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    Close, But No Hockey Championship for SBU

    There are over 150 teams in the American Collegiate HockeyAssociation and when the final whistle blew Stony Brook University finished theseason ranked number two in the nation.

    The final chapter of the Seawolves journey started when theybecame one of the 16 teams to be invited to the 2003 ACHA National Tournamenthosted by the University of Southern California.

    SBU was certainly the Cinderella story of the tournament.This year’s team surprised a lot of people, not only by winning theirpool, but also by making it all the way to the finals.

    In their first game, SBU faced off against the University ofIllinois and, after a slow start, easily defeated the Fighting Illini 7-2. Ingame two, SBU took on Ivy League rival University of Pennsylvania, defeatingthem 2-1 thanks to outstanding goaltending by Brian Andruszkiewicz.

    The Seawolves continued their roll when they faced ColoradoState University with a birth to the semifinals on the line. Trailing 3-1after the first period, Stony Brook settled down and dominated the rest of thegame, winning 8-5. With the victory Stony Brook advanced to the semifinals,where they would face a familiar foe in Siena College. The Seawolves had playedthe upstate school three times already during the regular season.

    In their final meeting of the season, SBU found themselvestrailing Siena 1-0 late in the second period when Billy Acker level the score.Acker took a pass from Anthony Fronzoni and sent a shot past the Sienagoaltender tying the game at 1. The goal gave Stony Brook new life and theSeawolves never looked back. With ten minutes remaining in the third period,Anthony Demichelle made a drop pass to Fronzoni, who pulled to his backhand andscored. Fronzoni’s goal put the Seawolves their first lead, 2-1. MikeKeane sealed the deal when he added another goal in the waning minutes givingStony Brook a 3-1 lead and more importantly a birth in the finals.

    The finals saw SBU matched up again the Big Twelvepowerhouse University of Colorado. With the national championship on the line,Colorado struck first. Tournament MVP Zac Sanner scored a power play goalearly in the first period giving Colorado a 1-0 lead. Stony Brook tied thegame up ten minutes later when Fronzoni intercepted a pass from the Coloradogoaltender and scored on the open net. But Colorado bounced back and extendedits lead in the second period to 3-1 thanks to two more power play goals.

    Before the second intermission. Stony Brook drew one backscoring a power play goal of its own. Fronzoni scored on a breakaway cuttingColorado’s lead to 3-2.

    Colorado began the third period just like the previous twoand quickly extended its lead to 5-2.

    Just when the game looked out of reach, Seawolves captainJesse Muro made things interesting. Muro scored two late goals bringing SBUwithin one goal with one minute remaining.

    But time wasn’t on Stony Brook’s side that night.In the final seconds, Colorado added an empty net goal defeating SBU 6-4 andwinning the national championship.

    After the game Stony Brook general manager Chris Garafalo talkedabout the Seawolves season.

    ‘?I couldn’t be more proud of these guys,’Garafalo said. ‘?They played with heart and I couldn’t ask formore. Right now they are upset over the loss, but in a week or two they willrealize that being national runner-up is nothing to be ashamed of.’

    But the Seawolves didn’t return home empty handed. Atthe end of the tournament, awards were handed out. Defenseman Brian Karbot wasnamed 2nd team all tournament, while Muro and Fronzoni were named alltournament honorable mention.

    Other tournament standouts for Stony Brook were forwards JoeHirschy and Keane, who tallied four goals each. The entire SBU defensive unitturned in a very gutty performance. The goaltending tandem of Andruszkiewiczand Mike Gragnano allowed only seven even strength goals throughout the tournament.

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