Looking to snap a two-game losing streak, Chris Pickel Jr. found himself in the right place at the right time.
Connor Grippe’s late miss caromed toward Pickel in front of the goal, as he scooped up the ground ball and fired in the game-winner with 16.1 seconds remaining as the Stony Brook men’s lacrosse team picked up a thrilling 9-8 home victory over Bryant on Saturday afternoon.
The Seawolves called timeout with the score tied at 8 with 1:17 remaining and the play went to Grippe (Setauket) before Pickel came through for the timely finish.
“As soon as I got it I was thinking shoot because there was barely any time left,” said Pickel, who scored two goals on the day. “It’s unreal to get this win at home.”
Bryant (2-4) won the ensuing faceoff and called timeout with eight seconds to go, but turned the ball over on a pass to midfield as time expired.
With Stony Brook entering America East-play in their upcoming match at Hartford on March 16, Pickel said the win would have a major impact moving forward, particularly after losing their previous two games to Sacred Heart and Marist.
“It’s something we really needed after losing two in a row and going into conference play,” Pickel said. “It’ll boost our morale in the coming weeks. We feel extremely confident; the conference is wide open.”
Mike McCannell stretched the lead to 8-5 for Stony Brook with 1:54 remaining in the third quarter, but Bryant responded with three unanswered goals over the final two quarters to tie the score and set the stage for the late-game dramatics.
Nick Beeson scored for the Bears with 5.4 seconds left in the third, Jameson Buttafuoco bounced one past Stony Brook goalkeeper Michael Bollinger - who made 16 saves - with 10:25 remaining. Marc O’Rourke knotted the score a minute later.
The victory brought Stony Brook back to the .500 mark at 3-3, which Nagle said has provided a number of lessons as they prepare for conference-play.
“It’s a great team win for our guys, especially coming off a real heart wrenching loss on Tuesday and coming out of two weeks of nothing but games,” Stony Brook coach Jim Nagle said. “To come out of this part of the season 3-3 with a lot of lessons learned, I think we’re really optimistic moving into the league season.
“Bryant is a very well-coached, gritty team. They’re physical and our guys were up to the challenge today. Hopefully they can take all the lessons into the league.”
The Seawolves entered halftime with a 5-4 edge after Pickel spun to his left and sent home his first goal with 9.7 seconds left in the second. Freshman midfielder Layton Harrell, who also recorded two goals for Stony Brook, followed up with his second on an assist from Walsh with 7:37 left in the third, extending Stony Brook’s lead to 6-4.
“It was really about staying composed and staying tough,” Harrell said. “When we stay together and remain unselfish, everything comes together in the end.”