The No. 6-ranked Geneseo Ice Knights extended their winning streak to four last weekend, beating SUNYAC opponents SUNY Fredonia and Buffalo State thanks in large part to special teams contributions.
Special teams are designed to kill penalties when the team is down a player or score goals on power plays when the team is up a player. "Special teams is going to win or lose you hockey games," said assistant coach Kris Heeres. "Guys had to lay everything on the line to get those four points."
On Friday, Geneseo came from behind to beat Fredonia 2-1. Fredonia took advantage of Geneseo's offbeat play and took a 1-0 lead early in the second.
"We didn't have our usual energy," senior captain Mike Forgione said. "But we dug down and got it done as a team."
In the third period, Geneseo tied the game during a four-on-four situation. Junior Jonathan Redlick broke out on a two-on-two with freshman Rich Manley; both defenders converged on Redlick as he passed to Manley who scored the goal.
"I was really surprised they all decided to crash on me," Redlick said. "It was a big goal [and] it really got us going."
Redlick soon got his own goal midway through the third period to give Geneseo the lead for good. Sophomore Adrian Rubeniuk made 26 saves, including a diving save off a rebound in the last few seconds to secure the win.
On Saturday, Geneseo defeated Buffalo State 3-2, scoring all of its goals in the second period. Geneseo opened the period during a five-on-three power play and freshman Zach Vit and Redlick each scored a power play goal in the first 90 seconds of the period. The Bengals responded and tied the game at two; junior Danny Scagnelli scored a power play goal late in the second on assists from Vit and Redlick.
Vit and Redlick finished the weekend with four points between the two of them, and their line alongside Manley was on the ice during all five goals of the weekend.
"We know we have the right amount of skill and we are having fun," said Redlick about his stockier teammates. "I feel small next to them; they are so big. I tell them to use their bodies. Nobody should be able to take the puck away."
"When they are rolling like that it's huge and it really brings everyone else up," Heeres said.
On the weekend Geneseo was 12 for 12 on the penalty kill and four for 11 on the power play; both are outstanding percentages.
"Our [penalty kill] was essential," Forgione said. "Guys were willing to pay the price to win big games."
The Ice Knights are now 15-5-2 on the season and hold a five-point lead for second place in the SUNYAC and a first round bye. They host SUNY Brockport Friday night at 7 p.m. for Senior Night.