Needing a strong showing in order in stay up in the ACHA national rankings, 15th ranked Stony Brook split a pair of games against 19th ranked Rutgers at The Rinx in Hauppauge, defeating the Scarlett Knights 6-1 on Saturday night and then losing 3-2 on Sunday afternoon.
On Saturday, both teams struggled to create scoring opportunities in the first period, and the two sides would be scoreless at the end of the period.
At the 10:52 mark of the period, Rutgers’ Matthew MacDonald was awarded a penalty shot after he was brought down while on a breakaway by Stony Brook freshman defenseman Andrew Balzafiore. However, MacDonald would shoot the puck into Stony Brook sophomore goalie Daniel Snyder’s chest on the penalty shot attempt.
Stony Brook began to pick its play up in the second period, and at the 7:24 mark, senior forward Daniel Cassano scored the first goal of the game, receiving a pass from senior forward Mike Cacciotti while in front of the net and burying the puck past Rutgers goalie Brandon DeLibero.
Rutgers, however, would even the score after the Scarlett Knights’ Ryan Greeley tipped a shot from the point from Jay Ewan past Snyder at the 3:45 mark of the period.
Stony Brook would blow the game open in the third period. At the 12:03 mark, senior forward Sean Collins passed from the left corner in the Rutgers’ end and found sophomore Vinny Lopes on the opposite side of the net, who would give Stony Brook back the lead.
At the 8:49 mark, Collins would extend the lead to 3-1, finishing off a nice sequence of quick passes with linemates Lopes and Nick Barbera.
“I saw Vin had the puck at the top, looking at Nick,” Collins said. “I just went to the back door and had a wide-open net.”
Stony Brook would score three more goals to finish out the rout, with junior forward Nick Deresky, freshman forward Matthew Gervasi and senior Edwin Montgomery scoring the goals.
“The first period was definitely a slow start, one thing that I keep impressing on this team is to not be assumptive,” head coach Chris Garofalo said. “At this level of hockey, anyone can beat anybody on any given day.”
On Sunday, Stony Brook would continue its goal streak, jumping out to a 1-0 lead at the 14:08 mark of the period after junior defenseman Chris Joseph finished off a pass from Cacciotti.
Rutgers would tie the game with a powerplay goal at the 2:59 mark of the period, after Andrew Koslov capitalized on a scramble in front of the Stony Brook net.
Stony Brook began to pick up its offensive game, putting up 15 shots in the second period. However, it would be Rutgers who would score the lone goal of the period.
At the 10:49 mark, the Scarlett Knights’ Jason Adams got behind the Stony Brook defense while Rutgers was shorthanded, and deked out Stony Brook freshman goalie Brendan Jones on the breakaway.
Stony Brook would tie the game early in the third period at the 18:32 mark, after sophomore Ryan Cotcamp tapped in a rebound off of a shot from Cacciotti.
Rutgers’ Greeley would score the game-winner with 2:41 left in the game, tipping in a point shot from Kevin Crehan past Jones.
With the split, Garofalo expects the team to drop in the ACHA rankings. With only a two-game series against Rhode Island left in the regular season before the Eastern States Collegiate Hockey League playoffs begin, Garofalo said his team needs to win in order to make the ACHA national tournament.
“Our backs are to the wall right now, we’re still trying to get into nationals.” Garofalo said. “We got to stay 18th or better to get there.”