Ice Knights fired up after loss to Oswego, comeback against Cortland

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.

Read More

Ice Knights credit victories over SUNY Canton to strong goaltending, team effort

The Geneseo Ice Knights showed off their offense in two wins against the SUNY Canton Kangaroos on Friday Feb. 2 and Saturday Feb. 3. The team scored 14 total goals and had a 7-0 win on Friday night and a 7-1 win on Saturday night.

Read More

Ice Knights’ powerful offense solidifies team’s ranking

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.

Read More

USA women’s hockey wins in battle for equality

United States forwards Gigi Marvin and Meghan Duggan celebrate teammate forward Hannah Brandt’s goal during the third period of an International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship game, in which the women took a 5-3 victory over Finland on Monday April 3. The women feel more stability playing the game they love, as they have recently obtained greater pay equality. (Carlos Osorio/AP Photo)

Last week, on Thursday March 30, the United States women’s hockey team recorded a historic win: increased pay and support from the country’s governing body of the sport, USA Hockey. 

This contract agreement reached its conclusion after a 15-month campaign and the threat of boycotting the upcoming International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships. 

“Today reflects everyone coming together and compromising in order to reach a resolution for the betterment of the sport,” USA Hockey President Jim Smith said. “We’ll look back on this day as one of the most positive in the history of USA Hockey.”  

Under this new four-year contract, the U.S. team will be compensated approximately $70,000 per player, and that figure has the potential to increase pending success on the ice. 

In addition to the raise, this agreement also will provide more funding and support for women and girl’s hockey programs across the country. This will be achieved with the establishment of an advisory committee made up of former players, staff leaders and volunteers. 

“We are asking for a living wage and for USA Hockey to fully support its programs for women and girls and stop treating us like an afterthought,” USA captain and forward Meghan Duggan said.  

This call for equal treatment brings up broader concerns of gender equality, especially in professional sports. Due to physicality and the nature of our culture’s socialization patterns, professional sports are a male dominated field. 

“We have represented our country with dignity and deserve to be treated with fairness and respect,” Duggan said.  

Female athletes have begun speaking out, condemning the practices of institutions that do not devote enough time, coverage and resources to all-woman sports programs. This affects more than just the pro-athletes; girls and young women are much more likely to quit playing sports at the collegiate and even the high school level. 

Many attribute this to the social implications that are associated with the “ideal” woman as being one without much muscle mass or physical strength. Not recognizing the traits of successful female athletes and giving national attention to their performances leads advocates to see the pro-sports world as perpetuating these cultural stereotypes. 

It is not only women who believe in this cause. The men’s national team also reported that they would boycott the world championship games as well. Even though a resolution was reached before they played, having the men stand in support of the women showed unity. 

The players’ associations for multiple sports additionally voiced their support for the women since March 15.

The pay inequality between men and women in professional sports is not solely based on gender. Men’s sports are more popular and bring in more revenue. Their tickets and merchandise sell more and the games are well publicized. 

It is not shocking that the women demanded more than just monetary compensation; it is the hope that the advisory committee will give more attention to women’s hockey programs not only at the professional level. 

By advocating for women in sports, attendance and public interest should increase; thus, the gap between men and women’s sports will slowly get smaller. The goal to become a professional athlete in a sport you are passionate about should be available for every young player—male or female.

Ice Knights fall to Plattsburgh in semi-finals

Senior forward Stephen Collins skates to the puck as senior forward Jack Ceglarski looks to give him space. The men fell to Plattsburgh in the semi-finals of the SUNYAC tournament, bringing their 2016-17 season to an end. (Annalee Bainnson/Assoc. Photo Editor)

Geneseo’s season came to a grinding halt on Saturday Feb. 25, when the No. 14 Ice Knights fell to the No. 13 Plattsburgh State Cardinals in the semi-final round of the SUNYAC playoffs. 

Although remaining ranked within the top 15 throughout the entire season and finishing with a 17-7-3 record and a .685 win percentage, the Ice Knights do not appear to be in the discussion for an at large bid to the NCAA Tournament.

“This season, in the end, was a disappointment for us,” assistant coach Kris Heeres said. “We have a lot of talent on this team, but in games like [the SUNYACs], you can see the results if we don’t show up for a full 60 minutes.”

Geneseo traveled to Plattsburgh after narrowly losing out on the second seed of the tournament due to tiebreakers. 

“This year, there was a new tiebreaker instituted in the SUNYAC for hockey and other sports,” Heeres said. “Instead of tiebreaker by score differential against SUNYAC opponents in the regular season [to which Geneseo was +29 to Plattsburgh’s +3], it’s now record against the top team in the SUNYAC which is [No. 2] Oswego. Plattsburgh had a stronger record against them than we did, which really emphasizes that every game counts when we couldn’t close out both games against them this year.”

Failing to close out was the motif in the game against Plattsburgh when the Ice Knights entered the third period leading 2-1. The Ice Knights went on to allow four goals within the third period and ended up falling in the contest, 5-2, although the Ice Knights had a record of 15-1-2 while holding the lead after two periods against Plattsburgh’s 0-9-0 while trailing after two. 

Despite their record in such games, the Cardinals mounted an impressive four-goal comeback in the third. 

First-year forward Conlan Keenan scored both of the Ice Knights’ goals, while first-year forward Andrew Romano and sophomore forward Anthony Marra each tallied an assist in the contest. Senior goaltender Matt Leon stopped 31 of 35 sent his way, but the Ice Knights were outshot 36-20.

Although frozen at the end of the season, several Ice Knights were recognized for outstanding play. Senior forward Stephen Collins received the Herb Hammond Player of the Year award for the second year in a row in the SUNYAC conference for posting 48 points in 27 games played—19 goals, 29 assists—with two hat-tricks and nine games with three or more points. 

Receiving the SUNYAC’s Rookie of the Year award was Keenan, who’s first-year netted him a 35-point season—23 goals, 12 assists. Keenan led the Ice Knights in goals and power-play goals. 

For All-Conference teams, Collins found himself a first team honors, while Keenan and senior defensemen Derek Stahl received second team honors. 

