Senior forward Brendan Calello skates down the rink in the ESCHL finals against Liberty University back on Feb. 26, 2017. In the championship rematch game this past weekend, Calello scored the game-winning goal. PHOTO COURTESY OF AZTEK PHOTOS

After losing by a six-goal margin Friday night at LaHaye Ice Center in Lynchburg, Virginia, the Stony Brook hockey team powered back against the Liberty Flames for a 5-3 win and a split of the weekend set.

“It says a lot [about the team’s character],” head coach Chris Garofalo said. “A lot of guys could have looked at last night and said ‘how are we going to come back from this?’ It just speaks volumes about our compete level. We want to compete, and we want to play. That’s what I talked about in the locker room; I said ‘I think that was our first game where we played 60 minutes.’”  

Five different players found the back of the net for the Seawolves, including senior forward Brendan Calello. Calello scored the game-winning goal at the 17:49 mark of the second period, extending his goal-scoring streak against the Flames to six games.

“Brendan likes to go to the dirty areas of the ice,” Garofalo said. “That’s why he’s successful against a team like Liberty. He’s not afraid to muck it up, and when he has a shot to get to the front of the net, he goes to the front of the net.”

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Just as the goal scoring was a team effort for Stony Brook, both goaltenders were required for the Seawolves to come away victorious. Stony Brook sophomore goaltender Richard Shipman, in his third start of the season, was ejected for fighting Liberty freshman forward Sam Carlson at the end of the first period. Sophomore goalie Payne Yoder was brought into the game as his replacement. Yoder stood tall in relief, stopping 18 of the 21 shots he faced to earn his sixth win of the year.

“I thought the ejection was wrong,” Garofalo said. “But it was good to see Payne come in and he shut it down for us. He played a great game and it was good for him to get that rebound game and get the ‘W’.”

A scary situation ensued when Flames sophomore defenseman Garrett Nelson collided with the boards and struggled to get up at the end of the second period. The injury resulted in an 11-minute stoppage of play, during which time Flames players formed a prayer circle in front of the team’s bench. Nelson left the ice on a spineboard and was taken to the hospital with what Garofalo said is a broken leg.

Liberty scored shortly after the injury to draw within a goal of Stony Brook’s lead, but Calello responded quickly to extend the lead to 4-2. The previous Stony Brook goals were scored by sophomore forward Kevin Murphy at 11:28 of the first period, junior forward Devin Linker 3:43 into the second period and freshman forward Ian Bernes 13:20 into the second. Junior forward Matthew Crockett tacked on Stony Brook’s fifth and final goal into an empty net with 0:19 remaining in regulation to seal the win for the away team.

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Next weekend, the Seawolves return home to host the Syracuse Orange for the first time since the Orange were added to the Eastern States Collegiate Hockey League (ESCHL).

“I expect another intense game like tonight,” Garofalo said. “They’re ranked below us right now and they’re going to come into our house and try to knock us off. They split with Liberty like we did and it’s going to be a [competitive] game. From here on out, most of our games are not going to be easy. They’re going to be very intense and the little things are going to make a difference.”

The weekend set will be played Saturday, Oct. 11 at 8:30 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 12 at 3:30 p.m. at The Rinx in Hauppauge.

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