The No. 8-ranked Geneseo Ice Knights split their final two regular season games over the weekend to clinch the No. 2 seed in the SUNYAC playoffs, defeating SUNY Cortland 6-3 and losing to No. 1-ranked SUNY Oswego 7-1.
On Friday, Geneseo locked up the No. 2 seed and a first round bye in the playoffs with a victory over the Red Dragons. Geneseo fell behind 3-2 in the first even with power play goals from freshman Zach Vit and junior Jonathan Redlick.
"The first period we played a little bit sloppy," head coach Chris Schultz said. "We didn't find the loose pucks in front of our net."
"In the first period we came out pretty flat," said junior Clint Olson. "We got in the locker room and rallied the troops and we came out on all cylinders and every line started chipping in."
Geneseo's biggest setback in the period came during the first shift when freshman Rich Manley suffered an upper-body injury that could bench him for the rest of the season. Manley is third on the team in points scored, a feat all the more impressive considering he missed six games earlier in the season with a different upper-body injury.
The Ice Knights scored four goals in the second to come back and put the game away. Vit added his second goal of the game to tie the Red Dragons, and Olson found the back of the net to give Geneseo the lead for good. Senior Mike Forgione added a short-handed goal later in the period, and sophomore Ryan Bulach tallied an insurance marker.
Olson filled in on the top line with Redlick and Vit after Manley's injury, and made one goal and three assists.
"Playing with those guys makes it really easy for me," Olson said. "They do most of the work. You just have to be in the right spots at the right time."
Junior Cory Gershon responded after a tough first period and made 20 saves to pick up the win in net. Geneseo displayed its proficiency on special teams once again by scoring two power play goals, killing all seven of Cortland's power plays and even scoring a short-handed goal.
"The penalty kill has been rolling the last few games," Olson said. "On the power play we have great guys shooting the puck, and when they get the puck to the net great things happen."
On Saturday, Geneseo traveled to top-ranked Oswego and suffered a 7-1 loss. The game was tight early on and remained scoreless until Oswego took a 1-0 lead in the second.
In the third, the Lakers exploded with six goals, many on breakaways and three-on-one opportunities. Freshman Carson Schell notched his fourth goal of the year in the middle of the third, pushing the score to 4-1, but Geneseo was unable to get any closer as Oswego's top line dominated the rink. Sophomore Adrian Rubeniuk made 40 saves in the loss.
Geneseo ends the regular season with a record of 16-7-2 overall and hosts an as-yet-undeterminded competitor on Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. in the SUNYAC semifinals.