The Geneseo men's hockey team traveled to SUNYAC rivals Cortland and Oswego over the weekend, winning their first game against Cortland 5-2 but dropping the second against Oswego 4-3. The Ice Knights (12-8-0, 6-3-0) now trail Oswego by six points for first place in the SUNYAC.
On Friday, the Ice Knights went on the road to play Cortland, looking to beat the Red Dragons for the seventh consecutive time. Only a minute and a half into the game, senior Mike MacDonald scored the first goal assisted by junior Mathieu Cyr and senior Tyson Terry. Cyr connected on a power-play goal of his own later in the period, his 10th of the season, giving Geneseo an early two goal lead. Cortland cut the deficit to one goal minutes later, but junior Trent Cassan scored on the power play to give Geneseo a 3-1 advantage after one period.
In the second period, Cortland scored two minutes in, but Geneseo answered back when Cassan scored his second power-play goal of the night. Cassan added an empty net goal late in the third period to complete the hat trick and seal the 5-2 victory for the Ice Knights. Junior goaltender Derek Jokic made 28 saves on 30 shots to pick up the win.
"We have stressed knowing your role and sticking to it," said head coach Chris Schultz. "When we stick to our individual roles, we perform better as a team."
On Saturday, Geneseo traveled to play the second ranked team in the nation, the Oswego Lakers, aiming to avenge a 5-4 home loss in November. Cassan powered Geneseo to another first period lead when, on the power play, he scored his 13th goal of the season. Oswego came back though, tying the game at one with only three seconds left in the first period.
The Ice Knights regained the lead early in the second period when sophomore Casey Balog scored his fifth goal of the season. The Lakers maintained their composure and once again scored in the last minute of play in the period, tying the game at two.
Early in the third period, Oswego scored twice in a span of 10 seconds to take a 4-2 advantage. The Ice Knights battled back, with Cassan adding a goal halfway through the period, but eventually came up short against the Lakers. Cassan had five goals in the two games, giving him a team-leading and career high 14 on the season.
"He has a good, hard shot and he's not afraid to put the puck on net from anywhere. That is exactly what goal scorers do," said Schultz of Cassan. "If you wait for the perfect opportunity to score a goal, odds are you won't get many goals. We need more guys like Trent to trust the fact that if they don't score on the shot, somebody will be in front of the net to finish the chance."
The Ice Knights will continue the road part of their schedule when they face off against tough SUNYAC opponents Plattsburgh and Potsdam this weekend. Schultz added, "Plattsburgh is playing very well right now, but so are we. We have guys performing better now than they have all year. Discipline, special teams, and a great team effort will get us two points."