Ice Knights focus on present games to ensure future success for post season

Junior goaltender Devin McDonald high fives teammate sophomore forward Tyson Empey during the game on Saturday Jan. 20 against SUNY Fredonia. The men demonstrated their talent in front of their home crowd as they defeated the Blue Devils 4-1. (Theo Liu/assoc. photo editor)

The Geneseo Ice Knights continue to improve and are moving closer to reaching the high standards they have set for themselves. 

The team played well on Friday Jan. 19 against Buffalo State and again on Saturday Jan. 20 against SUNY Fredonia. The team seems to be hitting its stride and is 4-0-1 in its last five games, including the games from this past weekend.

The first game of the weekend at Buffalo State resulted in a 1-1 tie. 

The Ice Knights fought hard in a surprisingly low scoring match. The team’s lone goal was scored in the first period by sophomore forward David Szmyd. The stars of the game, however, were the goaltenders—junior Devin McDonald for the Ice Knights and senior Ian Sylves for Buffalo State.

“I think both goalkeepers stood tall and made a lot of big saves when they needed to,” Ice Knight’s head coach Chris Schultz said. 

McDonald has been playing excellently as of late, despite some struggles earlier in the season. The Ice Knights need stronger play from him if they want to succeed in the playoffs.

Despite having a strong game, some of the men felt they could have done more to win. The team failed to score on a five-minute major penalty with less than eight minutes to go in the third period. 

“I definitely think we missed some opportunities late in the game,” sophomore forward Andrew Romano said. “That power play at the end is definitely a place where we need to cash in.”

Although the game resulted in a tie, Geneseo continued to play well the following night against Fredonia, beating the team 4-1. 

The offense was clicking and four different players scored goals. The Ice Knights have a surplus of talent at the forward position, which contributes to the balanced attack. 

“Our forwards are talented and they know how to create offense and I think that’s why we get a lot of shots on goal,” Schultz said. 

As a whole, the Ice Knights are scoring an average of just over four goals per game and seven different players have five goals or more. Their offense is built on a team effort and does not sit solely on the shoulders of any one player.

The Ice Knight coaches and players are pleased with the team’s advancements thus far this season, however, they believe there is more work to be done. 

“I think we’re definitely on the right path to playing our best hockey, but I wouldn’t say we’re at our best yet,” Romano said.

The team believes they will be able to continue on far into the post season this year, but despite their recent success and lofty goals for the rest of the season, nobody is looking ahead. The men realize they will only accomplish their goals by taking it one game at a time. 

“Right now, we’re focused on [SUNY] Potsdam, and that’s our only focus,” Schultz said. The men will travel up north to challenge Potsdam on Friday Jan. 26 and SUNY Plattsburgh on Saturday Jan. 27.

If the Ice Knights continue to avoid complacency, they can certainly improve on their 12-4-2 record and make a run at the SUNYAC title, it would be the first step toward much bigger things for this team.