Weekend wins propel Ice Knights into playoffs

It was an exciting weekend for the Geneseo Ice Knights as they finished their regular season with two SUNYAC wins, beating Buffalo State 6-3 on Friday, and outdueling Fredonia in overtime 6-5 on Saturday.

The weekend started off well with Geneseo coming out with a bang in the first period against Buffalo State - a must-win game to remain in the playoff hunt.

The Ice Knights exploded with five first period goals, including three in a four-minute span late in the period.

Senior Kevin Galan bookended the scoring with his 50th and 51st career goals - a performance that helped him secure Geneseo's Student-Athlete of the Week award. Junior Dan Brown, sophomore Michael Forgione and senior Casey Balog each tallied as well.

Though Buffalo State managed to score twice in the first 1:25 of the second period, Geneseo settled down and junior Phil Rose put the game out of reach in the last minute of the period making the score 6-2.

Despite allowing one more goal in the third, the Ice Knights stood tall in front of freshman goaltender Cory Gershon, who made 28 saves in the contest, and hung on for the 6-3 win.

With a spot in the playoffs now guaranteed, the Ice Knights traveled on Saturday to play for a first round home game against Fredonia, who was playing for their own playoff spot.

The first 57 minutes of the game were slow paced compared to the last four. Geneseo battled to a 4-3 lead at the start of third, with senior Casey Smith, sophomore Daniel Sullivan, junior Jeff MacPhee and junior Jonathan Redlick all scoring for the Ice Knights. Then the fun began.

Freshman Clint Olson scored with 2:57 left to put Geneseo ahead 5-3, causing Fredonia to pull their goalie before the ensuing faceoff.

Fredonia scored 13 seconds later to cut the lead in half, then banged home the game-tier with just six seconds left, sending it to overtime.

Sophomore Andrew Rygiel scored the game-winning shot just 47 seconds into overtime, banging home a hard-fought goal in front of the net.

"It was a great feeling for the team and there is no better way for us to head into the playoffs," said senior co-captain Chris Kestell of the goal and the fight down the stretch. "We were in control of our own destiny, and we came out hungry and got the job done."

For Geneseo, the win capped a climb back from the SUNYAC moors, from initially not in playoff contention to the third seed in just two weeks. The Ice Knights posted a 3-1 record in that timespan, with the only loss to 12th ranked Oswego.

Saturday's game ended Fredonia's season and secured Geneseo a home game in the first round of the SUNYAC playoffs.