The Geneseo Ice Knights open their season this weekend with two home games against Neumann University. The first game is Friday at 7 p.m.; the second is on Saturday at 4 p.m.
Last year the Ice Knights finished their season with a record of 13-10-2 and finished fourth in the SUNYAC at 9-6-1. They had a strong finish to the season, going 6-0-1 in their last seven games after being banned from postseason play and ended the year with a win over No. 1 ranked Oswego. The Ice Knights are hoping that their stunning finish from last year can carry over into this season.
"We have high expectations," junior defenseman and co-captain Jimmy Powers said. "We know we can win and we want to win every game."
"The important thing that happened at the end of last year was that we learned how to win," head coach Chris Schultz said.
Senior forward and co-captain Mike Forgione agreed. "The biggest part of that was how much the guys came together for another," he said. "It raises our expectations and it shows what we're capable of in the face of adversity."
The Ice Knights are also returning two strong goalies this season: junior Cory Gershon and sophomore Adrian Rubeniuk. Each had a winning percentage of over .500 and a save percentage exceeding .900 last season, and both played extremely well down the stretch.
"There's never been a great hockey team without a great goalie, and we have two," Forgione said.
"We're a defensive based team with really strong goalies," Powers said. He added that, in order to protect Gershon and Rubeniuk, it is vital for him and the other defensemen to keep shots to the outside and not allow the opponents to get rebounds in front of the net.
Schultz said he would determine playing time in net on a day-by-day basis and added, "If one guy is playing better I'm going to go with the guy that's hot." He expressed his confidence in both Gershon and Rubeniuk and said he believes each has All-SUNYAC potential.
Another strength of the Ice Knights is the team's depth at forward. Schultz said he believes that despite graduating Dan Brown, last year's leading goal scorer, it will not be just two or three players who score most of the points this year.
"We have four lines capable of putting pucks in the net," Schultz said. "We're as deep as we've ever been. We'll have scoring by committee."
"The depth raises our competition level every day at practice," Forgione said. "We're better as a team because every day at practice guys are playing for spots."
The Ice Knights open SUNYAC play next weekend, with two home games against perennial powerhouses Plattsburgh and Potsdam.