Goaltending stole the show Saturday night at The Rinx in Hauppauge, New York when the Stony Brook hockey team shut out the Delaware Blue Hens 4-0.
Despite allowing four goals, Delaware junior goalie Stephen East turned away 36 Stony Brook shots on the night and finished with a .900 save percentage. Stony Brook sophomore goalie Payne Yoder earned his fifth win and second shutout of the campaign, stopping all 23 pucks that came his way.
“We had a lot of shots,” head coach Chris Garofalo said. “[East] did pretty well considering the amount of shots we had against him. Yoder made a few really big saves, especially the one sliding across. That was a big turning point.”
The save that Garofalo mentioned came at the 13:54 mark in the second period, when Stony Brook freshman defenseman Brendan Pepe turned the puck over to Delaware sophomore forward Chris Mazzella, causing a two-on-none opportunity for the away team. Mazzella passed the puck to sophomore forward Michael Nisky in the slot, but Yoder slid across the crease and made the save to preserve Stony Brook’s 1-0 lead.
“It wasn’t as hard as people might think,” Yoder said. “The guy had two options in front and if he can get it back-door he always does. So I knew what he was going to do before he even picked up the puck. I kind of cheated a little bit once he made that pass, slid over, and made the easy save.”
Junior defenseman Parker Bishop scored his first goal of the season to give the Seawolves a 1-0 lead, which they never relinquished, with 7:12 remaining in the opening frame. In the second period, just over a minute after Yoder stopped Nisky to keep the lead, senior forward Ori Benyamini and junior forward Brad Riccardi scored a pair of goals a little over a minute apart to extend the lead to 3-0. Freshman forward Charles Peck tacked on a fourth goal with 6:48 to go in the third period.
In the end, Bishop’s first period ice-breaker was all it took to secure the win and draw the praise of his coach.
“[Bishop] played on the next level tonight,” Garofalo said. “His dad was here from the West Coast so I guess he wanted to impress him. I was very happy with his performance. He’s skating, he’s flying on the ice, it’s not even just the goal he scored. Just getting back in the play, getting in position, being strong on the puck, he did all the little things that we asked everybody to do so he’s great.”
Stony Brook’s win was its conference-leading sixth-straight home victory to start the season. The team’s last loss at The Rinx was 363 days ago on Oct. 30, 2016.
“It’s nice to be on your home ice,” Garofalo said. “You practice on it all the time and the crowd’s nice to have in front of you. Being able to sleep in your own bed is also a really good thing too so overall home ice gives you an advantage.”
The Seawolves will look for more home cooking when they play their second game of the back-to-back set with the Blue Hens on Sunday, Oct. 29 at 3:30 p.m.