On paper, 5-foot-10-inch, 175-pound senior Vinny Lopes may seem unfit to play a sport as physical as hockey.

He may have the body of a baseball player, but Lopes possesses the heart of a hockey player.

“I was just always told that I was too small and I was too little, physically,” Lopes said.

Due to his untraditional hockey physique, Lopes heard this type of criticism throughout his upbringing.

Using his personal strengths to reach his ceiling potential, Lopes has forged an illustrious collegiate career for the Stony Brook men’s hockey team.

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Originally a defenseman, Lopes made a decisive change that proved an integral transition for his success on the ice.

“I made the conversion to forward just to use my speed and maximize my game. I overcame that adversity of people telling me I couldn’t play defense,” Lopes said. “I used it in a different way to play the forward position,” Lopes exclaimed.

Playing with a chip on his shoulder, Lopes has evolved into a talented hockey player with a determination to win.

The senior from Staten Island, N.Y. led the Seawolves in scoring with 25 goals and 54 points this season, en route to the club’s third consecutive ESCHL championship.

He also had a team leading seven game-winning goals this year. But Lopes is quick to give credit to the whole Seawolves club for the success the team has  had this campaign.

“We really came together this year,” Lopes said.

After an overtime victory versus Delaware to claim the division title, the No. 5 ranked Seawolves will prepare to play the No. 12 ranked Rhode Island on Mar. 7.

Lopes is determined to bring Stony Brook its first national championship.

Lopes expressed the importance of going out in style prior to graduating and leading the program to victory in the 2015 ACHA Men’s Divison I National Championship.

“It means everything,” Lopes said. “To leave here with a national championship and a ring on my finger would be the greatest thing that could possibly happen,” he continued.

Born and groomed a hockey player, Lopes’ passion for the sport has him considering playing beyond college hockey.

“Possibly I would think about going overseas,” Lopes explained. For now he is intent on obtaining his diploma to pursue a career in financial advising.

Lopes described prioritizing and time-management as the most difficult aspects of a student-athlete’s success in the classroom, and in the competition.

With nationals right around the corner, Lopes’ love for the game has him committing his time to bringing the ACHA Cup home to Stony Brook.

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