Hockey sweeps Stony Brook in fierce rivalry battle, takes first place

The University of Rhode Island’s men’s club ice hockey team swept Stony Brook University in a weekend series, winning 4-1 on Friday night and 4-3 in overtime on Saturday.

Rhody improved to a record of 17-11 with the pair of wins, moving them up to first place in the Eastern States Collegiate Hockey League.

In Friday’s game, Stony Brook struck first with 8:56 remaining in the first period on a goal from fourth-year Jesse Edwards. After a scuffle in front of the net, he found the loose puck and banged it in to take an early lead.

Penalties proved to be an issue for Stony Brook, allowing the Rams to answer with two goals of their own on power play advantage.

The first came with 7:01 left when Stony Brook third-year goalie Scott Barnikow knocked down second-year Shane Mulherns’ shot on goal. That’s when fourth-year Thomas Fagan flew in from the wing to slip a shot past the goalie to put Rhode Island on the board.

The second occurred with 5:27 remaining in the period, again from the tandem of Fagan and Mulhern. Fagan was in front of the crease protecting the puck, and as Mulhern crept by the goalie, Fagan flicked him the puck, and he was able to tap it in for a second Rhode Island goal.

“We were moving the puck around pretty well,” Fagan said. “I started driving [to the] net, saw the puck get loose, and I was able to push it through.”

With 4:55 to go in the period, turmoil broke loose in front of the Stony Brook goal. A fiery skirmish between the two teams ensued, leading to multiple penalties and the ejection of Stony Brook fourth-year Devin Pepe.

“We’ve been playing each other for a long time; some of the guys know each other from back home,” URI Head Coach Joe Augustine said. “It’s just, you know, it’s one of those things.”

An action-packed period one was followed by a quiet period two. Both teams remained in a scoreless gridlock until Rhode Island broke the silence with their third goal, leaving 4:21 on the clock in the second period. Moving on the fast break, Mulhern took another shot on goal and was again deflected down. The puck landed in front of the feet of the trailing second-year Ethan Cordiero, who ripped it into the heart of the goal for the Rams’ second rebound of the game.

URI opened up period three red-hot with another goal just 35 seconds in. The goal came after Cordiero jarred the puck free, giving fourth-year Kevin Kanaczet an open look at the goal, where he launched it right under the goalie’s blocker for Rhody’s fourth goal. His goal iced the game-one victory for the Rams, with a final score of 4-1.

The second game of the weekend began as a back-and-forth affair, with neither team able to gain an advantage. The competitive nature of the previous game was not lost, with both teams laying hard hits followed by gnarly trash talk early on.

Stony Brook again opened the scoring in the contest, with second-year Garth Swanson ripping a goal on a deep slapshot into the top right corner of the goal with 14:23 remaining in the first period.

URI quickly answered. Cordiero broke away from the defense, wrapped a shot around the last defender and placed it top glove side to tie the game with 13:44 left in the first period.

Stony Brook was able to reclaim the lead in the second period after a series of unfortunate events for the Rams. A shot from Stony Brook fourth-year Matt Minerva missed high, ricocheted off the glass onto Briggs’ back and fell into the goal. Stony Brook led with 6:12 to play in the second.

Rhody answered Stony Brook again with a goal of their own. Mulhern was in perfect position outside the crease to retrieve first-year Max Lockwood’s deflected shot and shoot it into the wide-open goal to tie the game at 2-2 with 3:44 left to play in period two.

In period three, emotions from the night before finally boiled over into the game. Both teams exchanged hard checks, each more violent than the last, leading to several penalties in the period.

With 7:11 remaining in the period, URI second-year Mike LiCausi launched a shot from the neutral zone line. Just before it got to the crease, fourth-year Dennis Engelson lunged his stick forward to redirect the puck out of the goalie’s sight and into the goal to take a 3-2 lead.

In desperation, Stony Brook made a final run with the puck to keep the game alive. Minerva received a cross from second-year Matteo Daita and shoveled the puck into the goal with 0:41.9 on the clock, sending the game into overtime.

As overtime began, t ensions in the contest continued to run high, leading to another quarrel between the two teams. After the dust settled, the Seawolves lost two players to the penalty box, giving URI a 5-3 power play advantage with just 59 seconds left in overtime.

The Stony Brook few fought valiantly to hold off the relentless five-man assault but were eventually overwhelmed. Mulhern scored his fifth point of the weekend on a goal assisted by second-year Zach Bell with eight seconds left, sealing the Rams’ weekend sweep. The action didn’t stop there. Shouting and shoving continued as the teams attempted to say good game to each other. Stony Brook Head Coach Chris Garofalo lost his composure, screaming at the officials. Despite the chaos, no further fighting broke out.

Augustine spoke after the game about the animosity in the weekend’s series.

“That’s gonna happen, but you also have to walk away from stuff like that,” Augustine said. “You just gotta get out of there, you can’t get involved in stuff like that.”

URI will play again next weekend, on the road against New York University. The games will be played on Friday at 9 p.m. and Saturday at 6 p.m.