Photos by Autumn Walter |CIGAR| Above: Families of Mark Matson (left),
Mike Pesola (center) and Max St. Sauver are honored at ceremony before their final home game of their URI careers.
Bottom: Senior Sauveur plays in the Boss Ice Arena for last time.
The Rhode Island men’s hockey team snapped their 15-game losing streak to the Stony Brook Seawolves this past weekend winning Friday’s game 3-2.
Rhode Island struck first when junior Luke Vendetto scored just five minutes into the game to give the Rams an early 1-0 lead with assists coming from junior Sandy Gray and freshman Billy DeBlois. The Seawolves would immediately respond with a goal of their own to tie the game 1-1 with 14 minutes remaining in the first. With just 1.6 seconds left in the first period Stony brook would score to take a 2-1 lead into the second period.
Halfway through the second period junior Kyle McKenna would score from the point after a faceoff win from senior Mike Pesola to tie the game at two. Rhode Island would score again to take a 3-2 lead after a shot from Vendetto would bounce off the front crossbar and rebound into the net. The Rams would hold the lead the rest of the game, backed by a strong defensive effort and sophomore goaltender JT Ketzenberger, and win the game 3-2.
Saturday was the last home game in a Rhode Island uniform for the three seniors on the team. Co-captains, Max St. Sauver and Mike Pesola, and Mark Matson were all honored before the game for their time and dedication to the program. Pesola became the 30th player in team history to reach 100 career points in November of last year.
“They’re guys that gave four great years to the program,” head coach Joe Augustine said. “Mark has been injured as of late so we couldn’t get him in there but Max and Mike gave everything they had and we are glad to have all three of them in our program.”
Just three minutes into the first period Stony Brook would score to take an early 1-0 lead. After a penalty to freshman Josh Boulos and a successful penalty kill by the Rams the period would end with the Seawolves leading 1-0. Early in the second period Stony Brook would score again, extending their lead 2-0.
“The problem with Stony Brook, when you make a mistake, like today, you make a mistake and they cash in,” Augustine said. “Against a team like that you have to limit mistakes. A couple bad turnovers today lead to their goals, same thing yesterday, a couple mental mistakes. We played hard, I think we played hard both nights but we just couldn’t get it done tonight.”
A penalty called on Stony Brook for tripping freshman Billy McNally would lead to a power play opportunity for the Rams. Rhode Island would capitalize on the opportunity and freshman Patrick Creamer would score off the rebound to cut Stony Brook’s lead 2-1. Unfortunately for Rhode Island Stony Brook would score again off a turnover in the Rams’ defensive zone extending their lead 3-1 heading into the third period.
“We’re trying to dictate the play, as far as playing fast,” Augustine said. “They have a quick skilled team but if we play fast too and don’t turn the puck over then they dont have it. I think we just played too slow in our own end and you end up chasing them around, then you get in trouble, and then you cant get it out. It’s just a combination of us playing slow and their talent, it’s just not a good mix when you’re not playing well against a good team.”
The third period was scoreless for both teams but Josh Boulos would be ejected from the game following a scrum behind the Rhode Island net. He would finish the regular season with 112 penalty minutes in 31 games played.
“You don’t encourage that and we want everyone to keep their poise but when the referee lets things go and then you have a team that maybe is a little chippy, things escalate,” Augustine said. “It’s just an emotional game. We got to do a better job of taking care of that but every once in awhile those things happen. He’s a physical player, that’s how he needs to play. You can’t cross the line, which he did tonight.”
Rhode Island would drop game two to the Seawolves 3-1. The Rams finish the season 23-12-2 and second in points in the ESCHL. They will play this weekend in the ESCHL playoffs at West Chester University. Their first game will be this Friday at 2:30 p.m. against New York University.