Stony Brook Hockey team was firing on all cylinders Friday night at The Rinx in Hauppauge, New York in the 6-3 defeat of the Rhode Island Rams. The team’s offensive explosion was led by freshman forwards, who provided five of the Seawolves’ six goals.
The Seawolves looked as though they would head into the second intermission without a lead for the first time this season, with under a minute to go in the second period and the score knotted up at two. But freshman forward Charles Peck had different plans.
“I was trying to find my linemate [Keith O’Brien] down low,” Peck said. “The guys slid and blocked it and then I knew I shouldn’t have hesitated. But then I controlled it, saw the goalie was out of the net and put it in the goal.”
Peck’s goal at the 19:11 mark of the second period gave Stony Brook a lead they would never relinquish en route to their fifth consecutive win to start the season.
While they ultimately came out with a win, the Seawolves faced challenges every step of the way.
“I think [Rhode Island] emptied the tank in the first two periods,” head coach Chris Garofalo said. “Hats off to them, they had a great game. I think we eventually just settled down. Our skill level is there but we just weren’t prepared to play that kind of an up-tempo game. Once we got acclimated I think we were able to turn it around.”
The Seawolves controlled the offensive play early in the first period and had seven of the first eight shots on goal. Hard work turned into results when sophomore forward Kevin Murphy scored his third power play goal of the season 8:34 into the game to take a 1-0 lead.
The Rams awoke from their slumber, however, as junior forward Nate Bastian scored a game-tying goal at the 11:49 mark. The Seawolves were credited with no shots on goal for the remainder of the period.
Stony Brook came out with new life in the second period and quickly regained the lead with Peck’s first goal as a Seawolf. Rhode Island applied more and more offensive pressure as the period went on. However, sophomore goalie Payne Yoder was up to the task, stopping 11 of 12 pucks that came his way. The lone Rhode Island goal was scored by freshman forward Ben Mello with only 1:39 left in the middle frame. Stony Brook responded 50 seconds later with a goal of its own by Peck, his second of the game.
The Seawolves came out of the second intermission refocused, dictating the play from the opening draw. The team scored a trio of goals in the third period with the momentum shifting in their favor. Freshman forward Ian Bernes scored twice in the period, increasing his team-leading goal count to six. Freshman forward Joseph Slevin also cashed in for his first goal of the season, giving the Seawolves a 6-2 lead. The Rams scored one final goal with 3:39 in regulation, but the Seawolves thwarted their efforts and held on for a 6-3 final.
The team’s fifth win of the season matches the program’s best start to a season since being granted ACHA D1 status in 2007-08. The only other 5-0 start came in the 2015-16 campaign.
“Every year is different; every game is different,” Garofalo said. “It’s just about the next game and not what we’ve done in the past. We just want to make sure we’re playing our game and playing the way we’re supposed to play and everything else will fall into place.”
The two teams will face off again Saturday, Oct. 14 at 5 p.m., when Stony Brook will have a chance for its sixth consecutive win of the season and thirteenth consecutive win against Rhode Island.