It’s been a stellar year for the Seawolves ice hockey team. In December two members of the team competed on Team USA at the World University Games — a first. Then the team went on to win its league playoffs for the second straight year in a row, capture the Eastern States College Hockey League Playoff Conference title, and compile a record of 28-5-3. That earned the ice hockey team a fifth-place ranking in the nation and a berth in the semi-finals at the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Division 1 National Championship Tournament against first-place Arizona State University (ASU).
The Seawolves took a 1-0 lead against the Sun Devils and were up 3-2 entering the third period, thanks to coaching adjustments to counter ASU’s “speed and systems,” said Head Coach Chris Garofalo. Stony Brook came up just short in the end as ASU tied the game midway through the third period and scored the go-ahead goal to win 4-3. In spite of the loss, Stony Brook wound up ranked third in the nation, best-ever for the Seawolves.
“From day one the guys were really focused and never stopped believing in each other and their ability to win,” said Garofalo. “They had swagger this year and were a very confident group.”
Key players who stood out were junior forward Ryan Cotcamp (64 points in 34 games) and junior defenseman Chris Joseph (29 points in 33 games), who were both selected to compete on Team USA. Other players instrumental in the team’s success were senior forwards and co-captains Danny Cassano and Wes Hawkins and junior forwards Nick Barbera, Sam Brewster and Vincent Lopes.
But it was the marked improvement in defense that elevated the team to new heights, with the additions of sophomore Kevin Kavanagh and freshmen Mike Cartwright and Alex Miller.
Since 2000 Stony Brook has tallied an impressive 369-125-20 record, won eight of its past 11 conference championships and made appearances in 13 of the past 14 ACHA invitation-only national tournaments.
This incredible run has left Garofalo and his team feeling confident. “The Seawolves are looking forward to winning it all next year and bringing Stony Brook University its first-ever National Tournament Championship title,” he said.