Ice Knights Preview: New leadership style could propel Geneseo

Following a 23-7 season and a trip to the Division III Frozen Four, the Geneseo hockey team is ready to take the ice again for the 2014-15 season. Head coach Chris Schultz and his staff will look to once again make it back to the SUNYAC conference finals, as well as the NCAA tournament. The team will institute a new style of leadership this year, as it will differentiate its senior captains for home and away games. Senior captain defender Jack Caradonna will split his duties with senior forwards Zach Martin and Ryan Stanimir on the road, and senior forwards Tyler Brickler and Justin Scharfe at home.

“I wasn’t crazy about the idea at first,” Schultz said. “[But] after seeing a couple of professional teams doing it, I thought it would be a good idea.”

The Ice Knights are trying not to let last year’s success allow them to stay content in their work ethic.

“We’re going to play in the moment, get the little things right and build off of that,” Schultz said. “We’re going to take it game by game.”

This strategy will allow the Ice Knights to stay focused in their efforts of getting to a championship, while not allowing last year’s trip to the Frozen Four add pressure on the team.

Schultz has surrounded himself with Geneseo alumni on his staff. He called himself “extremely blessed” to be able to work with them.

“I love being around this coaching staff,” Schultz said. He also noted that the group is good friends outside of the rink. Schultz is the kind of coach who uses his quiet demeanor and expertise of the game to allow his team to truly support his system. Schultz became only the seventh SUNYAC coach of all time to win 100 games last season, and he and his staff will look to continue to break records as they coach their team to SUNYAC championship.

During the preseason, Schultz and his staff noticed how ready their team was on the very first day of practice. “The efficiency of how we practiced was incredible,” Schultz said. “The players were efficient, crisp and had great hockey IQ.” The Ice Knights have focused their preseason practices on system play and player development as they look to master the system that Schultz and his staff have created.

Schultz not only wants his team to be excellent on the ice, but off it as well. “I believe our guys are under the microscope here,” he said. “We just want to be good guys.”

By serving others around the campus and community by holding youth hockey events where the players participate with youth players, they are able to give back to future players of the sport they love.

With players that are ready to play after embracing a system that proved successful last year, the Ice Knights will look for a fast start out of the gate to open the season. They will open up their 2014-2015 campaign on the road at Morrisville State College on Friday Oct. 31. Their home opener will be against SUNY Potsdam on Nov. 7.