Just for extra theatrical punch, the Hartford winner was scored by Ryan Compitello, younger brother of Tom Compitello, one of the rocks on which SBU's recent lacrosse prominence has been built.
Tom, in fact, had provided the climax to a three-goal SBU charge that put the home team ahead, 10-9, with 7:27 to play and had SBU coach Rick Sowell thinking, "OK, we get one more goal, one more goal, maybe we can get this done."
Instead, Hartford junior Carter Bender, his team's leading scorer despite starting only eight games this season, whipped a shot past Stony Brook goalie Rob Camposa with 3:14 left for a 10-10 tie. And a long Hartford possession, apparently for naught as the clock wound down, resulted in a loose ball on the ground to the left of Camposa.
Ryan Compitello scooped it and flicked it over Camposa's right shoulder at 0:01.
It was Ryan's third goal and "a heartbreaker, to say the least," Sowell said. With only the America East champion in line for an NCAA bid, Stony Brook's year was over at 10-4. Hartford, 11-6, will learn its first-round NCAA opponent Sunday night.
"Obviously, it's a sticky situation," Tom Compitello said of the brother-against-brother inevitability. "Am I happy we lost? Not even close. Let's put it this way: I would've felt better if we won."
Still, in the handshake line, Tom embraced Ryan and told him, according to Ryan, "Great job today."
Plenty of family was in the stands, he said, parents and relatives. Ryan remembered Tom starting lacrosse when Tom was in third grade, Ryan in first, and their father volunteering to coach. They were teammates on the Hauppauge High team when Tom was a senior. Ryan briefly was recruited to join his brother at Stony Brook, but a strong pitch by Hartford and the possibility that he would play more there sent him off to Connecticut.
The fact that their teams faced off in regular-season games the past three years was not so unsettling, Ryan said. But Saturday, with the NCAA berth at stake: "It's a little different. It should be interesting to see how [his parents] will handle this. Tom's always supportive. But he was upset."
Jordan McBride, SBU's career goal-scoring leader, netted a game-high four goals on only six shots, but Hartford's Tim Fallon won the faceoff battle against Adam Rand 16-8, providing Hartford a possession advantage. And when the "other" Compitello scored at 0:01, it brought down the curtain on Stony Brook's season and expectations. Said Sowell, "Yeah, I'd say 'cruel' is an understatement."