The Geneseo men's hockey team returned home after two months on the road and defeated Fredonia 4-2 on Friday and Buffalo State 4-1 on Saturday. The Ice Knights (16-8-0, 10-3-0 in the conference) have now won five out of their last six games, including the last four, to pull within two points of Oswego for first place in the conference with one game remaining.
In front of a sellout crowd at the Wilson Arena on Friday, the Ice Knights played against the Fredonia Blue Devils, aiming to avenge a 2-1 loss at Fredonia in December. Fredonia struck first, halfway through the first period, but junior Mathieu Cyr tied the game two minutes later with his 12th goal of the season.
The game remained tied at one until the third period when freshman Dan Brown scored a power-play goal on a breakaway, his third of the season. Fredonia tied the game again when they scored a power-play goal of their own with only five minutes remaining in the game. Senior Ice Knight Mitch Stephens gave Geneseo the lead for good when his slapshot from the point blew past the Fredonia goaltender on the power play in the last minute. Stephens added another power-play goal, an empty netter, with twelve seconds remaining to give him 53 points (10 goals and 43 assists) on the season.
Geneseo clinched second place and a first round playoff bye in the SUNYAC with the win. Although Fredonia outshot Geneseo 32-26, the Ice Knights converted on their power play chances, going 3-7 in the game. Junior goaltender Derek Jokic made 30 saves on 32 chances to pick up the win.
"He has been our MVP down the stretch," said head coach Chris Schultz of Jokic. "He always makes the critical saves at crucial points in the game. He has proven himself to be the top goaltender in the SUNYAC conference."
On Saturday evening, Geneseo hosted Buffalo State, with a chance to sweep the season series from the Bengals for the first time in three years. Sophomore defensemen Chris Kestell scored the first goal, his seventh of the season, on the power play halfway through the first period. Senior defenseman Steve Sankey made the score 2-0 when he powered a slap shot by the Buffalo State goalie on a power play. Geneseo held Buffalo State to four shots on goal with stellar defense in the first period.
Buffalo State cut the deficit to one halfway through the second period, but senior Tyson Terry scored his fourth goal of the season several minutes later, with the assists going to sophomore Casey Balog and senior Steve Jordan.
In the third period, Sankey scored his second power-play goal of the night, his fourth of the season, to give Geneseo the 4-1 victory.
The Bengals failed to convert on their power play chances against the excellent Ice Knights defense, going 0-9, and were outshot by Geneseo 39-19.
"Whenever you get scoring from the defense it provides a huge boost and takes the pressure off of the forwards," said Schultz. "The defensemen as a unit played outstanding."
The Ice Knights finish the regular season when they travel to Brockport on Friday. "As a team, you want to be peaking at the end of the season," added Schultz. "We are doing that, and carrying a lot of momentum headed into the playoffs."