Delaware senior forward Shane Mullin’s goal 1:54 into the first period was not the start Stony Brook Hockey was looking for at The Rinx in Hauppauge on Sunday afternoon, but a strong third period and four unanswered goals helped power the team to a 4-1 victory.
The Seawolves failed to dictate their typical style of play for the majority of the opening period and went into the second intermission with just one goal for the first time this season. By the time the third period began, the team had a renewed determination.
“I’m not going to lie, between the second and third we got chewed out pretty hard by [head coach Chris Garofalo],” junior defenseman Mike Kowicki said. “That kind of lit a fire under us and that’s definitely what brought us together and made us win the game. Plus, that one minute we had where we just started dominating is what we really needed too.”
Just over six minutes into the second period, Stony Brook broke through with a power play goal from sophomore forward Devon Palmieri to tie the game at one. But the team truly opened the floodgates in the third period, scoring twice in 40 seconds to gain a two goal lead. Kowicki fired home the go-ahead goal with freshman forward Jack Nevicosi putting home the insurance goal 2:51 into the final frame. Junior forward Brad Riccardi scored the team’s fourth goal into an empty net to solidify the Seawolves’ win.
Kowicki’s game-winning goal was his first of the year.
“The puck went up to my partner [freshman defenseman Brendan Pepe] and he heard me calling for it,” Kowicki said. “He took a look and passed it across the ice. I was just throwing it on net really hoping to get a tip but it happened to go in.”
Three of the Seawolves’ four goal scorers were sent to the penalty box in the game, leaving the team short-handed for a total of 16 minutes. However, the penalty killing units got the job done as they have in the past 25 penalty killing opportunities. The power play also looked strong in the win, going one for six with the advantage.
“Obviously it’s more difficult, but I still think we could’ve came out with the ‘W’ [without special teams success],” Garofalo said. “The penalty kill was great because we were [short-handed] a lot. If we didn’t have a great penalty kill, we’d be in trouble, but our penalty kill, knock on wood, has been stellar. Thank God for that because without that you can’t win games.”
Next weekend Stony Brook head to Virginia for a two-game set with the conference leading Liberty Flames. It will be the first time the two teams have played each other since the Eastern States Collegiate Hockey League final, when the Flames ended the Seawolves’ four-year championship streak. The two games will be played Friday, Nov. 3 at 7:00 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 4 at 7:00 p.m..
“If they’re not ready for Liberty, I don’t know what else is going to motivate them,” Garofalo said. “Liberty is a better team than they were last year, the environment is unreal. They have 3,000 fans and we’ll see how the new guys deal with that piece of it. It’s going to be a different challenge for them, it’s going to definitely be a harder game, and we’re going to have to battle to win.”