The Ice Knights split their two SUNYAC home games last weekend, losing to SUNY Plattsburgh 4-3 on Friday before bouncing back against SUNY Potsdam with a 5-3 win on Saturday.
Geneseo's Friday night loss to Plattsburgh, the No. 3 team in the nation, is their fourth loss this season to a team ranked in the top five. Plattsburgh started off by scoring two power-play goals within a minute of each other late in the first period.
In the second period, the Ice Knights scored their own power-play goal as senior Dan Brown notched his team-leading 11th goal of the season. Geneseo then tied the game with just over a minute left in the period as freshman Ryan Bulach found the back of the net.
The Cardinals regained the lead just 24 seconds into the third period when they scored their third power-play goal of the game. "We made some poor decisions at times while we were killing penalties … we can't be chasing them around the ice while we are a man short," said senior captain Sebastian Panetta.
Head coach Chris Schultz agreed with Panetta's comments. "We need to avoid critical mistakes at critical times," he said.
Plattsburgh tallied their fourth goal of the game when the puck took an unfortunate bounce off Geneseo senior forward Phil Rose's stick into the back of the net. After a timeout, sophomore Clint Olson scored to put the Ice Knights within one but they were unable to get the game-tying goal. Sophomore goalie Cody Gershon had 32 saves in the loss, making a number of key stops to help keep Geneseo in the game.
Geneseo responded to Friday's loss on Saturday, defeating the Potsdam Bears, 5-3. The Ice Knights started off the scoring late in the first period when sophomore Stefan Decosse scored his seventh goal of the season. Potsdam then scored two goals early in the second period to take a 2-1 lead, but Geneseo responded on the power play as freshman Kaz Iwamoto tied the game at two.
Geneseo took the lead early in the third period when Panetta scored on a two-man advantage, but lost the lead when they allowed a shorthanded goal just 45 seconds later. The Ice Knights secured the lead for good when Olson added another power-play goal.
Brown added an insurance goal when he scored the Ice Knights' fourth power-play goal of the night just a minute later. Freshman goalie Adrian Rubeniuk stopped 37 shots in the win, making saves on three odd-man rushes late in the third period.
The difference in special teams was a huge impact in the Ice Knights' win against Potsdam. They scored four power-play goals and didn't allow a goal in Potsdam's five chances with a man advantage. Brown said the power play was so successful because "we just got some pucks to the net and finally capitalized on our chances." He added, "Our penalty kill really stepped up."
The win puts Geneseo at 4-6-0 in SUNYAC play and one point ahead of Potsdam in the standings. "It was a must win for us." Brown said.
For Geneseo to advance to the playoffs, they will need continued great play out of both Gershon and Rubeniuk. Panetta mentioned how each one has played well all year and added, "Our team is extremely confident in both of them making the big saves."
The Ice Knights will look to add another SUNYAC victory on the road Saturday when they take on the Morrisville Mustangs.