Ice Knights fall at Brockport, prepare for SUNYAC playoffs with first-round bye

The Geneseo men's hockey team finished their regular season on the road over the weekend, falling to Brockport 2-1 on Friday. The Ice Knights (16-9-0, 10-4-0 in the conference) won four out of their last five regular season games to clinch second place in the SUNYAC.

On Friday, the Ice Knights played the Brockport Golden Eagles, who needed a win at home to make the playoffs. After a scoreless first period, Brockport scored on the power play two minutes into the second period on a shot just past junior goaltender Derek Jokic.

The Golden Eagles extended their lead in the third period on a backhander four minutes in. Geneseo was finally able to break through with five minutes left in the game when junior Mathieu Cyr assisted senior Mike MacDonald on his 14th goal of the season, a one-timer, past the Brockport goalie. The Ice Knights continued to apply pressure to the Golden Eagle defense, but were unable to score the tying goal in the final minutes.

Geneseo struggled on the normally potent power play, going zero for eight in the game. Jokic made 22 saves on 24 chances in the losing effort. "They probably worked as hard as any team who had their backs up against the wall," said head coach Chris Schultz. "This year, I don't think people gave Brockport credit for how hard of a working team they are."

The Ice Knights now prepare for the SUNYAC playoffs which have undergone rule changes this year. The playoffs now consist of a one-game series instead of the traditional best out of three game series. "It will favor upsets because if a team catches another team on an off-night, anybody can win," said Schultz. "Good teams come to play every night though, regardless of the situation. I like the playoff structure because it will enable the SUNYAC champion to be better rested for the NCAA Tournament."

Geneseo and Oswego received byes in the first round of the SUNYAC playoffs for being the top two teams. In the quarterfinals, third-seeded Plattsburgh defeated sixth-seeded Brockport 9-2, and fourth seed Buffalo State fell at home in double over time to fifth-seeded Fredonia. The Ice Knights will host Plattsburgh on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 7 p.m. at the Ira S. Wilson Ice Arena in a rematch of the past two SUNYAC championship series, both of which were won by Geneseo.

"We'll be stressing special teams, competing hard, defensive zone responsibilities and faceoffs," added Schultz. "Regardless of who we are scheduled to play, these three aspects are the most important heading into the weekend."