Ice Knights advance to SUNYAC semifinals

With a 2-0 win over SUNY Potsdam and a 3-3 tie against SUNY Plattsburgh on Friday Feb. 19 and Saturday Feb. 20 respectively, the Ice Knights have procured a third place standing in the SUNYAC in the regular season. The team will host their first playoff game on Wednesday Feb. 24 against the sixth seeded Potsdam Bears.

The first game of the weekend against Potsdam was an absolute thriller. After one period of play, both teams clocked 10 shots on goal, 11 faceoff wins apiece and had the same number of power play opportunities. The second period saw the Bears take the lead in terms of shots on goal and scoring opportunities. Each team was presented with two power plays apiece and the Bears started the third and final period a man up due to a penalty seconds before the end of the second. 

The Bears outshot the Ice Knights in the third period, but senior forward AJ Sgaraglio lifted the Ice Knights into the lead on a top-shelf backhand shot with only 3:05 left to play in regulation. The Ice Knights would score again with just 1:54 left on a dynamic shot from junior defenseman Derek Stahl which was deflected on target by first-year forward Anthony Marra.

First-year goaltender Devin McDonald was the star of the night, however, tallying his second career shutout as an Ice Knight. McDonald faced and stopped all 36 shots that came his way to keep the Ice Knights in the game.

The following night found Geneseo playing against the third ranked team in the nation and first seed in the SUNYAC: the Plattsburgh Cardinals. Senior defenseman Matt Solomon put the Ice Knights on the board first with a power play goal 11:10 into first period. The score was tied just 18 seconds later as Plattsburgh found their first tally of the night. Junior forward and points leader Stephen Collins put Geneseo back on top with 6:31 remaining, but the Cardinals answered again at 3:15 to close out the first period with the score tied at 2-2.

The second period was full of fast-paced action, but the Cardinals secured the lead going into the final period off of a goal just 27 seconds before the buzzer. The Ice Knights struck early into the third period, however, with sophomore defenseman Pat Condon netting his third goal of the season 36 seconds into the final period to force an overtime that resulted in a tie.

The Ice Knights kept pace with the Cardinals for the majority of the contest, but found themselves heavily outshot in the third period—14-7—for a total game tally of 36-25 in favor of Plattsburgh. McDonald showed up huge with 33 saves.

With the three points gained over the weekend, the Ice Knights didn’t hold onto their second seed position going into playoffs. They will, however, get a home game against a team that they have beaten twice with season: Potsdam.

With junior forward Trevor Hills not playing on Friday Feb. 19 against the Bears, Geneseo can expect his return this Wednesday Feb. 24 to make things go more smoothly.

If the Ice Knights defeat the Bears, the team will look forward to playing the Buffalo State College Bengals on Saturday Feb. 27. The Bengals are the only team to have beaten the Ice Knights in conference this season. The puck drops at 7 p.m. for all SUNYAC playoff contests.