During practices, it is typical for hockey teams to assign each of their forward lines different colored jerseys. This has been the case for the Stony Brook hockey club. And while other players on the team have changed their jersey color multiple times over the years, forwards Vincent Lopes and Nick Barbera have always worn green.
There has never been a need for the two seniors to change practice jerseys. The pair has skated on the same line for their entire Seawolves careers.
“I played with Nick Barbera pretty much my entire time here,” Lopes said. “We have really good chemistry out there. I know where he is and he knows where I’m going to be pretty much all the time.”
This season, Lopes and Barbera’s chemistry has been stronger than ever, as the two linemates have combined for 114 points and are a major reason Stony Brook will have the opportunity to participate in another National Tournament this weekend.
“He’s probably the best player in this league,” Lopes said about Barbera. “Just having him on my line has helped me achieve what I’ve achieved this season and in my entire career here at Stony Brook.”
Playing on the same line has forced Lopes and Barbera to spend plenty of time together, and a result of this has been the development of a strong off-the-ice relationship between the two.
Last week the two men could be spotted walking around the mall, alongside teammates JT Hall and Sam Brewster, just killing time together before practice.
“This year, we’ve really been hanging around a lot,” Barbera said. “It’s going to be sad once the season is over, because I’m really going to miss hanging out with Lopes and everyone.”
“Off the ice he’s my best friend here, so we carry that on the ice,” Lopes added.
Over the years, many players have rotated in and out as the third man on their line, and this year it has been Hall who has found a home with Lopes and Barbera. The sophomore forward has thrived in the role of the line’s main distributor, leading the Seawolves with 38 assists this year.
“Once us three were put together, they couldn’t break us apart. We just clicked so well,” Barbera said. “I really think that our line in particular is what has gotten us going this year.”
Next year there will likely be at least two new players donning green jerseys at SBU hockey practices, but Lopes and Barbera will have an opportunity to cement their legacy in the program this March when they try and bring the club its first national title.
Skyler Gilbert and Craig Petraglia contributed reporting to this story.