After defeating Buffalo State College 2-0 in a semifinal matchup on Saturday March 1, the Geneseo men’s hockey team is heading to its first SUNYAC championship since the 2005-06 season. The first period remained scoreless, in which Geneseo outshot the Bengals 16-9. The Ice Knights opened the scoring early in the second with a goal from senior forward Jonathan Sucese. After first-year forward Connor Anthoine tried wrapping the puck around the back of the net past the goalie but failed, Sucese got the puck and tallied a top-shelf goal from the left circle.
Two minutes later, first-year forward Stephen Collins netted a wrist shot over the blocker of Buffalo’s goaltender to give the Ice Knights a 2-0 lead and all the offense they would need.
It was just a week earlier that Collins scored the game-winner for Geneseo against the Bengals in overtime to help lift the team to the regular season conference title.
Much of the credit for the win, and the Ice Knights’ success late in the season, is owed to sophomore goaltender Nick Horrigan, who touts a 12-1 record. This has lead Geneseo on a 6-0 streak over the last six contests.
In the game against Buffalo State, Horrigan saved all 30 of the Bengals’ shots and played outstanding in the third period to earn his first shutout of the season.
“[Horrigan] played a great game,” head coach Chris Schultz said. “He seemed to be dialed in for 60 minutes, and his rebound control was excellent.”
The Ice Knights’ penalty kill was at one of their best all season.
“We played our systems well and were able to keep them off the board on two [5 on 3] opportunities,” Schultz said. One of the opportunities saw first-year forward Jack Ceglarski receive a five-minute major penalty and a dismissal from the game.
The team now looks forward to Saturday March 8, when it will host SUNYAC rival SUNY Oswego for the conference title and a berth into the national tournament.
Geneseo is 2-0 against Oswego this season, dominating the Lakers 7-4 at home in late November and escaping Oswego with a 3-2 win on Valentine’s Day in a much more even matchup. Despite the two wins, however, the team is staying focused.
“We are doing all the right things to prepare for [the SUNYAC Championship],” senior co-captain Carson Schell said. He went on to add that the emphasis for the game is on Geneseo’s systems and to not overanalyze the opponent.
The Ice Knights’ most important game of the decade is scheduled for Saturday March 8 at 7 p.m.
“It is an honor to be playing this late in the season,” Schell said. “And we are enjoying every minute of it.”