The No. 5 ranked Geneseo Ice Knights skated to their first victory on Friday Oct. 28 in their game opener against the Nazareth Golden Flyers. The Knights endured some penalty trouble throughout the contest, but overcame adversity to edge out the Golden Flyers 3-2. Sophomore forward Arthur Gordon tallied a goal and an assist, while sophomore goalie Devin McDonald stopped 21 of 23 shots on goal.
“I thought that it was going to be a sloppy first period and that we’d get better as the game went on and that’s exactly what we did,” head coach Chris Schultz said. “I thought our second period was pretty good, though the new initiatives from the officials stifled the third period for both teams a bit, given the large amount of special teams play.”
Senior forward Jack Ceglarski scored first on the Ice Knights’ season on a 5-on-3 power play opportunity 8:53 into the second period. As the penalties continued for both teams, a pair of shorthanded goals scored by Nazareth sophomore forward Brad Pizzey and Gordon kept the Ice Knights ahead by one.
With a minute left in the second, senior forward Trevor Hills scored off of a pass in the center by senior forward Stephen Collins and put Geneseo in a strong 3-1 lead heading into the final period of play. The Ice Knights held onto their lead despite penalty trouble late in the third to squeeze by Nazareth 3-2.
Despite a strong showing by the first-years of Geneseo—as the Ice Knights outshot Nazareth 35-23—the big story of the night was the unusually high amount of penalties for both teams.
“I chalk [the penalties] up to officials making a point to call a new standard,” Schultz said. “I think we’re going to be at the mercy of the officials for a while in terms of how they call a game—that’s going to be a big thing.”
As of late, officials in college hockey intend to enforce certain areas of gameplay, mainly involving interference, hooking and other obstruction penalties that negate an advantage gained by a player in terms of skill or team play.
“The coaches [in Division III] are trying to get together and revisit what the mandate has been,” Schultz said. “The coaches are trying to stand up and get a movement going to try to get our [Division III] game back. Right now, going to a game that has 18 minor penalties is not fun to go to. We’re looking out for our fans and the fun that our players have playing hockey, and it’s just not fun when the whistle is constantly blowing. If Division I wants to do it, great, but Division III doesn’t want it.”
The Ice Knights return home on Friday Nov. 4 to host the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons at 7 p.m. in their first SUNYAC conference game of the year. They then find themselves facing the No. 12-ranked SUNY Oswego Lakers—who are coming off of a strong opening weekend, where they defeated the Elmira Soaring Eagles 7-1 and 6-3—on Saturday Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. at Oswego.