ROCHESTER, N.Y. — The Hobart Statesmen (1-0) faced off against the Geneseo Ice Knights (0-2) in the opening round of the Chase Rochester Cup. After a slow start, Hobart built a 4-1 lead, only to see Geneseo come storming back to tie it 4-4 early in the third period.
The young Statesman team showed some character, though, and skated away with the 7-4 win to advance to the championship game Saturday night.
“It was a nice first primer coat,” said Hobart coach Mark Taylor. “But we need another couple of coats of primer before we really start to paint.”
Hobart started with a little bit of first-game jitters for the first half of the opening period. The Statesmen were tentative in their own zone, and were unable to put any pressure on the Geneseo net. The Knights were the exact opposite, spending most of the time in the Hobart zone.
It finally took some power plays to break the scoreless tie. Geneseo opened the scoring at 12:39. Jason Gurnett sent a shot from the point towards the net, and Jon Schnepf tipped the puck past Hobart netminder Adam Lavelle.
The momentum looked to be all Geneseo’s until a couple of undisciplined penalties let Hobart back into the game. Craig Levey and R.C. Schmidt combined for the first Statesman goal, on the power play at 15:02. Levey passed the puck from the faceoff dot to Schmidt standing behind the net, and then headed to the net. Schmidt waited and then passed back to Levey, who tapped the puck home.
Another bad penalty — for throwing a stick — led to another Hobart goal, at 18:12. Schmidt converted this tally, as he sent a blast from the top of the faceoff circle into the top of the Geneseo net to give Hobart the 2-1 lead heading into the locker room.
“We were moving real well with the puck,” said Taylor. “But we need to get much better skating without it.”
Hobart carried the momentum out of the locker room into the second period as well. Just 12 seconds in, Matt Grabis slid in a goal for Hobart. And then Levey scored all alone on a breakaway at 5:08 to put Hobart up 4-1 early in the period.
Geneseo coach Brian Hills called a timeout to settle his troops, and the ploy worked. Geneseo was able to slow the onslaught and then turn the tide during the second half of the period.
Ice Knight Jeremy Nau slapped home a loose puck at 10:01 to start to get Geneseo back into the game.
Geneseo took advantage of another Hobart mistake at the 14:40 mark. Hobart turned over the puck at center ice, and Tony Scorsone rushed into the Statesman zone all alone. Scorsone beat Hobart netminder Lavelle through the five-hole to pull Geneseo back to a single goal down.
Entering the third period, it was Geneseo carrying the momentum, and it also converted early to tie the game up 4-4. Tony Scorsone slid the puck under Lavelle at 2:45 for the power-play goal.
“Scorsone is our captain, and he really picked the guys up tonight as a leader,” said Hills.
Both teams were skating hard as the third period progressed, until Hobart took advantage of a missed offsides call to take the lead for good at 12:36. It appeared that the puck just barely slid out of the Ice Knights’ zone, and then right back in. But the assistant referee at the blue line waved it off, and Andy Boschetto converted on the ensuing play to give Hobart the 5-4 lead.
“Guys were hesitating a little bit, and that got us in trouble,” said Hills.
Chris Doolan scored for Hobart at 13:43, and Matt Grabis added an empty-netter with 25 seconds remaining to seal the 7-4 victory.