Entering last weekend, the Ice Knights had already played three games against No. 1-ranked teams this season. Saturday's 4-2 loss to No. 1 SUNY Oswego made it four, dropping Geneseo to 4-7-0 in the process.
Geneseo head coach Chris Schultz said he isn't concerned about the impact of the merciless schedule, however.
"The tough schedule will prepare us for the stretch," Schultz said in an e-mail. "Can it wear on a player's psyche? Absolutely, if the athlete or team is mentally weak. But our players knew from day one that this year's schedule is one of the toughest we've seen in a long time. Right now, we are not worried about record and the players are committed to figuring out how to put a 60-minute effort in every night."
Oswego wasn't the only blemish on Geneseo's record last weekend. The Ice Knights dropped an ill-fated 5-3 decision on the road against 5-6-0 SUNY Cortland Friday night, snapping their short-lived two-game winning streak.
Schultz said that the loss was more of a testament to the top-to-bottom strength of the SUNYAC conference than a case of looking past Cortland to No. 1 Oswego.
"I don't think there is such thing as overlooking teams anymore in our conference," Schultz said. "Anyone can beat anyone on any given night. That's why we play the game and that is why our conference is the strongest in the nation."
Senior forward Dan Brown notched a goal and an assist against the Red Dragons, and sophomore Jake Yard and freshman Kazuna Iwamoto each tallied two assists to highlight the offense in the tough-luck loss. Even the best Geneseo chances failed to find the net. Schultz pointed to numerous shots off the posts and three missed breakaways as examples of what he called "bad puck luck."
Geneseo's puck luck was no better in Saturday's game against the Lakers. Tied at two with less than nine minutes remaining, freshman goalie Adrian Rubeniuk lost his stick. Rubeniuk was unable to retrieve it before Oswego rushed into the zone and pushed the puck past the under-equipped goaltender.
Despite being outshot 37-17, the Ice Knights hung close with the Lakers for much of the contest, thanks in large part to Rubeniuk's continued stellar play in the absence of injured sophomore goalie Cory Gershon.
"Gersh [sic] will be back for the second semester," Schultz said. "Rubeniuk has done a great job in carrying the load for us. He has given us a chance to win in every game we have played."
Brown added another goal and an assist to lead the Ice Knights offense against Oswego. Senior Phil Rose scored on a 4-on-4 to give Geneseo a short-lived, 2-1 lead in the second period.
Geneseo returns home this weekend to face Western New England College on Dec. 12 at 7 p.m., followed by a Sunday matinee against Manhattanville College at 2 p.m.