The Stony Brook hockey team came up one goal short once again Sunday afternoon, Jan. 14, at The Rinx in Hauppauge, when rival Liberty University scored late to secure a weekend sweep of the Seawolves.
“I don’t think it was a lack of effort that caused us to lose that game,” head coach Chris Garofalo said. “It was a lack of detail and a lack of execution at opportune times. We couldn’t score on the power play and in these kinds of games, that’s your moment to succeed. When you don’t the result is what happened today.”
The Seawolves, who went 1-for-4 on the power play Sunday, have struggled lately with the man advantage, converting at a 14 percent rate since the beginning of December. Their lone goal from senior defenseman Frank Sherding broke a 0-14 stretch on the man advantage.
“It was a broken play,” Sherding said. “[Junior defenseman Frank Coscia] kept the puck in and I picked it up. Once you’re in that high slot you want to take the shot. I saw that the top right was open, I shot it, and the puck went in.”
Sherding’s goal tied the game at 1-1 with 4:58 left in the second period and set up for an exciting third period. With 5:27 remaining in regulation, Liberty freshman center Devin Pierce scored his first of the season to earn the win for his team.
“This week they were better than us,” Sherding said. “This weekend they beat us. Yesterday we had the game in our hands and the third period was probably the worst we’ve ever had. Today it was a 1-1 game going into the third and they just wanted it a little more than us.”
Stony Brook’s series sweep at the hands of Liberty was the first time since October 2011 that it has lost both home games in a weekend. The series also marked the first time in sophomore goaltender Payne Yoder’s Stony Brook career that he was in net for back-to-back losses. Despite the unfavorable result, Yoder played well in net, stopping a combined 59 saves on 64 shots against.
“He’s not the problem,” Garofalo said. “He’s part of the solution. It’s the other supporting cast who need to start to realize their importance. Yoder’s proven to me that he deserves the starting job.”
The Seawolves, who went 1-3 against the Flames this season, will need to improve over the final 10 games in order to have success at the Eastern States Collegiate Hockey Association tournament next month.
“We’ve got to make the kids on the team battle,” Sherding said. “One thing that we don’t do too much in practice is battle as hard as you possibly can. We’re too good of friends on the ice. On the ice you want to battle each other and make a little bit of enemies but when it comes to a game you want to come together like a family. One thing we don’t do in practice right now is battle and that’s something that has to change coming into this weekend.”
The Seawolves will head to Delaware this weekend for a two-game set with the UD Blue Hens Friday and Saturday. Both games will be played at 6:30 p.m. at Fred Rust Arena.