The Stony Brook hockey team fell short in their quest for an American Collegiate Hockey Association National Championship, as they lost a heartbreaker in the tournament’s semifinals against No. 1 Arizona State University.
The Seawolves took a 3-2 lead into the third period, but were unable to hold it, and fell 4-3 to the eventual tournament champions.
Stony Brook, who has participated in a national tournament 14 of the previous 15 seasons, finished as the No. 4 ranked team in the ACHA.
“We are proud that we made it to the final four,” head coach Chris Garofalo said. “We played great hockey, and couldn’t have asked for a better game against Arizona State from our players.”
The Sun Devils jumped out to a 1-0 lead after one period, but in the second Stony Brook would respond in a big way, scoring three times.
Senior captain Wes Hawkins scored the first goal early in the second period, with a shot from the corner that went just over the glove of Arizona State’s netminder. Junior forward Sam Brewster had the assist on the goal.
Just 20 seconds later Arizona State would score again, and take a 2-1 advantage. But, with just 2:39 remaining in the second period, JT Hall would take advantage of a Arizona State turnover and score an unassisted goal, to knot things up at two.
Before the end of the period the Seawolves would strike again, when junior forward Nick Barbera scored on a breakaway.
The turning point of the game came early in the third period when Barbera had another great scoring chance right in front of the net. He received a backdoor pass, and seemed to have a wide open net. But the puck rolled on the junior forward, causing him to miss wide with the shot.
Stony Brook would regret not being able to put the dangerous Arizona State away. The Sun Devils would go on to score two third-period goals, including the game winner, which came within the final five minutes of the game.
While the loss was extremely tough for Garofalo and his club, he was still pleased with the effort put forth by his team in the game.
“We stayed out of the penalty box, and fought really hard,” he said. “It could have been anybody’s game.”
Garofalo also recognized how big just making it to the semifinals was for his program’s reputation.
“Getting to the semifinals and losing to the number one team by just a goal, speaks volumes about what we’ve been able to do here,” Garofalo said.
Arizona State University would go on to defeat Robert Morris in the ACHA National Championship game the next day.