Next year finds the Ice Knights losing a significant number of senior players, including the point’s leader Collins; captains and forwards RJ Burns and Jack Ceglarski; goaltenders Leon and Bradley Hawayek; forwards Trevor Hills and Connor Anthoine; and defensemen Cam Hampson and Matt Lee. 

While a significant gap is left by the graduating class, Geneseo has the base to create a strong team for future years. Keenan, first-year forward David Szmyd and Romano—who are Geneseo’s second, third and fourth highest scorers on the year—have incredible future potential after a strong first-year showing. 

Also in next year’s lineup are other strong contributors, such as junior defenseman Pat Condon, sophomore forwards Arthur Gordon and Marra and sophomore goaltender Devin McDonald.

“We’re going to continue to recruit strongly,” Heeres said. “We lose a tremendous senior class this year, there’s no replacing a class with this much heart. Other teams will count us out next year after losing such a strong class, but with what we’ve seen out of our younger players this year, we have high hopes for the future.”

Ice Knights enter SUNYAC as No. 3 seed

Sophomore forward Arthur Gordon takes a shot on net during a game at the Ira S. Wilson ice arena. The men have earned the No. 3 spot in the SUNYAC Tournament and look to claim another championship title. (Annalee Bainnson/Assoc. Photo Editor)

The No. 10 Ice Knights skated to a 1-1 record on the weekend of Friday Feb. 17 to close out the regular season, an impressive 16-6-3 overall. 

After a close 1-0 loss to the No. 15 SUNY Plattsburgh Cardinals and a bounce-back 8-0 blowout against the SUNY Potsdam Bears, the Ice Knights find themselves in the exact same position as last year, entering the SUNYAC Tournament as the No. 3 seed. 

The game on Friday Feb. 17 saw an impressively strong defensive game between Geneseo and Plattsburgh. The stars of the night for both teams were undoubtedly senior goaltenders Brady Rouleau and Matt Leon. 

Rouleau stopped all 26 shots the Knights sent his way for his first shutout of the season, while Leon stopped 22 of 23 for Geneseo. Both goaltenders put up impressive save after impressive save, but halfway through the second period, junior forward Matt Quilty netted the only goal of the contest in favor of the Cardinals.

“It was a strong game for both teams,” assistant coach Kris Heeres said. “Both teams came in knowing that they were fighting for second seed and it certainly showed. It was a high-level defensive game that starved both offenses for goals, which just goes to show how in control each team is in their own end at this point of the season … [in] not wanting to let up big mistakes because in playoffs it can cost you.”

The following night saw the Ice Knights rebound in impressive fashion with an 8-0 victory over the Potsdam Bears. First-year forward Conlan Keenan netted his second hat-trick of the year and gathered an assist. Senior forward Trevor Hills also contributed a four-point game with two goals and two assists, while senior forward Stephen Collins and senior defenseman Derek Stahl yielded three assists each.

Additionally, Leon put up two solid periods for the Ice Knights with 20 saves, while in 40 minutes senior goaltender Bradley Hawayek saved all 13 sent his way. Geneseo outshot the Bears 48 to 33.

The contest against the Bears also saw recognition for the graduating senior Class of 2017, which included senior forwards Jack Ceglarski, RJ Burns, Connor Anthoine, Hills and Collins; senior defensemen Cam Hampson, Stahl and Matty Lee; and senior goaltenders Leon and Hawayek. The Class of 2017 now holds the highest winning percentage at 69.54 percent with an overall record of 70-27-13 and two trips to the NCAA Frozen Four. 

“They are the most incredible group of players both on and off the ice,” Heeres said. “They’ve been in it for the highs and lows and have been giving it their all the entire way. They will be sorely missed, but at the same time we’re excited to see how successful they can continue to be. Some might choose to play professionally; others want to look into coaching opportunities. We wish them the best in everything.”

With the regular season now done, the SUNYAC playoffs will start. Geneseo hosts SUNY Brockport and SUNY Fredonia travels to Buffalo State on Wednesday Feb. 22. The Ice Knights hold home ice advantage as the No. 3 seed and are the favorites with a 2-0 record against and a higher ranking than the Golden Eagles. 

Fredonia and No. 13 Buffalo, however, looks to be the closer of the two matches on paper. Buffalo State had a stronger overall season, but have fallen into a 6-4 slump in their last 10 in comparison to Fredonia’s 7-3. Add in Fredonia’s 1-0-1 head to head against the Bengals this season and you have a recipe for a potential upset. 

From the winners of these two games, the team with the highest remaining seed will move on to the semifinals at Plattsburgh, while the lowest remaining seed will square off against No. 2 Oswego on Saturday Feb. 25. Puck drops at 7 p.m. for all contests.

Ice Knights prepare to host Potsdam, Plattsburgh

Senior forward Stephen Collins takes the puck to the net, skating by the Buffalo State Bengals defense. The Ice Knights took a 3-0 victory over the No. 12 Bengals on Saturday Feb. 11 at the Ira S. Wilson ice arena. (Annalee Bainnson/Assoc. Photo Editor)

It was a tale of two contests for the No. 6 Geneseo Knights on Friday Feb. 10 that saw a 5-1 upset at the hands of the SUNY Fredonia Blue Devils and a 3-0 shutout on Saturday Feb. 11 of the No. 13 Buffalo State Bengals. 

Despite a tough loss to the Blue Devils, the Ice Knights dug deep the next night to win an important game against the Bengals in the race for the SUNYAC conference’s No. 2 seed.

Sophomore forward Arthur Gordon scored the only tally against the Blue Devils, as the Ice Knights fell to Fredonia 5-1. The Blue Devils outshot the Knights 34 to 32 and continue their hot streak, now sitting at 9-1 in their last 10 games. 

Against the Buffalo State Bengals, the Ice Knights appeared to be a completely different team. If the loss to Fredonia had affected them, it didn’t show as the Ice Knights shut the Bengals out 3-0. 

“We played the full 60 minutes,” assistant coach Kris Heeres said. “After last night’s loss [against Fredonia], we challenged the team to show up tonight and they did.” 

