Editor's note: Each week for the remainder of the team's season, Geneseo hockey coach Chris Schultz will provide The Lamron with a unique inside look at the Ice Knights, including in-depth analysis of games, injuries, practice and other day-to-day intricacies.
If Charles Dickens wanted to write a book on The Ice Knights' weekend, he would entitle it "A Tale of Two Evenings."
On Friday evening, our team came out with good energy and applied sufficient pressure on the Buffalo State defense and goaltender but was unable to find the back of the net when we needed the big goal. A few point-blank opportunities as well as two back-door opportunities in the first period could have put us in a great situation to win a very important hockey game. However, hockey is a game that has numerous shifts in momentum and Buffalo State's goaltender gave them just that. The Bengals fed off the big save and were able to use that momentum to score some goals of their own.
On Saturday evening, we played at an elevated level of intensity against Fredonia and played perhaps our best period of hockey in the second stanza. Key saves and good, clean physical hockey opened up passing lanes for us. Matt Cyr and Dan Brown were able to attack the scoring areas and gave the team a much needed offensive push by scoring two goals apiece.
The 4-3 win versus Fredonia was a huge win for playoff implications, but more importantly, we were able to capitalize on our power-play opportunities. The power play has been quite anemic this year, unlike in years past. The college hockey game is centered around special teams. On an average night, 25 out of 60 minutes is played either with the man advantage or disadvantage. In order to be at the top, teams must have reliable special teams. If you were to look at the special teams percentages of our nation's best, you will find that power plays are effective 25 percent of the time and penalty kill units are effective at least 85 percent of the time. Our special teams are certainly a work in progress and we are determined to improve in both areas.
The Ice Knights sit in the fifth spot in the SUNYAC standings. Of the nine teams, only six will make it to playoffs. Needless to say, every game is important. We travel to Oswego and Cortland this weekend. Oswego is a perennial powerhouse in Division III hockey and Cortland has a renewed sense of energy and belief in their program.
Our non-conference schedule in January was one of the best in the country. Elmira (#1), Hobart (#8), Adrian (#10) and the U.S. National Under-18 Team were great opponents to help us prepare for the final SUNYAC stretch. The Ice Knights have maintained a positive outlook and have worked extremely hard to regain the confidence needed to win a SUNYAC championship. Our locker room has a great mix of youth and experience that will help us in our final push to playoff hockey.