Checking from behind can be punished with a two-minute penalty or a five-minute major penalty.
On Saturday Feb. 23 the call cost the Ice Knights their SUNYAC championship run, leaving Geneseo with a 17-9-1 overall record for the 2012-13 season.
Thirty seconds into the third period, with the Knights trailing the SUNY Plattsburgh Cardinals 2-1, junior captain Carson Schell went to throw a check on Cardinals senior Jared Docking. Docking spun toward the wall, taking Schell’s shoulder in the back and drawing a major penalty on Schell, along with a game misconduct.
“I thought the Schell hit was a textbook two-minute penalty,” head coach Chris Schultz said, who earned SUNYAC Ice Hockey Coach of the Year. “I expect those quality officials to be able to make the right call and in this case they did not. It was a determining factor in the biggest game of the year.”
Geneseo later protested a similar hit on Ice Knights’ junior Garry Childerhose, a hit that did not draw a call.
The Cardinals scored twice on a power play to put the Ice Knights away. Sophomore Mark Constantine’s drive from the right point beat Geneseo sophomore goalie Bryan Haude over the left shoulder 20 seconds into the powerplay.
Two and a half minutes later, sophomore Alex Brenton crisscrossed with sophomore Alex Jensen, freeing Jensen up for a wrist shot from the left faceoff dot that gave the Cardinals a three-goal lead.
First-year Connor Gorman’s unassisted empty netter with 43 seconds remaining in the game sealed the 5-1 win for Plattsburgh.
The Ice Knights carried the play through a scoreless first period, outshooting the Cardinals 11-9 in the first 20 minutes. The forecheck also gave the Cardinals a difficult time breaking through their own zone. In the second, the Knights were a different team, stemming from a bad bounce.
“Goals create momentum,” Schultz said. “We had great momentum in the first and did not capitalize,” noting the solid play of Cardinals’ junior goalie Matthieu Cadieux, who made 22 saves in the win.
The Cardinals found their momentum when first-year Dillan Fox opened the scoring 30 seconds into the second, his centering pass from behind the net banking off a Geneseo skate and through Haude.
Docking would tack onto that lead later in the period when he won a foot race to a puck in the Geneseo zone and drove to the Geneseo net. First-year Alex Lubczuk harassed Docking from behind, but Docking managed to steer the puck on goal with one arm. The puck slid through the feet of Haude.
Senior Kaz Iwamoto found a loose rebound in the crease to pull the Ice Knights to 2-1, but that was the closest margin Geneseo saw. It was the 16th and final goal of Iwamoto’s collegiate career.
Other Ice Knights graduating seniors include defensemen Blake O’Connor, Colin de Jersey and Brandon Angotti, forwards Corbin Rosmarin, Ryan Bulach and Nick Ryan and goalie Adrian Rubeniuk.
Rubeniuk finishes as one of the most successful goaltenders in Geneseo history, ranking second all-time in save percentage.
“The seniors will leave a large void for sure,” Schultz said. “They are great players, great teammates, and great leaders. I'm personally going to really miss these guys.”