Senior defenseman Derek Stahl, first-year forward Conlan Keenan and senior forward Trevor Hills each put a puck past senior goaltender Mike DeLaVergne of Buffalo State for the victory. Senior goaltender Matt Leon posted his first career shutout with the Knights, stopping all 26 that were sent his way.    

“The game [against Buffalo] is a testament to the resolve and the mentality of this team. We challenged them and they surpassed our expectations,” Heeres said. “This is a big win for us tonight to show we can play with the best of them, as well as helping us in the standings with playoffs right around the corner.”

With the huge win against Buffalo, the Ice Knights now hold the tiebreaker if the two teams were to reach the same amount of points at the end of the regular season. Now tied in head-to-head record and score differential between each other at 4-4, the next tiebreaker falls to score differential for the two teams against others in the conference.

While Buffalo’s defense averaged just over two goals allowed per game in SUNYAC play and currently sits at a +8 differential, Geneseo’s highly productive offence nets them a +22 and the tiebreaker, making the 3-0 victory even more important for the Ice Knights.

Friday Feb. 17 for the Ice Knights brings the last team in contention for the second seed—the No. 15 Plattsburgh State Cardinals. The Cardinals started cold this year, but have found their stride, posting an 8-1-1 record in their last 10 games. 

The contest stands as a tall challenge for the Ice Knights, but a win over the Cardinals will secure the No. 2 seed—and quarterfinal bye—for them due to tiebreakers.

As the Ice Knights approach the postseason, a big change in this year’s national tournament has occurred due to recent team expansions. As Division III hockey has expanded the league to 78 teams, as per NCAA rulings, for every 6.5 teams, a bid is granted for tournament entry. 

In other words, 12 teams will be hitting the tournament ice this year instead of 11, opening a fourth C (at-large) bid. 

“It’s a great thing to see the league expand, but we’re not concerned with a C-bid right now,” Heeres said. “It’s worth knowing there’s another, but our primary focus is winning the SUNYAC championship, which is our best way into the tournament. We want to show we’re the best team in one of the strongest conferences—what happens in the NCAA Tournament is an addition to a season we want to win here in New York.”

Ice Knights battle to maintain high ranks

Sophomore forward Arthur Gordon tries to take the puck from a SUNY Oswego Lakers defenseman, while senior forward Jack Ceglarski prepares to help out. The Knights tied the Lakers in a tense and exciting game at the Ira S. Wilson arena on Jan 21. (Annalee Bainnson/Assoc. Photo Editor)

With playoff season right around the corner and upsets aplenty in the SUNYAC Conference, the No. 6 Knights look to hold onto their 2nd place in the SUNYAC conference. Coming off a strong 5-2 victory over SUNY Brockport on Friday Feb. 3, the Knights seem to have left their brief slump behind them as they prepare for the last two weeks of regular season play.

For their only contest of the weekend, the Ice Knights came out on top against the Brockport Golden Eagles. Despite a slow start, the Knights gathered strength as time went on, surging ahead in the third period with three goals to put Brockport away. 

First-year forward Devin Brink netted his first collegiate hat trick and now sits 8th on the team in points (16) with 11 goals and five assists. Senior forward Stephen Collins and junior defensemen Pat Condon also contributed a goal each in the contest, while the Geneseo goalposts saw another strong performance out of senior goaltender Matt Leon, who stopped 22 of 24 shots.

Though Leon has only seen five games this season with three starts in net, the goaltender has put up an impressive 3-0-0 record with a 2.72 goals allowed average per game. While sophomore goalie Devin McDonald has taken the majority of the team’s goaltending time having played and started 18 games, the past few games have shown the pair to be a reliable duo. 

“To Devin and I, it doesn’t matter who’s in the net at the start of the game,” Leon said. “Whoever starts between the pipes is going to give their all and the guy who’s on the bench has to be ready to support him. Bad games can happen and you have to be ready to go in and play with a clear head and not let the game before that get to you.”

With upsets occurring all over the SUNYAC conference, the Knights look toward the duo to continue a strong performance in the weeks ahead. The conference saw two major upsets shaking up the rankings with the Plattsburgh State Cardinals defeating the No. 2 Oswego Lakers 2-1 in Oswego and the Morrisville Mustangs taking a game from No. 12 Buffalo State 8-2 in Buffalo. 

The Cardinals have quickly become a force to be reckoned with, posting a 7-0-1 record in their last eight games. Although tied with Geneseo in conference points, the Knights currently hold the tiebreaker and have an extra game to play. 

The Cardinals, however, have found their stride and potentially look to be Geneseo’s greatest challenge before the postseason. In the past few weeks, the Cardinals have defeated both the Oswego Lakers and the Buffalo State Bengals, two teams that the Knights have struggled against this season.

Plattsburgh is looking its strongest all season, while the Bengals are looking at the lowest point of theirs. Going 2-2 in their last four games, the Bengals recently took a heavy 8-2 defeat from Morrisville— the first game of the season that the Bengals have allowed more than four goals. They are now squarely two points behind the Knights with the same amount of games left to play, but look to draw even with the Knights at their rematch on Saturday Feb. 11.

Although a long shot, Oswego’s loss to Plattsburgh still provides a chance for Geneseo to clinch 1st seed in the conference; though in order for this to happen, a single loss by the Knights in their next four conference games—or a single win by Oswego in their last two—automatically allows for the Lakers to claim the No. 1 seed and home ice advantage in the SUNYAC Tournament. 

Ice Knights fight to rise up to No. 1 seed in conference

Senior forward Stephen Collins looks for a pass during the Ice Knights game against the Morrisville Mustangs on Saturday Jan. 28. The Knights snatched an 8-1 victory on Saturday after falling to the Mustangs the night before with a score of 5-2. (Annalee Bainnson/Assoc. Photo Editor)

The No. 6 Ice Knights split a double header with the SUNY Morrisville Mustangs in the race for conference points that is rapidly approaching the postseason on Friday Jan. 27 and Saturday Jan. 28.  

As it stands, Geneseo sits at second place in the conference, six points behind No. 2 SUNY Oswego and two points ahead of No. 3 Buffalo State. With five conference games remaining in the regular season, the Ice Knights are looking to keep their currently held second seed for the first-round playoff bye in the SUNYAC Tournament. 

