Junior forward Nick Belger during a game against Rutgers. Stony Brook won 8-2 this past weekend.  PHOTO COURTESY OF AZTEKPHOTOS

Stony Brook Hockey’s weekend home-and-home series with the Rutgers Ice Knights was a one-sided affair, with Stony Brook combining for 19 goals in a pair of victories. The Seawolves took game one on the road in an 11-1 routing on Friday, Oct. 12 before returning to The Rinx in Hauppauge for an 8-1 win on Saturday, Oct. 13.

Stony Brook made a number of roster adjustments heading into this season to respark its offense after dipping below a four goals per game average for the first time in over a decade in 2017-18. The Seawolves added four transfers from NCAA DIII programs and 10 freshmen to supplement an already skilled group and, through the first four games of the season, the changes appear to be panning out.

“I think it’s sustainable,” head coach Chris Garofalo said about his team’s scoring production. “If you look at the way we’re moving the puck, our vision, the new additions that we brought in, if the guys keep using the puck and not trying to go through everybody, we’ll produce.”

The Seawolves are averaging eight goals per game through their first four undefeated games, with the past three wins coming by seven or more goals.

It is unrealistic to expect production levels to remain so high throughout the season, but newly acquired junior forward Nick Belger gives reason for optimism. The SUNY Plattsburgh transfer has found the back of the net seven times in his past three games, including a hat trick against Rutgers on Friday night.

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Sophomore forward Charles Peck tied Belger for the scoring lead with a hat trick in Friday night’s victory and senior forward Brad Riccardi followed close behind them with two goals of his own. Junior goalie Richard Shipman was in goal for the third straight game, making 15 saves on 16 shots for his third win of the year.

Shipman was given Saturday night off, with Stony Brook going to junior goalie Sean Keating for his first game as a Seawolf. Keating, who hadn’t started a game since 2014-15, instantly looked comfortable in net, making 29 saves in his first collegiate win.

“We wanted to get Keating a game and to get him warmed up,” Garofalo said. “We think he’s going to be a really good goalie for us and we wanted to get him in this game. He looked good but he’s a little rambunctious in the net.”

Keating was assessed two penalties on the night, a first for unsportsmanlike conduct in the first period and another for interference in the third. The Seawolves were able to make it through both of those penalties, served by sophomore forward Joseph Slevin and Belger, respectively, without allowing a goal.

Stony Brook struck 1:15 into the first period to take a 1-0 lead on a wrap-around goal by Belger, but fell off from there and went into the locker room after 20 minutes tied at 1-1. The Seawolves returned to the ice zoned in for the beginning of the second and controlled the game for the rest of the night, recording 41 shots the rest of the way.

Stony Brook’s 19 goals is the most they’ve recorded in a single weekend since Oct. 25 and 26, 2014 when the team put 22 on the board against West Chester University. The Seawolves head upstate on Friday, Oct. 19 to take on the Syracuse Orange in their first Eastern States Collegiate Hockey League conference matchup of the season. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.

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