Ice Knights focus on Developing discipline

Sophomore forward Conlan Keenan sets up for a faceoff against the SUNY Plattsburgh Cardinals on Saturday Nov. 11. The Ice Knights had a tremendous 4-1 victory  over the Cardinals, and plan to continue this momentum as they travel to SUNY Morrisville on Friday Nov. 17. (Ellayna Fredericks/assoc. photo editor)

After their third weekend in a row of back to back games, the Geneseo Ice Knights came out on top, racking up two more victories—making their record 5-1. 

The Ice Knights defeated the SUNY Potsdam Bears 5-2 at home on Friday Nov. 10. The victory left the men satisfied, although they certainly had to be weary of their penalties. 

One of the main things that assistant coach Kris Heeres stresses to his players is discipline.

“There were a couple points where we kind of let them into the game because of discipline,” Heeres said. “But when we were out of the box and we played them five on five we played with pace, we played with tempo and we took it to them for the rest of the game.”

Though the men may have spent more time than preferred in the penalty box, they still managed to hold sturdy against the Bears. 

“We’re certainly happy with our performance, but what happens is that this can be a kind of trap game when guys are looking ahead to [our] rival Plattsburgh,” Heeres said. “So, the fact that we were able to take care of business tonight is exciting.”

The Ice Knights hosted SUNY Plattsburgh on Saturday Nov. 11, a highly anticipated game given the rivalry between the programs. Since Plattsburgh is one of the top schools in the SUNYAC, the 4-1 victory over the Cardinals was a significant moment for the team. 

Defensive strategy was key in this game—Plattsburgh is known for its strong power play. The Cardinals had five opportunities to score on a power play and were shut down each time by the Geneseo defense. 

Heeres credits the team’s success in power plays to focusing on the “little things” such as, “sacrificing the body on shots and on the wall to dig the puck out and get them out of our zone.” 

One of the key figures  to whom Heeres attributes success in the power plays to is junior goaltender Devin McDonald. 

“Penalty kill comes down to strong goal tending, McDonald is certainly one of, if not the best, goaltender in our conference,” Heeres said. “I think he’s proven that over the course of this weekend.”

The players also acknowledge that the small things contribute to their progress. 

“I feel like we’ve gotten off to a pretty good start,” junior defender Duggie Lagrone said. “We’re playing well—doing the little things right.”

While these victories are exciting and serve as morale boosters for the team, Lagrone believes that they must remain focused to maintain their success. 

Five of the six games the Knights have played have been at home, all of which have resulted in victories, therefore, it’s hard to ignore the benefits of the Geneseo fan base. 

“It’s unbelievable playing in front of our students and the people in the community,” Lagrone said.

The atmosphere of the Ira S. Wilson Ice Arena is something Heeres believes contributes significantly to the appeal of being an Ice Knight. 

“I’ve said this now for 12 years … it’s our atmosphere that continues to allow us to land the players that we do, as far as incoming recruits,” Heeres said. 

“This is a great place to play, it’s a known fact within DIII hockey nationally, and we’re going to continue to need that support as we move forward,” Heeres said. “It’s a special place to play and we owe a lot of that to our fan base—from the Blue Crew to the pep band, to the student section and the junior Ice Knights—we’re excited to play here.”

The Ice Knights do not have a home game this weekend for the first time this season—consisting of two back to back games at SUNY Morrisville on Friday Nov. 17 and Saturday Nov. 18.