The Ice Knights—who are 13-4-3—were hosted by the Mustangs—who are 3-15-3—on Friday Jan. 27. Although they were the heavy favorites heading into the contest, the Ice Knights found themselves on the receiving end of a disappointing 5-2 upset. 

Senior forward Stephen Collins and junior forward Sotiri Athanasopoulos each tallied a goal, with sophomore goalie Devin McDonald posting 33 saves on 37 shots. Despite the goal difference, the Ice Knights outshot the Mustangs 47-38.

The rematch on Saturday Jan. 28 told a completely different story for the Ice Knights, however, as they dominated Morrisville for all three periods in the 8-1 win at the Ira. First-year forwards Conlan Keenan and David Szmyd each tallied two goals, while Collins posted two goals and two assists, marking his fourth game this season with four or more points. 

Also of note was junior defensemen Braxton Bilous’ first goal in the Ice Knight’s jersey and goalie Matt Leon’s standout performance in the crease, stopping 24 of 25 pucks sent his way. The Ice Knights outshot the Mustangs 48-25 and went one for six on the power play.

“What we saw last night wasn’t a terrible game for us,” assistant coach Kris Heeres said after Friday Jan. 28’s contest. “The chances appeared, but the execution just wasn’t there. Tonight [Saturday Jan. 29], on the other hand, we saw the full 60 minutes on the clock with our players out there working hard. We have guys playing through some injuries and we’ve played five games in the last nine days, but when it comes down to it, we shouldn’t be giving conference opponents our two points.”

With the fight for playoff contention right around the corner, the Ice Knights still find themselves in second place, as the Oswego Lakers hold onto first place by six points and don’t look likely to give it up. While Buffalo State and No. 4 SUNY Plattsburgh work to catch up to the Ice Knights, of greater concern should be the latter. 

The phenomenal performance of senior goaltender Mike DeLaVergne in the net has kept Buffalo State a contender on both the SUNYAC and national stage. Averaging 1.36 goals allowed per game and posting three shutouts in 17 games, the goaltender ranks third in goals allowed and second in save percentage nationally. 

Plattsburgh, on the other hand, started off their season struggling immensely, but now seem to have caught their stride by putting up a 5-1-1 record in their last seven games. Regardless of the difficulty ahead, the Ice Knights hold an advantage in the upcoming contests, as both rematches against Buffalo State and Plattsburgh take place at home in the Ira S. Wilson Arena, where the Ice Knights have gone 6-1-2 on the season.

While these two contests are certainly marked on the calendar for the Ice Knights, they first travel to SUNY Brockport on Friday Feb. 3. 

“Brockport is a team that always plays us hard,” Heeres said. “They’re a tough team that loves the physical game. Since it’s so close, I know we’re going to get a good showing of fans who make the drive to cheer for us … It means a lot to us to know that we have such a great community and fan base.”

Ice Knights host sixth annual Teddy Bear Toss

The No. 7 Ice Knights went 1-1 last weekend after a 3-0 shutout over the SUNY Fredonia Blue Devils on Friday Dec. 2 and a 4-1 loss to No. 10 Buffalo State Bengals on Saturday Dec. 3. The Knights boast a 7-2-1 record on the season as they approach the last weekend of play for the semester, which puts them in good contention on the national stage. Facing Fredonia at the last home game of the fall semester, senior forward Jack Ceglarski scored the first goal of the night with an assist from sophomore goaltender Devin McDonald, releasing a torrent of teddy bears onto the ice for the Knights’ sixth annual Teddy Bear Toss. First year forwards Conlan Keenan and Devin Brink also tallied a goal each, with McDonald boasting his first shutout of the season, saving 23. The Knights outshot the Blue Devils 51 to 23, and for the second time this season, the Knights did not score a power play goal, despite a national second rank in the category.

“That hasn’t been our game for sure; we’re used to a fair amount of power play goals,” head coach Chris Schultz said. “When you have officials that have a career in hockey, they tend to let a lot more go, so you’re not going to see too many power plays. They’ve seen a lot in their day, so they’re not going to call hard plays. We had a hit in front of our bench that was a little high and riled up the team, but I thought it was a well-called game when they did a good job of not letting it get out of hand at the end.”

The following night pitted Geneseo against Buffalo, who was the only team in the SUNYAC conference to defeat the Knights last season. Buffalo senior goaltender Mike DeLaVergne came up big once again and managed to stop all but one shot sent his way.

Keenan was the only one to beat the goaltender, scoring a power play goal with an assist from sophomore forward Arthur Gordon and first year forward David Szmyd. The Knights started slow, but improved as the game continued, eventually outshooting the Bengals 28-21, despite the loss.

“Despite the final tally, I thought we played a solid game,” assistant coach Kris Heeres said. “Buffalo has a lot of added depth this year and it certainly showed … I feel we let the first period get to us too much when we were down 2-0, but we didn’t let up on our 60-minute game. The road is also starting to get to us, so it’s nice to know that next semester we’ll be home for most of it in front of our fans.”

The games on Friday Dec. 9 and Saturday Dec. 10 will be the last set of games for the Knights this semester. They will be traveling to the northern reaches of New York State, where they face the Plattsburgh State Cardinals on Friday Dec. 9 and the SUNY Potsdam Bears on Saturday Dec. 10.

The Cardinals have had a slow start to their season, tallying a 5-3 record in comparison to last year’s 9-0 start. Likewise, the Bears also seem to be struggling to get off the ground with a 2-6-2 record, as they currently find themselves on a six-game losing streak.

The Knights hope to finish strong against these two opponents before a well-deserved rest over winter break. The second half of the season starts up again on Jan. 7 with a home game against the Elmira Soaring Eagles.

Ice Knights continue winning streak

The Ice Knights return from a long road trip to Maine over Thanksgiving break as the champions of the Bowdoin/Colby Face-Off Classic. Defeating the Bowdoin Polar Bears 7-4 and coming back for the overtime win against the Colby White Mules, the Ice Knights went 2-0 on the games, allotting them a 6-1-1 record and propelling them to the No. 4 position in the nation, right where they began the season.

