Sat. Dec 3rd, 2022

Despite taking a commanding two-goal lead into the final period of Saturday night’s game against Stony Brook, the Golden Rams men’s hockey team faltered late and watched as the Seawolves scored three unanswered goals to win 3-2 in overtime.
Stony Brook’s third period and overtime attack featured a combined 18 shots on goal as they commanded the offensive zone and took advantage of defensive lapses to create odd man rushes.
The Seawolves’ leading scorer Ryan Cotcamp got them on the board midway through the first period as he swung by West Chester defenseman Shane McGinty and beat goaltender Mike Rice with just three seconds remaining on the Stony Brook power play.
Stony Brook, who had already dominated time on attack in the third, became even more hungry after the first goal. With smart puck movement and superior speed, the Seawolves put on a charge, peppering Rice with high quality shots.
With just a few minutes left in the game, Stony Brook got its second break. Senior forward Dan Cassano sprung Vinny Lopes on a break, where he cut in front of a defender in the slot, went to the backhand, and beat Rice on the stick side. The goal tied the game at two and sent it into overtime with all of the momentum belonging to the Seawolves.
After a fairly one-sided overtime attack, Stony Brook forward Nick Deresky found the net with less than a minute left, completing the comeback and handing West Chester a weekend sweep.
“Stony Brook is a strong team offensively, and they were able to capitalize on a few of our mistakes,” said defenseman Jeff Dugan.
Cassano played a huge part in the Seawolves’ win, collecting assists on all three goals (two primary, one secondary) as he continued to find his teammates chances to score. Cassano now has 15 assists on the season, which is the most on the team by five.
Despite the loss, several huge positives were seen from West Chester. The Seawolves ripped 47 shots on net during the game, and Rice saved all but three of them. It could have easily been a five or six-goal game for Stony Brook, but Rice came up big on prime scoring chances, which included relenltess power play pressure and odd man rushes.
“When 2-on-1 situations happen, the first thing I do is to talk to my defense and usually communicate what we want to do. Sometimes I call out ‘shot’ meaning I want the puck carrier and you worry about the other guy. It’s a tough situation no matter what, and I feel we escaped most situations where a 2-on-1 did occur. Communication between the defense and goalie makes my job so much easier.”
In four games this season Rice has faced 156 shots, an average of 39 shots per game. He has saved all but 12 of them, which is good for a 92% save percentage.
“I feel like I have been improving a little more every week,” Rice said. “The defense have been doing a great job keeping shots in low percentage scoring areas, making my positioning so much easier to keep track of.”
The other huge positive from the game was the play of Dugan, who until this weekend had been held scoreless on the season. Now, he as three goals and was the sole offensive provider for West Chester on Saturday.
“This weekend coach Sands put me on offense on the power play,” Dugan said. “I tried to provide a good screen for our shooters up top as well as trying to get open for a shot on net.”
At 6-foot-3 with a heavy shot, Dugan has the ability to bring a lot to the table offensively, as he demonstrated twice against Stony Brook on Saturday by getting himself open and trying to make a play.
“The first goal I got a nice pass from Welch on a neutral zone regroup, which got us into the offensive zone,” Dugan said. “I saw an opportunity to get a shot on goal, and wound up for a slap shot that hit the far post and in the net. On the second goal, we were able to work and puck out of the corner. I took it to the net and try to make a pass to the front off the net, and it bounced off the goalie and across the goal line.”
At 5-6 on the season, and averaging just a bit over three goals per game, a solid offensive output from Dugan could give them another dimension and significantly boost their powerplay.
West Chester will try to get back to the .500 mark next Friday at 7 p.m. when they take on Lebanon Valley College on the road at Hershey Park Arena.
Kenny Ayres is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with a journalism minor. He can be reached at KA739433@wcupa.edu.

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