The Stony Brook club hockey team was one game away from history in Cleveland, Ohio Tuesday night. But when the team needed it most, the offense was nowhere to be found as the Central Oklahoma Bronchos defeated the Seawolves 4-0 in the American Collegiate Hockey Association Men’s Division I Final.
It was Stony Brook’s first appearance in a National Championship game since the 2002-2003 season and the Seawolves first ever national title game at the Division I level. The loss put an end to SBU’s 11-game winning streak.
After a scoreless first period, it was all Bronchos, as they scored a pair in the second and third periods en route to the victory.
Ryan Duley and Josh Wyatt scored 82 seconds apart in the second period to give Central Oklahoma a lead it would not relinquish. Duley struck after being set up by assists from Tyler Minx and Matt Prigge to make it 1-0, and then Wyatt lit the lamp on the power play at the 7:31 mark after Nolan Grauer found him with a pass. It was Vinny Lopes’ slashing penalty that gave the Bronchos the man advantage.
In the third it was more of the same, as Trevor Yee was able to record two assists in the period to put the game out of reach. First, he set up Michael Rivera at the 4:41 mark to give UCO a 3-0 lead. Then, Wyatt finished the scoring with an empty netter after getting a pass from Yee.
After stopping 11 shots in the first period, Stony Brook goalie Brendan Jones allowed four goals on only 12 shots in the next two periods. It was something the Seawolves had not seen from Jones this tournament, as he stopped 32 shots against Rhode Island in a shutout effort and then stopped 39 of 40 shots in the Seawolves’ upset 2-1 win over the top-seeded Arizona State Sun Devils Monday night.
Stony Brook’s matchup with ASU featured two scoreless periods between before the Seawolves struck twice within a 13-second span and then held on for dear life.
Nick Barbera was able to slap home a shot off a feed from Lopes at the 4:07 mark of the third, and then it was JT Hall slotting home the game-winning goal at the 4:20 mark.
Edward McGovern took advantage of a Kevin Kavanaugh boarding penalty to cut the lead to 2-1, but the Sun Devils were not able to score in the final 10:38 of the game, allowing the Seawolves to enter the title game with Central Oklahoma.
The Seawolves finished the season 33-6. The team will have to do some rebuilding over this offseason if the Seawolves hope to make it back to next year’s national tournament. Stony Brook will be losing several key seniors this spring, including Lopes, Barbera, Sam Brewster, Jones, Ryan Cotcamp and Chris Joseph.