The Geneseo Ice Knights improved to 5-2 overall (3-1 conference) after defeating SUNYAC opponents Plattsburgh and Potsdam at home this past weekend. Geneseo is now second in the SUNYAC standings, trailing only the Oswego Lakers who are 4-0 in the conference and 8-0 overall.
On Friday, the Ice Knights played the Plattsburgh Cardinals in a rematch of last year's SUNYAC championship game. A perennial SUNYAC powerhouse, the Cardinals came into the game on an uncharacteristic three-game losing streak. Plattsburgh set the tone early when they scored three minutes into the game on junior goaltender Derek Jokic. Geneseo answered back seven minutes into the second period when senior Mike MacDonald scored his seventh goal of the season to tie the game at one.
The Ice Knights took advantage of several key opportunities in the third period, scoring three times on only 10 shots. The first goal came on a power play by freshman Phil Rose, the second by sophomore Sean Hayden, and the third, an empty-netter, by junior Trent Cassan.
All four goals in the game were assisted by senior assistant captain Mitch Stephens, bringing his Division III-leading assist total to 15 on the year. "He is arguably one of the top three or four players in the country in Division III," said head coach Chris Schultz. "He has great creativity on the ice to go along with his excellent patience and poise. The guys know his ability and find open lanes, knowing that he will get them the puck."
On Saturday evening, the Potsdam Bears visited Geneseo looking for their first victory in the Wilson Arena in four years.
Junior Trent Cassan recorded the first tally of the game on a power play when he one-timed a shot from the left face-off circle. The Bears converted on their power play seven minutes later to tie the game at one after one period. The Ice Knights fired back in the second period when senior Mark Schwamberger blasted a slap shot past the Potsdam goalie after a faceoff, giving Geneseo a 2-1 lead.
Potsdam took advantage of another Ice Knight penalty in the third period when they scored on a rebound past Jokic. Freshman Sebastian Panetta scored the game winning power-play goal three minutes later after a great pass from the point by Stephens, who padded his season assist total to 16. Jokic stopped fourteen shots in the third period alone to give him his second win of the weekend. Schultz noted, "He has gained a lot of confidence in net and he hasn't even reached his full potential. When that happens, he is going to be one of, if not the best goaltender in the conference."
The Ice Knights will finish up their ten game homestand this weekend when they host Brockport on Friday and the ECAC Northeast Division-leading Wentworth Leopards on Saturday, both at 7 p.m. Schultz added, "Brockport is a blue-collar, hardworking team that is running on a confidence high. We can't take them lightly."