The No. 11 University of Rhode Island men’s hockey team was swept by No. 4 Stony Brook University in a pair of games over the weekend, losing Friday 5-3 and Saturday 3-1.

The losses ended an eight-game winning streak for Rhode Island (27-6-2) which dated back to Jan. 3. Despite the sweep, the Rams remain eight points ahead of the Seawolves (24-5) in the Eastern States Collegiate Hockey League standings.

“Obviously, I think we can play with them and I think it just gives them a little incentive for down the road when hopefully we do see them again in the playoffs,” Rhode Island head coach Joe Augustine said. “We beat them once down there and they were all tough games so I think they know that we have a pretty decent team too.  Obviously different teams, different styles but I think hopefully we learn from our mistakes and move on.”

On Friday, Stony Brook got off to a fast start, with Nick Barbera providing their first goal 57 seconds into the first period.  Sophomore Matthew Pederson scored through the five-hole unassisted to even the game at 5:29.

The Rams were unable to find a goal on their lone power play of the period, and the Seawolves retook the lead at 17:06 with a goal from Andrew Cetola.

In the second period, the Seawolves added to their lead almost instantly with a goal from J.T. Hall eight seconds in.  Junior Matthew DaSilva was sent to the box for holding, but the Rams’ penalty kill prevented Stony Brook from scoring.

At 8:44 Cetola was called for hooking, giving the Rams a power play but Barbera netted Stony Brook’s fourth goal shorthanded.  Pederson found the net again soon again at 10:24 with an assist from senior John Del Padre.  Two minutes later, URI had another power play, which freshman Matt Armenti capitalized on with a straightaway shot from just inside Stony Brook’s zone assisted by freshman Ray Boudiette and junior Brian Gara.

The comeback efforts were to no avail, though, as with 6.4 seconds remaining Stony Brook’s Vincent Lopes scored an empty-net goal for the Seawolves to seal the victory.

In Saturday’s game, the Seawolves once again drew first blood on the Rams with a goal from Joseph Bochichio that just barely squeezed by senior goaltender Andrew Sherman into the right side of the net.  Boudiette fed Gara for the equalizer for the Rams at 15:38 to level the score before the intermission.

“They’re very opportunistic so when you have a breakdown they take advantage of it,” Augustine said. “Every time we made a mistake they scored a goal.  I thought we played much better than we did on Friday night.  Some penalties to kill tonight, a lot more than yesterday, but all in all I think we played better tonight than we did previously.”

In a penalty-filled second period, Stony Brook received a boarding infraction 18 seconds in and fell victim to a tripping call at 59 seconds, giving Rhode Island a 5-on-3 opportunity that they could not convert on.  Both teams had 4-on-3 opportunities in the period but were unable to find the net.

The Seawolves took control in the third period, scoring at 9:14 and again 48 seconds later on goals from Lopes and Brendan Calello.

Things got ugly soon after as matching roughing penalties were issued to sophomore Steve Donahue and Stony Brook’s Ryan Cotcamp for roughing at 12:41, and at 14:19 junior Robbie Buehrer received a major penalty for boarding and Stony Brook’s Frank Sherding received two minutes for shoving Buehrer as he made his way to the penalty box.

With 25.6 seconds remaining, two Stony Brook players were sent to the box for interference and tripping. The Rams had a 6-on-3 advantage for the remainder of the game with Sherman pulled, but they were unable to find a way to get the puck in the net.

“We’ve got to improve on our [defensive] zone,” Gara said.  “It looks a little sloppy sometimes so we’ll tweak a few things there. We outshot them … and we were pretty happy with the way we played.  Sometimes the bounces just don’t go your way and we’ll see them again in the playoffs.”

The Rams will look to bounce back as they face the University of Delaware Friday and Saturday in their final two road games of the regular season.  The Blue Hens are currently 12-13.