First-year forward Conlan Keenan totaled two goals and an assist against the Polar Bears, while senior forward Trevor Hills added two goals to secure the 7-4 win. Additionally, sophomore goaltender Devin McDonald saved a season-high of 30 shots. Although Geneseo was outshot 34-28 on the contest, they found tremendous strength on the special teams play: converting two of six power play opportunities and killing six of seven.

The following night, the Ice Knights faced off against the White Mules. Junior defenseman Pat Condon tallied two goals, including the tie up point with just 25 seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime. Keenan once again came up big for the Ice Knights against Colby, scoring the overtime winner.

McDonald also saved 39 of 42 shots sent his way, beating out his season high, as was recorded the night before in the Face-Off Classic. The victory marked the Ice Knights as the champions of the invitational, a setting they do not necessarily find themselves in too often.

“I don’t think we even thought about this weekend as being [in] a tournament setting” head coach Chris Schultz said. “We played in two different rinks in two different settings, which really is unique to the Bowdoin-Colby Face-Off Classic. We just went into the weekend knowing that these were two really big games against two very talented opponents. Our players are experienced enough to know that these were a shadow of NCAA play.”

Looking ahead, the Ice Knights return to SUNYAC play to close out the semester, but the initial thoughts of the matchup difficulties have changed. At first look in the pre-season, the SUNY Plattsburgh Cardinals and the Buffalo State Bengals looked to be the two tougher opponents as compared to the SUNY Potsdam Bears and the SUNY Fredonia Blue Devils, but this has since changed as the season progressed.

The matches against Fredonia and Buffalo on Friday Dec. 2 and Saturday Dec. 3, respectively, will be tough for the Ice Knights, given that the Cardinals currently find themselves 4-3 on the season, a surprise given their pre-season No. 2 ranking in the SUNYAC, with the Bears trailing them at 2-5-2. On the other side of the ice, however, Fredonia sits at 3-3-1 with the Bengals at 5-2-1.

The Bengals are no strangers to giving the Ice Knights a hard time on the ice, being the only in-conference team to defeat the Ice Knights last season in both regular season matchups. Headed by senior goaltender Mike DeLaVergne, the Ice Knights’offence will certainly be tested against a goaltender who has only allowed six goals in six games so far this season.

Likewise, Fredonia is on the rise with an early second place holding in the SUNYAC standings, and looks to make their first post-season run since the 2014 SUNYAC Tournament.

“Fredonia is going to be a battle,” Schultz said. “They play hard, gritty hockey and try to outwork their opponents every shift. They have improved and have changed their culture; so if we are going to earn two points, we have to outwork them. We have to play blue collar hockey and stick with the process of making decisions on the ice that are best for the team, not the individual.”

The Ice Knights return to the ice on Friday Dec. 2 at the Ira against the Blue Devils with the puck drop at 7. The night also marks a special occasion with the sixth annual Teddy Bear Toss.

Ice Knights work to maintain positive moment

The No. 9 Geneseo Ice Knights skated to a 6-6 tie and an 8-5 win against the SUNY Canton Kangaroos, while on a double-header road trip in Canton on Friday Nov. 11 and Saturday Nov. 12. Maintaining an astounding 6.20 goals per game on the season, the Ice Knights find themselves atop the nation in team offense and do not show any signs of slowing down.

Senior forward Trevor Hills and first-year forward David Szmyd tallied two goals each during the opening contest against the Kangaroos, while junior defenseman Pat Condon found himself three assists and sophomore goaltender Devin McDonald stopped 22 of 28 pucks sent his way.

The Ice Knights led for most of the contest on Friday Nov. 11, but had trouble closing out, as Canton scored four unanswered goals in the third to force overtime. The saving grace of the night was the Ice Knights’ power play—which is one of their major strengths this year—where they went three for seven.

Geneseo found itself in a similar play style on Saturday Nov. 12; it was an intense and physical game, as both teams were high in penalty minutes. The Ice Knights blew past the Kangaroos in the second period, however, scoring three goals in the first seven minutes for a total of five for the period.

Leading the charge were senior forward Stephen Collins with a goal and four assists and sophomore forward Anthony Marra with two goals and two assists. The Ice Knights outshot the Kangaroos 38 to 24, and scored on four of 14 power play opportunities.

Early on in the season, the Ice Knights established themselves to be one of the most lethal power play squads in the nation, scoring on 13 of 38 opportunities for a 34.2 percent conversion. To give a comparison, last year in the Division III the top team—the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire—had a 29.7 percent conversion, with the league average holding at around 18 percent.

The Ice Knights look to continue this strong man-advantage play to help hold their No. 1 in the nation status for overall team offense, where they average almost an entire goal per game over the No. 2 offense in the nation, the Oswego Lakers.

One troubling sign for the Ice Knights, however, has been their lack of ability to close out multiple goal leads in the last few games. Leading the Lakers by two goals in their loss on Nov. 5 and the Kangaroo’s by three in their tie on Nov. 11 while transitioning into the third period for both games, the team has given up crucial points in the win column. As it stands, the Ice Knights are a team of pure offense, winning games by simply out-scoring opposing teams in high point games.

“I think any one of us can put the puck in the net right now, whether you’re on offense or defense,” first-year forward Conlan Keenan said. “We have a lot of guys who are really strong offensively and can move the puck the way they want to see it go.”

Keenan currently finds himself as center on the Ice Knights’ second line paired with first-year forward Andrew Romano and sophomore forward Arthur Gordon. The line has totaled nine of the Ice Knights’ 31 goals this season and is a strong addition to the team’s overall depth.

“So far we’ve been impressed with the performance of the underclassmen,” assistant coach Kris Heeres said. “It will take everyone’s full effort to play a full 60 minutes that we’ve been falling just short of these past few games. It’s something we need to work on as a team and hope to improve by the time we get into our large set of conference games at the beginning of December.”

The Ice Knights return home on Saturday Nov. 19 for the second time this season, and will be hosting the Brockport Golden Eagles with the puck dropping at 7 p.m. at the Ira.

