The Ice Knights responded to their one-point loss at SUNY Oswego on Jan. 26 with back-to-back wins on Feb. 1 and 2 against SUNY Brockport and SUNY Canton, respectively, at the Ira S. Wilson Ice Arena.
The Golden Eagles rode into town with a 4-7-1 record in SUNYAC play, but with history on their side. Despite not finishing with a conference record better than .500 since 2008-09, the Eagles won three of their last four visits to Geneseo.
The Ice Knights, currently in second place and only a point behind Oswego, put those ghosts behind them with a solid outing from sophomore goaltender Bryan Haude, who won in Brockport earlier this season for the first shutout of his college career.
On this night, Haude was nearly just as good, stopping 25 of 26 shots for his sixth win of the year.
The Ice Knights got on the board just 4 minutes, 49 seconds into the first period when junior Garry Childerhose, playing his first game since Jan. 12, found a loose puck in the slot and backhanded it past Brockport first-year goaltender Jared Lockhurst. The power-play goal was the first of Childerhose’s college career.
Brockport responded a minute and 22 seconds later with a power-play goal of its own, with first-year James Ryan’s sharp-angled wrist shot from below the left circle beating Haude over the left shoulder. Geneseo would strike back once more in the first with first-year Tyler Brickler’s eighth of the season.
The second period’s run-and-gun style challenged both Haude and Lockhurst, with Lockhurst making 20 saves and Haude stopping 18 shots. The score remained 2-1 heading into the third period when the Geneseo forecheck took over.
First-year Alex Lubczuk would add to the Ice Knights’ lead with a wrist shot from the left point, his second of the season. Lubczuk had been benched at the end of the first period and into the early second after taking two penalties back-to-back, first an elbowing call and then a tripping call as soon as he emerged from the box.
“[Assistant coach Craig Dahl] sat him down for a bit to get the message across to a young kid and he responded the right way and scored a big goal for us in the third,” assistant coach Kris Heeres said.
Geneseo dominated possession time in the third, wearing down a tired Brockport team and grinding out a 3-1 win.
The Ice Knights had a bit more trouble the following night with an independent program, Canton, but pulled out a 5-3 win. Canton hopes to join SUNYAC in the next couple of years and made a strong case, taking the nation’s No. 14-ranked team down to the wire.
Geneseo pulled away with goals from first-year Devon Rice, junior Zach Vit, two from senior Ryan Bulach and an empty netter from senior Corbin Rosmarin.
Geneseo came from behind twice for senior goalie Adrian Rubeniuk’s seventh win.
The Knights head to the North Country visiting No. 9 SUNY Plattsburgh on Feb. 8 and SUNY Potsdam on Feb. 9.