The beginning of December was met with a plethora of storylines for the Ice Knights, including win streaks, national leaderboards, impressive milestones and team firsts. All four of these headline grabs culminated on Saturday Dec. 1, but they all began with a win against SUNY Cortland on Friday Nov. 30.
In Cortland, the Geneseo Ice Knights took to the ice without their captain, junior forward Conlon Keenan. He is not only the emotional leader of the team, but Keenan also leads the team in points with 25, so his injury took a toll on the team.
Halfway through the first period, Geneseo’s second leading scorer, junior forward Andrew Romano, opened the scoring by deflecting a shot from junior defenseman Will Campion into the back of the net. Both teams played to a 1-0 Geneseo lead until Romano extended the lead with his second goal of the game late in the third period.
The game ended soon after in favor of Geneseo, 2-0. The Knights won their seventh straight game to bring their overall record to 10-1-1 and 5-1-1 in the SUNYAC.
The next night, the Knights faced their toughest opponent of their win streak—SUNYAC rival, SUNY Oswego. The Lakers entered Saturday’s matchup ranked sixth in the nation. The Knights needed to channel their offense through someone other than Keenan, as the captain was sidelined for the second straight game.
The game began fast and physical, as Oswego headed to the penalty box only 30 seconds after the opening faceoff. Just a few seconds later, sophomore forward Dan Bosio deflected a shot from senior defenseman Duggie Lagrone for a goal.
Early in the second period, Oswego took advantage of a Geneseo change and broke out for a one-on-one breakaway with senior goalie Devin McDonald. The veteran goaltender made the initial save, then sprawled to his right to swallow up a second shot off the rebound to maintain the shutout.
Later in the period, senior forward Arthur Gordon and freshman forward Henry Cleghorn hooked up to assist Dan Bosio for his second goal of the game.
Late in the final period, Geneseo was on the powerplay for the fourth time. Senior forward Anthony Marra capitalized on a second chance opportunity he created to increase Geneseo’s lead to 3-0.
Geneseo converted on half of their powerplay opportunities Saturday and improved their powerplay percentage to 30.1 percent. The powerplay success was crucial to Geneseo’s win against Oswego.
“[Our prowess on the power play was a result of] getting traffic to the net, [Oswego’s goalie] is a very strong goalie so we had to take his eyes away,” Bosio said. “Our goals came from a tip and Marra on the rebound so creating traffic at the net was key.”
Bosio also credited the win to Geneseo’s success on the penalty kill. Geneseo killed all three of their penalties against Oswego to improve their season penalty kill percentage to 88.7 percent.
A major contributor on that penalty kill was the veteran between the pipes—McDonald. He made 17 saves on Saturday and 17 the night before in Cortland. His two pristine efforts in net equated to his fifth and sixth shutout of the year, which means he leads all of Division III hockey in that category.
“I would say this [shutout] had little more significance than the Cortland [shutout] the night before,” McDonald said about his twelfth career shutout. “Beating a top ten team at such an important part in the season was huge.”
McDonald is not the only Knight atop national leaderboards. Romano’s 19 assists are the most in DIII hockey. Also, the win was head coach Chris Shultz’s 200th and the first time Geneseo has shut out Oswego in 93 meetings.
On top of all of that, Geneseo improved to 11-1-1 while riding an eight-game win streak. The Ice Knights look to extend their win streak to a program best, nine straight wins against SUNY Brockport on Friday Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. at home in the Ira S. Wilson ice arena.