Young players exhibit potential in changing NHL

Watching the relationships develop between seasoned veterans and rookies within professional sports is always entertaining. It brings to mind the interviews where rookies talk about their veteran teammates using “mister” and veterans refer to rookies as “kids.” Rookies will always be learning lessons from veterans; in the National Hockey League, however, the tides seem to be changing. NHL players are getting younger and younger every year. The days of former Detroit Red Wings rightwing Gordie Howe—who played until he was in his 50s—are long gone. The league used to be a game of small advantages that were only learned by spending time in the league. The older players learned that it was advantageous to work smarter—not harder. This, however, is no longer the case.

Now we’re looking at a league that currently showcases its young players—and rightfully so. At any given professional hockey game, it’s hard not to see someone wearing the jersey of a player that is 15 or more years younger than them. The game is becoming faster, lending itself to quick, explosive players, which is something that you really can’t teach.

At the beginning of the 2016-17 season, the Edmonton Oilers named 19-year-old center Connor McDavid the youngest captain in NHL history. The Oilers trusted a teenager to represent them and it’s working, as McDavid leads by example. He’s fast and scores many goals; it’s that simple. Some analysts have even tapped McDavid as their pick for MVP of the league at 19 years old. That would have been unheard of 20 years ago.

The NHL also had the opportunity to put their young players on display at the World Cup of Hockey. Team North America was comprised of all the best players from the United States and Canada—with each player aged 23 years old or younger. Team North America made a real splash, too, as they progressed further than Team USA, which is a spectacular accomplishment given that they had to play teams that, in any other scenario, would be considered all-star teams.

These younger players are taking no time to prove themselves. It seems that the type of talent that lower levels of hockey are developing translates to the NHL better than ever before.

This year’s first pick, Toronto Maple Leafs’ center Auston Matthews scored four goals in his NHL debut against the Ottawa Senators, and the goals weren’t flukes. There are times when these young players look like they’re playing a different game, and sometimes they are. They’re playing a game that is streamlined. It takes a different, younger type of player to keep up.

The interesting part to come of this new wave of young players is seeing how they develop as they grow older. It looks like as long as the players can keep up the pace, they will be able to change the game and make the league their own.

It’s a revolutionary time in hockey. The game is getting younger and faster, and everyone will need to try to keep up and not get left in the dust.

Ice Knights have tremendous win at first home game

The start of November has brought both highs and lows for the No. 9 ranked Geneseo Ice Knights, including an 11-2 blowout over SUNY Cortland on Friday Nov. 4 and a close 5-3 loss to No. 8 SUNY Oswego on Saturday Nov. 5. The game against Cortland was the Knights’ first performance at home, resulting in a nearly sold out crowd of 2400 people. The Knights left a huge impression on the home crowd, giving strong signs toward a promising season when they took down the Cortland Red Dragons by an impressive 11-2 margin.

First-year forward Conlan Keenan scored three tallies on the night, giving him not only the home ice hat trick, but also the first three goals of his collegiate career in an Ice Knight’s jersey. Geneseo’s star first line also contributed to the victory, tallying a combined eight points between senior forward Stephen Collins with two goals and two assists, senior forward Trevor Hills with two goals and one assist and sophomore forward Anthony Marra with one assist.

The Knights outshot the Red Dragons by a margin of 46-31, with Keenan, Collins and Hills each amounting eight shots. Sophomore goaltender Devin McDonald started in net for the Knights, stopping 20 of 21 sent his way before switching out with senior goaltender Matt Leon in the third period. Leon faced 10 and let only one goal slip past.

“We probably won’t see a game like this again all season,” assistant coach Kris Heeres said. “It’s something really special to play this well in front of the home crowd, but we look at this as a one-time thing in a completive conference such as the SUNYAC.”

The following day, the Knights traveled to Oswego to face off against the Lakers in a battle of two nationally ranked teams. Despite holding the lead for the majority of the contest, the Lakers came back in the third period, scoring four unanswered goals to put away the Ice Knights 5-3.

Collins, sophomore forward Arthur Gordon and first-year forward David Szmyd tallied a goal each in the game, with Szmyd’s being his first for the Ice Knights. McDonald had 24 stops of 28 sent his way and faced a large amount of the Oswego power play, where the Ice Knights were able to kill five of seven attempts.

On the other end of the stick, the Knights converted on their only power play opportunity of the night, propelling them to 33 percent on the season and placing them fifth overall in power play in Division III hockey.

“We didn’t play a full 60-minute game on the ice,” Heeres said. “We ran into some penalty trouble late in the game, and the same pace and speed we threw out in the first two periods wasn’t there in the third. We have a lot of stuff to go over and learn from this game, and you can bet we’ll be hitting the ice hard Monday at practice to improve.”

Geneseo hits the road once again on Friday Nov. 11 and Saturday Nov. 12 in a double header against the SUNY Canton Kangaroos, with the puck dropping 7 p.m. on Friday and 3 p.m. on Saturday.

Ice Knights start 2016-17 season with victory

The No. 5 ranked Geneseo Ice Knights skated to their first victory on Friday Oct. 28 in their game opener against the Nazareth Golden Flyers. The Knights endured some penalty trouble throughout the contest, but overcame adversity to edge out the Golden Flyers 3-2. Sophomore forward Arthur Gordon tallied a goal and an assist, while sophomore goalie Devin McDonald stopped 21 of 23 shots on goal.

“I thought that it was going to be a sloppy first period and that we’d get better as the game went on and that’s exactly what we did,” head coach Chris Schultz said. “I thought our second period was pretty good, though the new initiatives from the officials stifled the third period for both teams a bit, given the large amount of special teams play.”

Senior forward Jack Ceglarski scored first on the Ice Knights’ season on a 5-on-3 power play opportunity 8:53 into the second period. As the penalties continued for both teams, a pair of shorthanded goals scored by Nazareth sophomore forward Brad Pizzey and Gordon kept the Ice Knights ahead by one.

With a minute left in the second, senior forward Trevor Hills scored off of a pass in the center by senior forward Stephen Collins and put Geneseo in a strong 3-1 lead heading into the final period of play. The Ice Knights held onto their lead despite penalty trouble late in the third to squeeze by Nazareth 3-2.

