The last game of 2017 was a strong one for the Stony Brook hockey team, who took down New York University 4-0 Saturday night at The Rinx in Hauppauge.
“I think the guys knew that it was an important game for us,” head coach Chris Garofalo said. “We got the ‘W’ to move on to the next semester and I think we did a good job.”
The team found offense by committee, with no player earning more than one point in the victory. Perhaps the best line for the Seawolves was a combination of freshmen forwards Charles Peck, Ian Bernes and Keith O’Brien, who were responsible for two of the four goals.
“I talk about consistency with everybody and they have been inconsistent,” Garofalo said. “I think that today they had a really strong game and they played on both ends of the ice. They were backchecking, they were doing the little things, and they have to remember that. It’s up to them to understand that the little things will get you a long way and I think today they did a good job of that.”
The win may not have been possible without the efforts of sophomore goaltender Richard Shipman, who turned away 24 shots en route to his first shutout of the year. After playing a full 60 minutes at Sky Rink Friday night, Shipman became the only Stony Brook goaltender other than sophomore Payne Yoder to start two consecutive games since November 2016.
“I just felt it was another great opportunity,” Shipman said. “I had a game against Liberty where I got kicked out in the first period for a fight and then I got the call in the second game against Adrian and I got pulled for a momentum change. Two games straight I only played a period so coming into this weekend, I wanted to seize this opportunity. I felt like I had blown that and my confidence was going downhill and I just wanted to take control of this opportunity.”
Shipman’s shutout was his second as a Seawolf and he will begin 2018 on an active shutout streak of 103:22. By then, sophomore goaltenders Payne Yoder and Brandon Rathwell, who both missed this weekend with the flu, will be ready to come back, giving Garofalo additional options in the crease.
Along with their returns, all currently injured players are expected to be ready for the second half, including senior forward Ori Benyamini, who has missed almost a month with an upper body injury. The Seawolves will need to be ready for a challenge when they return in January, with a matchup against the Eastern States Collegiate Hockey Association-leading Liberty Flames as soon as they return.
“[I want them to] stay in shape and do good in school,” Garofalo said of his expectations for the team heading into break. “Get on the ice two or three days a week and just keep their legs going. Don’t come back not skating for four weeks. Guys that are injured, get healthy. I might have one or two new guys come in that could impact us and hopefully everyone is eligible to play. It’s student-athlete, not athlete-student so you’ve got to be eligible.”
The Seawolves will return to the ice regrouped and recharged Saturday, Jan. 13 at 8:30 p.m. when they host the Flames in an ESCHL championship rematch.