It can be tough for teams to play away from home. It can be even tougher to do that twice in one weekend, but that’s what the Geneseo Ice Knights had to do on Friday Jan. 30 and Saturday Jan. 31. Geneseo fell to SUNY Potsdam 1-0 and topped SUNY Plattsburgh 3-2. The five-hour first leg of the road trip to the North Country got off to an inauspicious start.
Driving through snow on two-lane highways aside, the Ice Knights’ first stop in Potsdam was made into a goaltending showcase by Potsdam’s junior goalie Jon Hall, whose shutout performance came with a stupendous 53 saves. The Ice Knights found themselves unable to beat the quick glove-hand of Hall, who never once seemed flustered despite a near-constant onslaught of offensive pressure on every shift put forward by head coach Chris Schultz.
Assistant coach Mitch Stephens was quick to dismiss the notion that the distance traveled had any significant influence on the Ice Knights’ offense following the final whistle. “This is something we’ve gotten used to,” he said. “Our trips to Adrian [College, in Michigan] and Neumann [University, close to Philadelphia] were just as long, if not longer.”
Whatever the cause, Hall’s season versus the Ice Knights will end with two victories, 82 saves with just a single goal allowed and one very befuddled offense. The loss to Potsdam, however, did not discourage Stephens. “Everything we did out there was good—sometimes a guy has your number and gets the job done,” he said.
To give an idea of just how Plattsburgh received the Ice Knights, one doesn’t need to look much further than the third period of the contest. Following two unanswered goals to tie the game for the Knights, sophomore forward Jack Ceglarski found himself being handed down what might have otherwise been a momentum-killing five-minute major penalty. In what could be called a series of unforced errors, the Cardinals managed to rack up two penalties in 10 seconds, largely diffusing the penalty. This set up junior forward David Ripple’s second goal of the evening, giving the Ice Knights a permanent 3-2 lead and their first victory in Plattsburgh since the 2006-2007 season.
In the tunnel before getting on the bus, members of the coaching staff seemed at ease—smiles all around. As the bus filled, laughter followed. Dogged by expectations of the past year, the Ice Knights have finally found themselves a new sort of swagger—road warriors, owners of a 6-2-2 record away from home.
The Ice Knights’ victory allowed them to remain in third place in the SUNYAC standings. Ahead of them they have a three-game home stand that will last the next two weeks, featuring SUNY Brockport, SUNY Cortland and the fearsome SUNY Oswego Lakers.