — said the team needs to pass better to create more scoring chances.

“We need to do a better job of moving the puck around and getting our feet moving,” Mancini said. “When we do that, we can capitalize on a lot more opportunities. I think where we had a big breakdown today is not winning our battles.” 

On the other hand, Stony Brook’s penalty kill remained strong. It went 6-for-7 overall and 4-for-5 on Saturday.

Stony Brook received solid goaltending through the two games. Collectively, Kazakov and Barnikow posted a 0.938 save percentage, with the former saving 42 of 44 shots and the latter stopping 33 of 36.

The Seawolves will turn their attention to their bitter rivals: the No. 4 Liberty Flames. The Flames are 6-6-1 this season after splitting their two-game set at Delaware. Puck drop is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday night and 12:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon.

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