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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


Stony Brook hockey breaks skid with sweep of Syracuse

Center Will Kormanik watches fellow center Matteo Daita score a goal against Syracuse on Saturday, Nov. 11. Kormanik assisted this goal and tallied five total points over the weekend. ANGELINA LIVIGNI/THE STATESMAN

In a high-scoring series, the Stony Brook hockey team broke its five-game winless streak with a sweep in league play.

The Seawolves (4-6-1, 3-1-0 ESCHL) swept the Syracuse Orange (6-7-1, 0-3-0 ESCHL) in a two-game series at The Rinx this past weekend. On Saturday, Stony Brook held on to win a 7-6 nail-biter before blowing out Syracuse 10-3 on Sunday.

In game one, the Seawolves drew first blood just under nine minutes into the first period. Left winger Matt Minerva made a dazzling one-handed deke to get around a Syracuse defenseman on a two-on-two rush before sliding the puck over to center James Kozicki for an easy tap-in.

Just under three minutes later, the Orange knotted the score. Syracuse right defenseman Jacob Vontersch found left defenseman Carter Rugg in the left faceoff circle, who wired the puck past goaltender Scott Barnikow for a power-play goal. Three minutes later, Syracuse went up 2-1 when center Isaac Arnold won a clean faceoff right onto the stick of right winger Brendan Duffy, who ripped the puck from the top of the right circle past Barnikow’s outstretched glove.

Late into the opening frame, Stony Brook turned the tables. With two and a half minutes remaining, center Frankie Anastasio — playing on the right wing — sprung Minerva on a breakaway. Minerva was denied by Syracuse goaltender John Angelino, but he found his own rebound for the equalizer. With 57 seconds remaining in the first period, the Minerva show continued when he banged in another rebound from just outside the crease for his second goal of the period.

At the 2:30 mark of the second period, Minerva’s weekend came to an abrupt end when Rugg threw a questionable knee-on-knee hit that was not called for a penalty. However, the injury is not believed to be serious.

Nonetheless, head coach Chris Garofalo sang the praises of Minerva following the win.

“Matt is a force to be reckoned with on the ice when he plays hard and … with feistiness,” Garofalo said in a postgame interview with The Statesman. “Matt’s a very important piece of the puzzle.”

Just past three minutes into the second period, right defenseman Owen Larson extended the Seawolves’ lead when center Nick Zarrilli found him streaking down the right side. Larson one-timed it past Angelino to make it 4-2. The scoring continued just over three minutes later when center Will Kormanik sent a seam pass to right winger Justin Nakagawa, who one-timed the puck home from the left faceoff circle as the power play expired.

Despite being down three goals, the Orange fought hard. With 9:20 remaining in the second period, Syracuse left winger Matt Mahoney buried a rebound past Barnikow. Two minutes later, Duffy lit the lamp again to bring his team within one goal.

With 4:56 remaining in the middle frame, the Seawolves’ answered. Nakagawa led a two-on-one rush alongside center Matteo Daita, who one-timed the puck past a sprawling Angelino to put Stony Brook ahead 6-4 heading into the final period.

Just 32 seconds into the third period, the Orange made it a one-goal game when Duffy found Arnold wide open in the slot, who shot the puck against the grain past Barnikow’s blocker.

However, Stony Brook got the insurance goal it needed at the 9:21 mark. Left winger Tom Liebold threw the puck towards the crease with right defenseman Brendan Fess crashing the net, who deposited a fortuitous bounce to put the game out of reach. Syracuse right defenseman Connor Chesner responded with a goal just 64 seconds later, but the Seawolves held on.

Fess, who played some forward throughout the series, relished the chance to show off his offensive skills.

“It’s pretty cool,” Fess said. “I grew up playing both. The last two years, I haven’t played any forward, but it’s gotten easier as the years went on.”

Despite some hairy moments, Garofalo was thrilled to walk away with a victory.

“We’ll take anything we can get right now,” Garofalo said. “It was ugly, but we got it done.”

Unlike the series opener, the finale was over long before the final buzzer sounded.

For the second-straight day, Stony Brook struck first on the power play. At the 8:21 mark of the first period, Nakagawa sent a cross-crease pass to Kormanik on the right side, who capitalized for his first goal of the season. Just 36 seconds later, Arnold found Duffy open in front of the net, who one-timed it past goaltender Matvei Kazakov to tie the game at one apiece.

With 4:24 remaining in the opening period, Liebold restored the Seawolves’ lead by swatting a bouncing puck past Syracuse goaltender Chris Spano. Two minutes later, right defenseman Teddy Valenti unleashed a one-time slap shot from the point that found its way into the net to make it 3-1.

In the second period, Stony Brook poured it on. Just under three minutes into the period, Daita connected with center Jesse Edwards on a two-on-one rush to make it 4-1. Syracuse left winger Jack Wren cut the deficit to 4-2 just 1:28 later, but Nakagawa responded during four-on-four play. Starting from his own zone, he danced around two Syracuse defenders to create a breakaway. Though he was stopped initially, he capitalized on his second chance.

Just past the halfway point of the second period, Kormanik deposited his second power-play goal of the day. With 4:04 remaining in the middle frame, Anastasio scored a shorthanded goal on a breakaway. With 16 seconds left in the period, Kormanik completed his hat trick.

Kormanik and Nakagawa netted their fourth and second goals of the game respectively in the third period. With 27 seconds left in the game, Mahoney scored his second goal in as many games to finish the game’s scoring.

This weekend, Kormanik returned from a separated shoulder sustained on opening night and tallied five total points in the series. He credited improved chemistry for the team’s offensive outburst.

“I think we’re finally putting stuff together,” Kormanik said. “It started out slow. We’re working on team chemistry and now it’s getting better.”

The Seawolves’ special teams were outstanding throughout the series. Its power play went 4-for-7 and its penalty kill was 7-for-8 with a shorthanded tally. During the series, they got contributions from all over their lineup, as 18 out of the 20 skaters who appeared in the series recorded a point.

Kazakov posted a terrific .936 save percentage (44-for-47) on Sunday, while Barnikow struggled to an .864 save percentage (38-for-44). Despite the sweep, Stony Brook was outshot 91-73 over the weekend.

Garofalo recognized that his defense needs to be better moving forward.

“Even if the shot quality is not that great, they’re still in our own end a lot,” Garofalo said. “We have to maintain the offense zone more.”

The Seawolves will now travel to Pittsburgh next weekend for a two-game set with the No. 25 Pittsburgh Panthers. Pitt is 11-6-1 this year and 5-0-0 in Eastern States Collegiate Hockey League (ESCHL) games. Puck drop is scheduled for Friday at 9:15 p.m. and 1:15 p.m. the next day.

Mike Anderson and Kevin Broderick also contributed reporting.

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About the Contributor
Anthony DiCocco, Assistant Sports Editor
Anthony DiCocco is an Assistant Sports Editor at The Statesman. He is a sophomore majoring in journalism with aspirations of becoming a sports journalist. His love of sports derives from years of playing dek hockey and watching his favorite teams, the New York Islanders, New York Mets and New York Jets. He is the beat reporter for Stony Brook’s hockey and softball teams. He has also covered football, men’s lacrosse and men’s soccer. He was previously the Editor-in-Chief of his high school newspaper the Devil’s Tale at Plainedge High School. He is a local product from North Massapequa, N.Y.
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