The Geneseo Ice Knights continued their solid play as they headed north for games against SUNY Potsdam and SUNY Plattsburgh on Jan. 26 and Jan. 27. The team’s long road trip resulted in a 1-1 tie and a 7-4 win, respectively, as the Ice Knights pushed their streak to seven straight games without a loss.
The game against Potsdam was uncharacteristic for the Knights, who average over four goals per game. The team led for most of the game, but gave up a shorthanded breakaway goal with only five minutes left to play in the third period. Neither team was able to capitalize in the overtime period, and the game ultimately ended in a draw.
Head coach Chris Schultz credits the Potsdam team for giving them looks they had not seen before and making it difficult to produce on the offensive end.
“They had a very defensive approach,” Schultz said. “They didn’t allow us to get a good transition game going.”
The Ice Knights were disappointed with the result, but realized that they needed to execute at a higher level on the offensive end to get a win.
“We have to score more than one goal in the game to win,” junior goalie Devin McDonald said.
The team understands that their identity lies in their offensive talent and looked to make a change against Plattsburgh. The Ice Knights successfully accomplished this and rediscovered their usual offensive habits, scoring seven goals in a 7-4 win over the Plattsburgh Cardinals.
There were a few lineup changes from the previous night. The new line of sophomore forward Tyson Empey, junior forward Anthony Marra and sophomore forward David Szmyd accounted for three of the seven goals. Szmyd tallied two goals and Empey recorded two goals and three assists in one of his best games of the season.
“I think it worked well; it gives us a more sustained attack on the front end,” Schultz said.
With the team’s triumph after using a different lineup, it would not be unrealistic to assume the players could be grouped up again going forward.
The team was happy to see the puck finding the back of the net against Plattsburgh, because the team could not seem to find offensive opportunities the night before. The Ice Knights rely on their offensive talent to create quality shots and chances in the opposing teams end. The biggest difference from the first game of the weekend to the second was their offensive execution.
“We got a lot of shots, but more quality shots than we did against Potsdam,” McDonald said.
McDonald has been playing excellently for the Ice Knights in the net as of late. On the team’s current seven game streak without a loss, McDonald has a goals-against average of just 1.87.
“You get in a rhythm after a certain point, we’re 21 games in,” McDonald said. “The team makes it easy to play in front of them.”
The Ice Knights recent performances have put them in a solid position as the season moves closer to SUNYAC Tournament play. They currently sit at No. 3 in the SUNYACs. The high-powered offense paired with McDonald’s strong play will be a force to be reckoned with in the coming weeks.