Despite a strong showing by the first-years of Geneseo—as the Ice Knights outshot Nazareth 35-23—the big story of the night was the unusually high amount of penalties for both teams.

“I chalk [the penalties] up to officials making a point to call a new standard,” Schultz said. “I think we’re going to be at the mercy of the officials for a while in terms of how they call a game—that’s going to be a big thing.”

As of late, officials in college hockey intend to enforce certain areas of gameplay, mainly involving interference, hooking and other obstruction penalties that negate an advantage gained by a player in terms of skill or team play.

“The coaches [in Division III] are trying to get together and revisit what the mandate has been,” Schultz said. “The coaches are trying to stand up and get a movement going to try to get our [Division III] game back. Right now, going to a game that has 18 minor penalties is not fun to go to. We’re looking out for our fans and the fun that our players have playing hockey, and it’s just not fun when the whistle is constantly blowing. If Division I wants to do it, great, but Division III doesn’t want it.”

The Ice Knights return home on Friday Nov. 4 to host the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons at 7 p.m. in their first SUNYAC conference game of the year. They then find themselves facing the No. 12-ranked SUNY Oswego Lakers—who are coming off of a strong opening weekend, where they defeated the Elmira Soaring Eagles 7-1 and 6-3—on Saturday Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. at Oswego.

Men’s club ice hockey: same ice, less pressure

Of the countless programs and organizations Geneseo offers for students to join on campus, some of the biggest and most popular groups are Geneseo’s club sports teams. Club sports allow students that aren’t on varsity division teams to continue their athletic careers from high school into college, such as through the men’s club hockey team.

One of the most exciting parts about club sports is the freedom it allows the students. The club hockey team—formerly known as the “Geneseqs”—has no coach. The entire program is completely student run and they are thriving. The students fund the whole program from ice-time to jerseys, so they have the liberty to run the program the way they want.

The thing about this team is that it’s not bad hockey. Club sports have a connotation of being weaker, slower and less exciting, but that’s simply not the case for the club hockey team.

“We picked up a couple guys this year with Division III offers, a couple guys that spent some time playing in a juniors league and some guys that could have made a big difference in some competitive programs,” senior forward captain John Ferris said. “The only difference is some of these guys like the freedom and extracurricular activities that the club team provides over the structure and commitment of another program.”

The club team absolutely exercises these freedoms. Having no coach, everything is left up to the players.

“We always have the ability to design our own jerseys, helmet decals and team gear, which is more than you can say for a lot of teams, and the guys appreciate that,” Ferris said, “It makes it fun. Look good, feel good, play good.”

Their freedom seems to be helping them more than hurting them. They have been one of the most successful club teams at Geneseo, making the playoffs for the past four years, with a couple of recent shots at making it to nationals.

“The men don’t seem to mind coming to practice, especially when there isn’t any pressure from a coach,” Ferris said. “We like to keep it light, we like to joke around and have fun and it shows. Our guys are less uptight, and they’re not afraid to make a mistake and be creative.”

The captains and upperclassmen that run the team seem to agree that this team provides the camaraderie and fun of a hockey locker room packed with teammates, which many of their players thought they’d be leaving behind in high school or as juniors.

The team has had their first two games of the season canceled due to rink complications, but they’re set to start their season Saturday Oct. 29 against Ithaca College.

“We have a lot of fun on and off the ice. Winning makes the game fun, and I think you can see it in the way we play,” Ferris said. “There’s no better feeling than winning a game with the boys to make the weekend that much better.”

Ice Knights anticipate another successful season

Winter brings the cold and snow, but Geneseo knows with it comes the next exciting season of Ice Knights hockey. Coming off last year’s rollercoaster of a season, the Knights look to defend their SUNYAC Championship title. The season kicks off for the Knights on Friday Oct. 28 at 7 p.m., where they face off against the Nazareth Golden Flyers at the Bill Gray’s Regional Iceplex in Rochester.

“I think the schedule is going to challenge us for sure,” head coach Chris Schultz said. “We only have three home games this first semester out of 12. We’ve always been a pretty good road team, so I don’t have a problem with that at all.”

The start of the Knights’ season also brings a fair amount of expectation for the team. Ranking high in preseason polls, the Knights are expected to once again sit atop the SUNYAC, while starting out ranked fifth in the nation, according to United States College Hockey Online.

These high expectations come from last year’s Division III Frozen Four run for the Knights, as well as keeping a large amount of the team’s core. This includes the offensive line of sophomore forward Anthony Marra and senior forwards Stephen Collins and Trevor Hills.

“I think they’ll have a harder season this time around,” Schultz said. “Other teams will start marking them, try to keep them down and be more physical with them. They’ll still put up points, but that’s where I think our depth will come into play; we have other capable lines who will be able to make up the difference and keep pressure on the ice.”

With the graduation of several high scoring seniors in defensemen Matt Solomon and winger David Ripple, however, the Knights look to some of their new recruits to put the points on the board.

“I think that all of the players we brought on will be significant in terms of what they offer our team,” Schulz said. “Right away the names that come to mind for creating offence are [first-year] forwards Andrew Romano from Philadelphia, Conlan Keenan … a Webster native and David Szmyd [from Elmwood Park, N.J.], as well as [first-year defender] Cam Russell [of Royal Oak, Mich.], who is looking as a defenseman to step in for us to get some power play time.”

This year, Schultz also ran into what he referred to as “a very good problem” when discussing leadership on the team.

“There’s a lot of good guys for it, a lot of experienced guys who are able to lead, but for now it’s looking to be [senior forwards] Jack Ceglarski and RJ Burns,” Schultz said.

In reflecting on this year’s SUNYAC Conference, Schultz looks forward to one of the most competitive seasons to date.

“I think Buffalo [State] and [SUNY] Plattsburgh will have strong teams this year. Buffalo had solid recruitment and show a lot of depth, while Plattsburgh has a very young team,” Schultz said. “I think [SUNY] Oswego is going to have a bounce back year as well. I personally think they’re the team to beat for us and had my vote as number one in the preseason. They underachieved last year … but this year they’re a dangerous team and have got some serious weapons.”

The Knights undoubtedly have a challenging season this year, but will focus on playing in front of their loyal home crowd. The first home game takes place Friday Nov. 4, where the Knights host the SUNY Cortland Red Dragons.

