The Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team won a nail-biter on Saturday, Feb 22 over the Brown University Bears, winning the game 11-10 in overtime. After trailing by three in the third quarter, the Seawolves clawed their way back off of career performances and a will to win.
The Bears kicked off the game by taking a two goal lead before sophomore midfielder Caleb Pearson sent the ball into the back of the net. The Seawolves and the Bears would trade blows throughout the first quarter as senior midfielder Chris Pickel Jr., senior attacker Connor Grippe and junior midfielder Mike McCannell all added on to make the score 4-3. The second quarter, however, saw the Bears break away with a 5-4 lead they would carry into the next half.
Brown took the third quarter in stride, adding four more goals to their lead. Stony Brook senior attackers Tom Haun and Cory VinGinhoven put goals in the net alongside Pearson’s second as the Seawolves managed three, cutting the deficit to 9-7. However, in a game where the final statistics had Brown leading the Seawolves in shots — an absolutely insane 61 shots taken to Stony Brook’s 41 shots — shots on goal, and faceoffs won, the most meaningful statistic of all was saves.
Senior goalie Michael Bollinger started off slow, picking up six saves by the second quarter. In the third quarter alone however, Bollinger doubled his total by saving seven shots. His best showing came when the Seawolves needed him most. While Pearson netted his second straight hat trick, VanGinhoven got his second goal, and junior LSM Devin O’Leary rebounded his own missed shot into his first goal on the season. Bollinger saved nine shots in the fourth quarter including an on-the-goaline stop that sent the game into overtime after the Seawolves outscored the Bears 3-1 in the quarter.
In overtime, combined with Bollinger’s career-high of 22 saves, it was Pearson who finished the Bears off with his second overtime game-winner of the year to give the Seawolves their second win of the season.
“The feeling after the first one, it was unbelievable. And especially after the second one,” Pearson said in a postgame press conference. “You hate to go into overtime, especially in a tight game like that, because you never know how it’s going to go. We were fortunate to have Bollinger make all of those saves. He was locking it down defensively. So we had to produce. It was unbelievable scoring that second overtime winner.”
“I couldn’t be prouder of the effort,” head coach Anthony Gilardi said in a press conference. “When the guys fight, it’s a credit to what they do in practice every day, learning from our mistakes and learning from the positives. And they left it out there, and we talk about one positive play at a time and these guys did that all game long.”
The celebrations will be quick, as the team faces the Hofstra Pride at home on Tuesday at 6:31 p.m. before heading on the road to face the Scarlet Knights of Rutgers University in Camden, N.J.
“I think the guys are ready,” Bollinger said in the postgame press conference. “We have a lot of [games] coming up. We’re gonna get focused right after this game. Practice tomorrow, guys are gonna be flying around like last week during practice.”