Sudden death isn’t often a situation you see outside of sports. It’s an unforgiving scenario that places undue prominence on a singular, one-off performance that might not be indicative of true talent. That said, it’s extremely exciting and nobody would ever turn it down as a spectator. That’s the way the SUNYAC Tournament is set up—one loss and you’re out.
It’s the sudden-death nature of this season that allows us to, literally enough, throw all of that past performance out. Doing so allows us to focus on what really matters for those of us who are truly sports obsessives: the tenacity exhibited by the players on ice, the accelerated pace of the game and the possibility of contending for a spot in the proverbial big dance, the NCAA Tournament.
Unfortunately for the Ice Knights, it seemed that the championship run was not meant to be, falling to SUNY Brockport 6-4.
Never once taking the lead, the Ice Knights were befuddled by a Golden Eagle offense that only mustered 23 shots to Geneseo’s 63. Coming off of a less than stellar performance at Buffalo State, senior goaltender Nick Horrigan allowed five of the six goals over 58 minutes of play, making for 9 goals over his last two games.
Fans who made the trip to the Ira S. Wilson Ice Arena were given a little hope late in the third period as senior forward Ryan Stanimir closed the deficit to 5-4 despite being on the penalty kill. An empty-net goal by Brockport junior forward Jeremy DeFazio put to bed any hope of a comeback. Dedicated as they ever were, the crowd did not begin to file out until the closing minutes; cheering their Ice Knights even as they fell further behind.
Other remaining contenders for the SUNYAC title are Buffalo State—a team that defeated SUNY Potsdam 6-2—regular-season SUNYAC champion SUNY Plattsburgh and second seeded SUNY Oswego. The winner of the tournament will get an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament, with the possibility of an at-large bid being handed down for the runner-up.
This season will go down as a disappointment for the Ice Knights. Coming off an appearance in the Division III Frozen Four last year, there were high hopes for them to win a SUNYAC title. The team is losing eight seniors to graduation, so a long offseason awaits for head coach Chris Schultz and company.