Teenage rookie makes NHL history

In his debut game for the Toronto Maple Leafs on Oct. 12 against the Ottawa Senators, No. 1 draft pick center Auston Matthews proved to the world he has the potential to be one of the biggest names in hockey. He put up all four of his team’s goals that night. When eyes were first laid on Matthews in September at the Hockey World Cup, he put up a fantastic international showing for Team North America, scoring twice in three games. This sparked great expectations, as people anticipated that Matthews would transfer his exciting skillset over to the National Hockey League. These expectations were not only met, but blown completely out of the water. A goal in his first game seemed to be the target for many hopeful observers—and Matthews scored four.

The 19-year-old became the first player in the modern era to score four goals in his NHL debut game. The feat had only ever been done twice before, both during the inaugural season of the NHL in 1917. Right wing Harry Hyland of the Montreal Wanderers and center Joe Malone of the Montreal Canadiens scored five goals in their first game in the newly formed NHL on Dec. 19, 1917, according to Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.

Matthews also racked up other honors, including most goals scored by a No. 1 draft-pick in a debut game and the first No. 1 draft-pick with two first-period goals in their NHL debut.

Despite Matthews’ outstanding performance, Toronto still lost the game in overtime, but the spotlight remained on Matthews. What he accomplished that night had not been seen on the ice of the NHL in 99 years, and—quite honestly—it may take just as long to see it again.

Over the years, hockey has experienced a negative trend line in goals scored by an individual on the season. Back in the days of center Wayne Gretzky, it wasn’t uncommon to see “The Great One” put up 50+ goals per season consistently, even reaching as high as 92 in the ’81-’82 season.

In the NHL today, however, very few players will reach the 50-goals-scored mark in a season. The only exception to this rule is Washington Capitals’ captain and left-wing Alexander Ovechkin. The Russian winger has hit this mark seven times in his 11 seasons of play.

What the world saw in Matthews was the potential of a player who can rival that limit. Granted, it is one game of many, but Matthews is already well on track to hit the mark after only playing two games.

Although there is little chance of him scoring the most goals this season against big names like Ovechkin, right-wing Patrick Kane of the Chicago Blackhawks, left-wing Jamie Benn of the Dallas Stars and right-wing Vladimir Tarasenko of the St. Louis Blues, he can certainly give well known rookies a run for their money. This includes such players as Edmonton Oilers’ captain center Connor McDavid and center Jack Eichel of the Buffalo Sabres—who were last year’s No. 1 and 2 draft picks, respectively—despite the duo’s experience.

Moreover, Auston Matthews is only 19. He’s already played a year in Switzerland professionally, scored multiple goals on the international stage and rewrote some of the longest standing records in NHL history. Great things are to come from this rising star in the future, especially after a few years of experience.

Pre-order your rookie cards now, because Matthews’ future could be the start of a new era for Maple Leafs hockey.

Team USA delivers disappointment at Hockey World Cup

A part of a two-article series, read the first piece here. The United States men’s hockey team was disappointing, to say the least, at the 2016 Hockey World Cup. There is no getting around that.

On the way to going 0-3, the team got shut out by a weaker Team Europe, worked up and down the ice by Team Canada and—to top it all off—lost to the Czech Republic. Not a great look for American hockey. But here’s the thing—America will be just fine. This isn’t nearly as bad as it looks, and U.S. hockey is trending upward.

One huge damper on Team USA was the creation of Team North America, consisting of the best American and Canadian players under the age of 23. Throughout the tournament, they had been the most fun to watch and the U.S. could have benefited from some of those guys. They’re fast and creative with the puck, which is the exact area where Team USA lacked.

Many of these players, like Buffalo Sabres’ center Jack Eichel and Toronto Maple Leafs’ center Auston Matthews, will be on Team USA when they are of age, without a doubt. The young Americans on Team North America were electric, and that’s the future of the game. Pair those guys with veterans and pure skill players like Chicago Blackhawks’ right wing Patrick Kane and the U.S. will be in good shape.

That’s not to say that our roster absolutely shouldn’t have put up better numbers, but the scores of the games don’t necessarily reflect how close the games were. The U.S. heavily outshot Team Europe. Furthermore, Team Canada—widely known as the greatest team in the world—had the advantage of playing in front of their home crowd. Moreover, the Czech Republic game was played after the U.S. was mathematically out, so the effort may not have been there—which, admittedly, isn’t a great excuse.

Regardless, U.S. hockey is on the rise. The men are changing the game and the whole world is closing the gap on Canada. American coaches and pros are working every day to develop the game and to make it more accessible, which is a foolproof method of improving the sport.

Team USA delivers disappointment at Hockey World Cup

A part of a two-article series, read the second piece here. The stage was set. The United States had a spectacular all-star roster, with big names rivaling that of favorites Team Canada and Team Sweden. Even more so, they were placed in a division that had Canada and themselves absolutely screaming for the two to move on. Team Czech looked to be extremely weak and Team Europe seemed to be a random assortment of European players. Easy, right?

When the pre-tournament started, Team USA looked as good on the ice as they did on paper. Going 1-1 in games against Canada, the heavy favorites to win the entire tournament, they even took an exhibition game 3-2 against Finland.

A semi-final berth seemed easy to grasp—it was so close. Then the puck dropped and everything went through the glass. The U.S. lost to Europe 3-0, Canada 4-2 and the Czech Republic 4-3 to become the only team in the entire tournament to not win a game.

The U.S. seemed flawed from the beginning, chasing the ghosts of 20 years ago. With general manager Dean Lombardi and coach John Tortorella at the forefront of player-selecting and decision making, this year’s team may have won years ago.

Hockey has evolved, however, and the same things that guarantee a win in the past don’t necessarily predict a win in the future. The U.S. needs to take a step back, re-tie the laces and move forward with a new mindset. Choosing a new core and coach for the team has to be at the forefront of the mind if changes are to happen.

If this tournament has brought any consolation to U.S. fans, it’s that the young talent that made up Team North America—comprised of Canadian and U.S. players under 23—is the real deal and looks promising.