The Geneseo Ice Knights finished their season with a record of 16-8-2 and the tenth spot in the latest U.S. College Hockey Online Division III poll. Their success was in large part thanks to their top-notch goaltending duo.
Junior Cory Gershon and sophomore Adrian Rubeniuk each finished the year with outstanding numbers. Gershon went 7-5-1 with a 2.25 goals against average and a .921 save percentage, and Rubeniuk earned an all-SUNYAC honorable mention with a record of 8-3-1, a 2.72 GAA and a .910 save percentage.
"They've kept us in games all year," head coach Chris Schultz said. "Gersh and Ruby are a great one-two tandem."
The pair alternated games throughout the season; Gershon would play one game and Rubeniuk would take the nod in the next.
"It actually lets you focus on one team that week," Rubeniuk said.
"Going into the weekend knowing that you have one game is definitely nice," Gershon added. "And knowing that I have somebody that's going to get a win or at least give the team a chance to win … It's nice to know to know in the back of your head."
Another reason each has had success is because the rest of the team has done an excellent job blocking shots that come their way. Almost 86 percent of these shots have been with the team on the penalty kill, a statistic that is one of the best in the country.
"They actually have a little competition between the two pairs [sophomore Ryan] Bulach and [senior Mike] Forgione versus [freshman Carson] Schell and [junior Clint] Olson," Rubeniuk said. "I'm pretty sure Bulach's leading the pack."
"Anytime the guys in front of you are willing to lay their bodies on the line, it makes you want to stop the puck even more for those guys in front of you," Gershon said. "It's nice to have guys that are willing to block them."
Though both Gershon and Rubeniuk have racked up great numbers, neither one has enjoyed a shutout. In fact, no Ice Knights goalie has had a shutout since Nov. 2, 2003.
"We've been trying everything," Gershon said. "We'll say shutout before the game and that doesn't work, and then we won't say it."
"Every intermission we try different things," Rubeniuk said.
The closest Geneseo came to a shutout this year was on Jan. 8 against Franklin Pierce University. Third string goalie, a senior, Mike Battaglia had a shutout into the last minute of the game until a Pierce player leaving the penalty box found a loose puck in the neutral zone and scored on the breakaway. Five days later, Geneseo was up 9-0 on Western New England College when Gershon allowed a goal with three minutes left.
"I thought [Battaglia] had it," Gershon said. "I've had about four games this year that I've gone in with no goals in the third and I've always given one up."
Fortunately, the pair will return next year with more opportunities to claim victory once and for all.