This past weekend the Ice Knights took on two conference opponents, SUNY Fredonia and Buffalo State, in a pair of physically-challenging contests.
Although Geneseo didn't fare well on Friday, dropping the game 5-0, they bounced back on Saturday by beating Buffalo, 3-2.
Friday night Geneseo ran into a relentless Fredonia offense. The Blue Devils outshot Geneseo, 33-22, and managed to capitalize on two of their power plays. After recording their first goal near the end of first period, Fredonia kept attacking to score three more in the second and one more in the third.
Head coach Chris Schultz said he was upset with the sickness running rampant among his athletes that may have affected their level of play. "Friday's game against Fredonia was typical of what our week of practice looked like," he said. "We have multiple injuries and numerous illnesses that made practice almost impossible to accomplish anything. At one point during the week we had practice without any goaltenders."
On Saturday, the Knights came back with a vengeance against their opponents from Buffalo. They took the lead roughly 5 minutes into the game with a goal by senior Dan Brown off of an assist by junior Michael Forgione, but then allowed Buffalo to tie it roughly a minute later.
Then with nearly 8 minutes left in the first period, the crowd erupted as freshman Kaz Iwamoto reclaimed the lead. Iwamoto said he credits his goal to an excellent effort by his teammates. "My goal on Saturday happened because of how hard my linemates worked," he said. "Dan Brown fought for the puck hard and Jake Yard gave me a great pass. I just had to put it in."
Buffalo managed to tie the game up again early in the third period, but first year Ryan Bulach scored his first collegiate goal that put the Knights up, 3-2, with 4:21 remaining. "It definitely felt good to finally put one in," Bulach said. The Knights then held off several late opportunities by the Bengals to get the win.
Freshman goalie Adrian Rubeniuk made his first Ice Knights start on Saturday and said he was very excited to get the opportunity. Rubeniuk, like many of his teammates, said he was feeling under the weather during the game.
"I felt pretty fatigued in the net, probably due to the fact that I was out of shape from not being in practice all week," he said. "I was seeing the puck very well but my rebound control was very suspect, but the defense was always there to bail me out."
Schultz said he was happy with his team's win and the ability of his players to step up. "The team realized the importance of the game for standings and leadership pulled the guys through," he said. "Adrian Rubeniuk played very well in net without practicing in over a week. Our offense was creating a lot of chances, especially in the first period and we weren't making too many critical mistakes. Realistically we could have won the game 6-2, but we didn't bury our opportunities, which can be dangerous in our conference. It was a huge win."
This Friday the Ice Knights face off against conference rival SUNY Brockport. Schultz said he is confident in his team, but acknowledges that Brockport matches up well with them.
"We owe them big for last year," he said. "This is a great rivalry and there will be passion on display for sure. Brockport is known for their work ethic. The game will come down to who wants it more. It won't come down to talent or skill. It will come down to guts and sacrifice."