Despite No Postseason Chance, Stony Brook Staying the Course


Michigan transfer Kevin Mack (25 goals, 24 assists this season) scored six goals to become Stony Brook’s fifth player with at least 20 goals on the year.

There will be some celebrations throughout Division I this weekend as regular-season titles are determined.

It’s unlikely anyone would savor one as much as Stony Brook, which will see its season end Saturday after the America East upheld a conference rule that prohibits schools that have announced they would leave the league from participating in league tournaments.

That means the most the Seawolves (9-4, 4-1) can do is claim a share of the America East regular-season title with a victory over league leader Vermont (8-6, 5-0) when the Catamounts visit Long Island.

“Most years, we really don’t talk about that,” said coach Anthony Gilardi, whose program moves into the Colonial Athletic Association next season. “We’ve talked about it. That’s something as coaches going into [last week], if something had happened and we would have lost, this game would have been a tough week of practice.”

Stony Brook didn’t enjoy a promising start last weekend at UMBC, as the Retrievers bolted to a 6-1 lead. But a potent offense that has averaged 13.2 goals ripped off 12 of the next 13 goals, and the Seawolves held on for a 13-11 victory.

Michigan transfer Kevin Mack (25 goals, 24 assists this season) scored six goals to become Stony Brook’s fifth player with at least 20 goals on the year, joining Dylan Pallonetti (33), Matt Anderson (24), Mike McCannell (23) and Noah Armitage (23). But the Seawolves’ specialists have been particularly impressive over the last few weeks.

Austin Deskewicz hadn’t taken more than seven faceoffs in a game this season prior to April, but is 43 of 66 (65.2 percent) over the Seawolves’ last three contests.

Meanwhile, freshman goalie Jamison MacLachlan played less than three minutes all year before an injury to Anthony Palma thrust him into the lineup April 16 at Binghamton. He’s allowed 14 total goals and posted a .632 save percentage in victories over the Bearcats and UMBC.

“Austin’s really talented, and he’s been up and down and grinding in practice every day,” Gilardi said. “J-Mo, we know how good he is. We see it every day in practice. It’s tough with an injury to Anthony there, and J-Mo stepped up in two huge games and has been great. Everyone on the team has full confidence he’s going to play great.”

Gilardi points to the Seawolves’ lone conference loss as a turning point for the season. By the time they fell 12-10 at Albany on March 26, any longshot chance to land an NCAA tournament at-large berth had long since evaporated, and about the only thing this year’s team could still chase was a regular-season title.

At a team meeting after falling to 5-4, Gilardi asked his players what they wanted to do. They responded by saying they wanted to send the team’s senior class out the right way.

Four victories later, Stony Brook has the chance to do that Saturday afternoon.

“We have a great group of guys,” Gilardi said. “I think when you’re a coach in a tough situation, those guys are the key. They’ve done a great job staying the course.”

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