The Geneseo men’s ice hockey team had a turbulent weekend against conference opponents SUNY Oswego and SUNY Cortland on Friday Feb. 9 and Saturday Feb. 10, respectively. The Ice Knights split the games with a 4-2 loss to Oswego and a 6-1 win against Cortland.
Much of that turmoil was a result of the first period of play against top conference team Oswego; when the Ice Knights found themselves down three goals.
The lopsided start left the coaches and players without an explanation.
“I don’t have an answer for it. We were all kind of miffed as to why we competed that way in the first [period],” head coach Chris Schultz said.
The Ice Knights’ level of play increased dramatically and the men outplayed their opponent for the remaining two periods. Holding the Lakers to just 14 total shots and cutting the lead to one goal with two minutes remaining would not be enough to salvage a tie or a win, as the Lakers dumped a puck into the Ice Knights’ empty net with just 19 seconds remaining.
The loss to Oswego was discouraging, but the team felt the game would have been theirs to win if not for their lapse of concentration in the first period.
“We’ve come back from deficits like that before, we felt like we were going to win that game the entire time,” junior defenseman Mitch Ferguson said.
The team would bounce back from the tough loss with a 6-1 rout over Cortland the following night. It was a return to normal for a team used to finding the back of the net on a consistent basis. Junior forward Arthur Gordon led the Ice Knights with two goals on the night, and his coach was quick to commend him on his recent play.
“In the last four or five games, he’s starting to become more of a force,” Schultz said. “Having a guy like him come into his own this time of year is going to really help our team.”
The defense once again played lights out, allowing just 11 shots throughout the game. The team gave up only 25 shots in total over the weekend. The team has been strong defensively and this is a product of hard work from both defensemen and forwards.
“We put a big emphasis on defense first,” Ferguson said. “Our forwards have really bought in lately that if we’re going to score goals, it starts in the defensive zone.”
The Ice Knights will have to continue that defensive success if they hope to make a long run into the postseason.
Geneseo holds the second spot in the SUNYAC standings with an overall record of 16-5-3 and a conference record of 9-3-3. The second spot will guarantee the Ice Knights a home playoff game, but should they win that there is a chance they will have to return to Oswego for the SUNYAC finals. The Lakers have the top seed locked up along with home ice advantage.
The Ice Knights have just one regular season matchup remaining, a home game against conference opponent SUNY Brockport on Saturday Feb. 17.