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Stony Brook hockey reaches new heights

Thin air, frozen temperatures and dangerously unstable surfaces usually prevent mountain climbers from reaching the summit.

Unlike those who trek up logic-defying skyscrapers made of ice, snow and dirt the Stony Brook ice hockey team’s season was more about the journey than the conclusion.

The Seawolves fell short of the ACHA National Championship, losing in the semi-finals to the first-seeded Arizona State University.

Stony Brook topped Davenport University and then the United States Naval Academy before being outed by ASU.

Stony Brook got off to a rugged start in the Davenport contest, but pulled through as a result of  the exceptional goaltending by Brendan Jones, who stopped all 31 of Davenport’s shots for the shutout.  SBU picked up a 3-0 win in the game.

Then in the next game against Navy, the Seawolves scored three goals in the first period, and held  on to win 6-2. Five different players contributed with a goal.

Stony Brook made their first appearance to the ACHA national semi-finals, but lost 4-3 in an intense back-and-forth bout.

Although this was not the result Stony Brook anticipated, they accomplished much on the way.

“From day one the guys were really focused and never stopped believing in each other and their ability to win,” head coach Chris Garofalo said.

“They had swagger this year and were a very confident group.”

The Seawolves finished first in their league’s regular season standings, going on a nine win streak heading into the Eastern States College Hockey League Playoff Conference Playoffs, where they took home the title.

The Seawolves squared off against Lebanon Valley College in the ESCHL Playoffs semi-finals, coming away with an easy 8-1 victory.

Stony Brook moved on to face  Delaware in the championship game.

A 3-1 edge in the final period gave the Seawolves a 5-2 series and the title.

This would be the club’s second straight ESCHL Playoffs title.

Two members of the team were invited to play for Team USA at the World University Games.

Junior forward Ryan Cotcamp – who scored 64 points in 34 games and four goals in three games at the nationals – and junior defender Chris Joseph, who scored 29 points in 33 games and two points at the nationals.

Their 25-8-3 record placed them fifth in the entire nation, finishing with a third-overall ranking despite their loss to ASU in the semi-finals.

“Overall the season was a huge success and we are proud of the guys, we accomplished a lot of great things this year and in my 8 years of being here it was the best season we have ever had,”  assistant coach Colin Brumsted said.

Where fans and supporters see an ‘L’ in the win column, the team sees another strong campaign and a sign of great things to come.

“The Seawolves are looking forward to winning it all next year and bringing Stony Brook University its first-ever National Tournament Championship title,” Garofalo said.

This season marks the 14th invitation to an ACHA national tournament in the past 15 seasons and the 8th conference championship for the Seawolves in the past 11 years.

If there’s anywhere for Stony Brook to go from here, it’s up.

The mountain has proven a treacherous challenge that has hindered the team from making it to the top, but soon enough they’ll finally reach the summit.

One challenge the Seawolves will face this offseason is replacing key senior Wes Hawkins, Dan Cassano and Nick Deresky.

Hawkins had 22 goals, Cassano had 37 assists, and Deresky had 25 points during the 2013-2014 season.

Replacing their production will not be an easy task, but SBU features plenty of returning talent.

They also have a passionate recuriter in head coach Chris Garofalo who has been able to bring in players from all over the country.

 

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