The Geneseo Ice Knights opened their first play of the season against Nazareth College, splitting a pair of games.
Going into the weekend, the Ice Knights’ plan wasn’t to win both games or play hard like in a championship, but to slow down and take time to look at the first-years.
All but two first-years saw playing time. In the season opener, six first-year players made the lineup in the 3-2 overtime loss to the Golden Flyers, while seven made the lineup in the Oct. 20 rematch.
Schultz credited first-years, especially Nate Brown, for solid defense.
“I think Brown especially has been outstanding for his first two games in college hockey,” Schultz said. “He has stepped in, and I think he’s one of our best defenders on the ice.”
Schultz also recognized first-year Tyler Brickler as an “elite player” who “might not light it up point-wise, but he’s going to be all over the ice all the time.”
Brickler – who transferred to Geneseo this year from University of Massachusetts-Lowell – tallied his first assist alongside junior Zachary Vit to help junior Rich Manley score in the second game of the series.
With about seven minutes left in the game, Brickler added a goal of his own from sophomore Jack Caradonna and Manley that became the game winner.
While the coaching staff kept an eye on the first-year players, the veterans helped claim the win. Senior Adrian Rubeniuk made 21 saves in goal, allowing just one through at 19 minutes, 21 seconds.
Schultz said he’s still uncertain about the goalie rotation and will have to take a look at first-year Nick Horrigan and see what he can do in the net; however, for the time being, Schultz said he is confident in Rubeniuk.
“I’m leaning toward giving [Rubeniuk] the bulk of the load and having [sophomore Bryan]Haude and Horrigan ready in case something were to happen.”
Haude tallied 20 saves in goal and allowed three in the overtime loss. On offense, senior Corbin Rosmarin scored a pair of goals from sophomore linemate Justin Scharfe.
Scharfe ended his 2011-12 season as one of the better Ice Knights, according to Schultz, and this season the coaching staff looks to him for strong performance.
“I think he’s a future All-SUNYAC player, in my opinion,” Schultz said.
The Ice Knights will play against conference competition at SUNY Fredonia and Buffalo State College on Friday Oct. 26 and Saturday Oct. 27, respectively.