The Ice Knights rode into SUNY Oswego for a first place showdown on Saturday Jan. 26, firing on all cylinders.
Winning 10 of their previous 11 games and coming off a 10-3 thumping of SUNY Cortland on Friday Jan. 25, the Ice Knights were primed to avenge their embarrassing 10-1 loss to the Lakers at the Ira S. Wilson Ice Arena on Nov. 3. This Ice Knights team was far different than that squad, now with scoring four lines deep, as they demonstrated in Cortland with a hat trick from first-year Tyler Brickler, two goals from first-year standout David Ripple and two goals for senior Colin de Jersey.
The Ice Knights came as prepared as they could ever be to face the nation’s then No. 4 ranked team, and they played that way. The Ice Knights haven’t won in Oswego since 2008, a drought that added both a pregame buzz to the arena and a postgame lull in the Geneseo dressing room.
The Ice Knights burst out of the gate, scoring a minute into regulation. Geneseo’s aggressive forecheck stymied the Oswego defense for much of the opening period, as the Lakers repeatedly failed with long breakout passes and spent the majority of the period in their own end. The first Laker to blink was sophomore Nick Rivait.
Rivait delayed as his forwards flew the defensive zone, then had his clearing attempt knocked down by senior Ryan Bulach. Senior Kaz Iwamoto pounced on the loose puck and pushed it to the slot for senior Corbin Rosmarin, who buried his ninth of the season. The Ice Knights were off and running.
Oswego evened the score at 11:23 of the first period when senior Paul Rodrigues’ one-timer on a five-on-three power play fluttered over the shoulder of senior goaltender Adrian Rubeniuk. Geneseo would respond in the period’s final minute, when junior Carson Schell capitalized from another defensive zone turnover for the Lakers and potted his second of the year.
Oswego came back strong in the second period after only recording five shots in the first, tallying a goal from senior Zach Josepher trailing a two-on-one after a clearing attempt hit the linesman and sent the Lakers in on a break. The play would have otherwise been a certain icing. Three minutes later, senior Luke Moodie’s centering pass bounced off senior John Whitelaw’s skate and through Rubeniuk to give the Lakers the lead heading into the third.
Geneseo found a break when Iwamoto drew a Geneseo power play with about eight minutes remaining. Rosmarin got his second of the game on a whirling backhander that ricocheted through traffic and over the line. Geneseo had gotten their bounce and tied the game.
The tie was short lived, when three minutes later junior David Titanic swung an innocent looking shot toward the net from the top of the left circle. The puck deflected off first-year Nate Brown and dipped down between Rubeniuk’s legs, off the post and in. The arena sprang back to life, and despite a final push, the Lakers survived with a 4-3 win and leapfrogged the Knights for first place in SUNYAC play.
“I thought we came out the way that we wanted to,” assistant coach Kris Heeres said. “When you hold one of the most potent offenses in the entire nation to under 20 shots you expect to win those games.”
“We know we’re right there moving forward,” Heeres added.
The Ice Knights host SUNY Brockport at 7 p.m. on Feb. 1 and SUNY Canton on at 7 p.m. on Feb. 2 at the Ira S. Wilson Ice Arena.