It was not quite “The Miracle on Ice,” but to call Stony Brook’s comeback on Sunday evening against the Robert Morris University-Illinois Eagles anything but miraculous would be a punitive understatement.
Trailing 4-3 with 30 seconds remaining in regulation, and their season hanging in the balance, the Seawolves struck. Then, when overtime seemed certain—a victory within itself—magic was in the air as the puck found the back of the net once again, propelling the Seawolves to their second-consecutive Final Four appearance.
Senior forward Nick Barbera was clearly not ready to head back to Long Island, as he netted the game-tying goal on a dish from sophomore JT Hall with 30 seconds to play. No one would have blamed the Seawolves for sitting on the puck the remaining half a minute and letting the game come down to a dramatic overtime period, but conservative is not a word in these Seawolves’ vocabulary.
With just six seconds remaining in regulation, senior Vincent Lopes scored the biggest goal of his career. Lopes put home a rebound that guaranteed the continuation of what now seems to be a date with destiny—and the Arizona State Sun Devils.
Only three teams topped the Seawolves during the 2014-15 season—one of which was the Sun Devils. ASU will be without star goaltender Robert Levin, who is out due to a torn ACL, as the Seawolves are looking for the upset over the undisputed number one team in the nation.
The game is a rematch of last season’s National Championship game where the Sun Devils were just a single goal better, emerging as the 4-3 victors that sent the Seawolves home heartbroken. Although ASU has come out on the winning end twice in the three matchups between the teams this year, payback looms for a Stony Brook club that surely has not forgotten last March.
With a win on Monday night at 5 p.m., the Seawolves may not secure themselves a National Championship (which would take place Tuesday at 7 p.m.), but it will exorcise the demons the Devils created a year ago. And now, they are just 60 minutes away from playing for their second consecutive National Title. This time, they do not intend to come back empty-handed.