The final seconds were ticking off the clock, and Stony Brook forward Moe Torres corralled the puck on his backhand behind the Rhode Island net. Trailing 3-2, Torres cut hard to the front of the goal, looking to score his third of the night and tie the game. He took a quick shot, looked down, raised his stick above his head and skated away in celebration as the goal horn sounded.
After a few moments of indecision the referee skated over to the Stony Brook bench to deliver his decision; no goal.
“I just didn’t get it high enough,” Torres said about the play after the game. “He caught it, and from my angle I wasn’t sure it went in but I tried to sell it. He caught it and it was either on the line or past the line, but he got it.”
Despite a stellar effort from goaltender Derek Stevens and Torres’ two goals, the Seawolves were unable to pull off the upset of the #10 Rhode Island Rams Friday night at The Rinx, falling 3-2.
“As a team we didn’t play very well, we gave up way to many opportunities and we got out hustled all over the ice,” Torres said.
One player who did shine on this night was Stevens, who made 39 saves, many in spectacular fashion as he was bombarded all game long.
“It’s always good to stay consistent in a game,” Stevens said about seeing such a steady stream of shots. “But I don’t know anyone who likes to see that much work. A steady amount keeps you in, that much gets you tired.”
The Seawolves opened the scoring 7:33 into the opening period when Torres found a rebound on a point shot and banged it past the Rhode Island goaltender. But after Stevens made a spectacular save on a Rhode Island 3-on-1 rush, the Rams kept the pressure on, and Devin Sheehan countered with a goal of his own just 3:19 later to tie the score at one.
Stevens continued to bail his team out through the second period, making some big time glove saves and keeping Rhode Island off the board.
“We had a pretty big letdown after they got their first goal,” Stevens said. “They took momentum, and we couldn’t get it back. It transpired into a whole mess of a second period and we really got lucky walking out with the lead.”
That lead came courtesy of a strong individual effort by Torres. With under three minutes to go in the period, he laid a heavy body check on a Rhode Island player in the offensive end. After the puck was cleared he skated it back down the left wing, deked the defender in front of him and scored a tough goal on a powerful move to the net. The Seawolves seemed to have some extra jump in their game for the remainder of the period, and went into the locker room up 2-1.
Although they didn’t play well in the second period, it was a three minute span in the third that finally did the Seawolves in. After an awful defensive zone turnover left Stevens and a single defender facing three Rhode Island forwards, Evan Dietz fired a point blank wrist shot that beat the goaltender through the five hole to tie the game.
The Seawolves went on the power play just 1:05 after the tying goal was scored. They were only 1/7 on the night with the man advantage, and this particular power play was disastrous.
Peter Zarrella was caught in a 2-on-1 rush after an ill advised pinch by his defensive partner. Zarrella took away the passing lane but Richie Falasca’s quick wrist shot from the right circle was placed perfectly, just inside the far post, beating Stevens low and to the stick side.
“They were outplaying us all game, they were smothering us,” junior forward Chris Ryan said. “It was just a matter of time before they cashed in on some chances. “
Stevens continued his stellar play through the third period, but the best chance the Seawolves had to tie the game was Torres’ effort in the final seconds.
“We have to change our whole game plan tomorrow,” Ryan said “We need to play aggressive and use our speed.”
The Seawolves and Rams clash again at 8:00pm on Saturday night at The Rinx. Check out http://www.sbinews.org for continuing coverage of the club ice hockey team.