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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

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    Ice Hockey Ready For Nationals

    For the 11th year in a row, the Stony Brook Seawolves ice hockey team will compete in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) national tournament.

    Although it looked bleak early in the year after an 0-5 start, the Seawolves went on a run beginning Oct. 18 with a home win over Towson.

    “We started the season off slow, but knew we were underachieving the entire year,” Senior co-captain Dan Capizzuto wrote in a Facebook message. “So when we finally went on our 19-6 run, we knew we would get in the top 16.” This is Stony Brook’s second season on the Division I level. The previous tournament appearances came at the Division II level.

    The Seawolves head into the tournament in Ohio as the 14th seed. The top 16 teams in the country get a berth. Of the top 11 teams in the final ranking released on Feb. 27, the Seawolves hold victories over five of them.

    With only two seniors of the team, Capizzuto and co-captain Angelo Serse, the young Seawolves grew as the season went along.

    “There have been improvements by rookies such as Jordan Delorenzo, Jason Aro, Joe Ree, Sean Caruso, and Pete Zarrella,” Capizztuo said. “Their confidence on the ice has grown by the game.”

    Junior goaltender Derek Stevens believes everyone on the team is of equal importance this time of year.

    “Every person has to be a key player, from the coach on down,” Stevens said. “We just need everyone to play their role and play it well.”

    The Seawolves first tournament game is a rubber match against the University of Delaware. Stony Brook visited Delaware early in December, splitting a two-game weekend series.

    “Delaware is fast and very good and we cannot take them lightly despite knowing that we beat them earlier in the season,” Capizzuto said. “We have go back to basics with our defensive coverage.”

    A potential second round match-up would be against either #11 West Chester or #6 Iowa State, teams the Seawolves have defeated on the road this season.

    Stony Brook traveled to Iowa in the middle of February and split a weekend series with the Cyclones, who were #4 in the nation at the time. That weekend was extremely important in securing a tournament spot for the Seawolves.

    The match up with West Chester would be the fourth meeting between the two teams this season. The conference rivals split two regular season games, with each team winning on the others home ice.

    They faced off again in the final of their conference tournament, and the Seawolves admittedly came out flat.

    “I think we took them lightly and were a little laid back knowing that we were already set for nationals,” Stevens said. The 11-3 loss was one of the worst of the season for the Seawolves, but they believe it will help ratchet up the intensity if they meet again.

    The puck drops at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, and Capizzuto is gearing up for his last weekend of college hockey.

    “Knowing this is the last time I will be playing college hockey, I want to be going out on a high note,” he said. “We want to win this for the seniors,” Stevens said. “They have been to the nationals four straight years now and given a lot to the team so to do well for them is most important.”

    Whatever the result, the Seawolves are ready to continue their accession amongst club hockey’s elite.

    “Nationals is about leaving it all out on the ice and giving it all that you got,” Capizzuto said.

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