Entering into any season there are always high expectations. With the 2009-10 Geneseo Ice Knights hockey team, however, there seems to be only one expectation that really matters: winning.
"Our expectation this year is to win a SUNYAC championship, and we feel like we have the team to do that," said senior Phil Rose, forward and assistant team captain.
That feeling has emanated so strongly throughout the Ice Knights' locker room that "anything less than a SUNYAC championship will be unacceptable this season," said senior Dan Brown, forward and assistant team captain. "We are putting the pressure on ourselves to win it all this season."
Last season the Ice Knights finished with a respectable 14-12-1 overall record - good enough for third in the conference and a playoff bid. In the SUNYAC playoffs, the team beat Buffalo State in overtime before falling in the semifinals to nationally ranked Oswego.
The season had the potential to be much more successful after the team got off to a torrid, nationally ranked 9-3-1 start, but they cooled off after winter break and ran into a solid Oswego team in the playoffs.
"I think the break hurt us last year," said head coach Chris Schultz, adding that he thinks the team's biggest obstacle maybe keeping a sense of urgency and rhythm throughout the whole season. "We're going to have to find a way to keep the consistency and peak at the right time."
At one point last season the Ice Knights were able to beat Oswego on the road but could not overcome SUNY Morrisville at home. That is the inconsistency that both coaches and players said will not be a hallmark of this year's team.
"If you think about taking a day off in this league you're going to lose the hockey game," Schultz said.
This year's Ice Knights, however, do not intend on taking days off, as they not only have the drive but a deep and talented roster filled with players capable and ready to shoulder the load at any given time.
"We have a team that is capable of winning a championship," said senior Sebastian Panetta, forward and team captain. "If we work harder and play smarter than our opposition every night, I expect to win a championship."
A lot can be made of expectations, but this season the Ice Knights are ready to turn those expectations into a reality and hang another championship banner in the Wilson Ice Arena. Their quest begins Oct. 23 on the road against the defending national champions, the Neumann University Knights.