Another offensive explosion from the Stony Brook club hockey team led to its third-straight series sweep to start the year.
The Seawolves (7-0, 4-0 ESCHL) traveled to Michigan to take on the No. 21 Davenport Panthers for a two-game set this past weekend. Stony Brook dominated throughout both games, outscoring their opponents 14-5 in the series. The team won 5-3 on Friday and blew the Panthers out 9-2 on Saturday.
Davenport came out of the gate hot in game one, scoring the first goal within the first minute. The Seawolves responded by dominating possession and put together a string of shots to end the first period, but were blanked by Davenport goalie Nathan Gauthier. Stony Brook equalized 40 seconds into the second period with an unassisted goal from left winger Brandon Avezov.
Two minutes later, the Seawolves took their first lead of the day when right winger Devin Pepe broke the tie with a power play goal. Stony Brook continued to put pressure on Davenport with another streak of shots on goal, but Gauthier kept his team in it with several saves.
With just under six minutes left in the period, Stony Brook extended its lead through left winger Kyle Nestepny’s second goal of the season. He was assisted by right winger Kyle DePalma. Capping off a four-goal second period was center Greg Barnych, who scored off an assist by Pepe with just 1:17 remaining.
The Panthers answered with a goal of their own right before the period ended, making it 4-2 Stony Brook. The Seawolves continued their scoring early in the third period on Avezov’s second goal of the day, coming off assists from Barnych and left defenseman Andrew Mancini.
Davenport tallied a garbage-time goal with less than two minutes remaining, cutting Stony Brook’s lead back to two. However, the Seawolves were able to hold on and win the opener.
In a postgame interview with The Statesman, head coach Chris Garofalo said that winning game one helped the team set the tone for the series.
“It was a great first win on the road, because we had a long trip out here,” Garofalo said. “Just to get that first win really helped us get our legs under us. I think overall, the guys played a really good game.”
Stony Brook’s defense was suffocating in game one, allowing only 11 shots on goal in 14 total shots.
Stony Brook opened up game two shorthanded, committing three penalties within the first nine minutes. However, its penalty kill remained stout, as it surrendered no goals in the first period. On the offensive side, Stony Brook drew first blood with a goal from center James Kozicki, his first goal of the season. The Seawolves doubled their lead just 36 seconds later with a goal from center Conor Dempsey, also his first of the year. The team took a 2-0 lead into the second period.
Kozicki extended Stony Brook’s lead in the next period with his second goal of the night. Two minutes later, right winger Kristian Malec chimed in with his second goal of the year. Barnych put the Seawolves up 5-0 with just over five minutes left in the period.
Davenport finally broke the shutout with a goal from freshman Noah Bradburn, which was the second goal of his rookie season.
Stony Brook ran away with the game in the third period, scoring four more unanswered goals to go up 9-1. Barnych scored two more times, while left winger Will Kormanik and center Jesse Edwards tallied a goal each. Davenport scored another goal to nicen up its stats, but it did not make a difference.
The nine goals tied a season-high total for Stony Brook, matching its opening night game at Syracuse. Garofalo credited the scoring outburst to the team’s depth.
“I think all of our lines were rolling,” Garofalo said. “We come at teams in waves, which is a great thing. Some of the teams we’ve played don’t have as much depth as we do, and our depth really speaks volumes. All of the guys bring value to the team.”
The Seawolves had several standout performers over the weekend. Avezov and Barnych both tallied six points each. Along with his two goals, Avezov racked up four assists, all in game two. Barnych scored four goals to take the team lead on the season, and posted a hat trick in game two.
Kozicki’s two goals were the first of his American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) career. Edwards’ goal was his first of the season. Kormanik scored three points on Saturday with a goal and two assists. Left defenseman Dom Molfetto also recorded an assist in each game. Mancini came into the series with just two points on the season, but tallied three points (all assists) against Davenport.
The series saw the return of assistant captain and right defenseman Davin Van de Zilver. He missed the previous three games with a bone bruise on his foot. In his return to the ice, he recorded an assist on the final goal of the series for Stony Brook, now giving him two for the year.
However, Stony Brook was without left winger Matt Minerva and right defenseman Rob Distefano over the weekend. Minerva was the team’s leading scorer coming into the game, while Distefano broke his hand before the team’s flight. Distefano is expected to miss at least a month before his next appearance.
Looking ahead, the Seawolves will return home to host the No. 24 Rhode Island Rams. The Rams are 5-2-1 on the season and 2-2 in league contests. They just swept No. 23 Delaware in two-games, beating them 3-2 and 5-3 over the weekend.