Geneseo completed a strong weekend to open SUNYAC play with a 4-1 victory over Potsdam. Zachary Vit scored twice, Adrian Rubeniuk made 31 saves, and the team went two-for-six on the power play.
“I’m happy with the game,” Geneseo coach Chris Schultz said. “I knew we would be very tired coming into the game. I didn’t change the lineup a bit, with the exception of the goaltender. My only concern was how much energy were they going to come out with. It was gutsy effort. It wasn’t easy by any means. We’ll take the ‘W.’ It was important for us to follow up and beat Potsdam after beating Plattsburgh.”
“That’s a classic SUNYAC hockey game,” Potsdam coach Chris Bernard said. “Two teams working hard and clashing bodies. That’s why it’s tough to get points on the road here. I thought our kids played hard right to the last second of the game. I’m really proud of our effort. If we compete like that throughout the year, we’ll accomplish a lot of our goals.”
Geneseo got on the board first almost midway through the first period on the first power play of the night. On a quick rush with some fancy passing, Zachary Vit found Rich Manley down the middle, who found himself alone with the goaltender. Manley slipped the puck under Trevor O’Neill’s stick.
Potsdam had an opportunity to return the favor, but its first power play lasted 30 seconds, as Brett Waters was called for hooking. This led to the teams skating four aside, which led to Geneseo’s second goal at 11:11.
Blake O’Connor took a relatively soft shot from the right point which went unseen through the screen as it slid by O’Neill.
Potsdam hit the post twice during the first period, including a breakaway by Fraser Smith, as well as a number of dings in the next two periods.
During the second period, many Potsdam scoring opportunities where stymied by great saves by Rubeniuk, as the Bears outshot Geneseo, 15-11.
“He seems to have Potsdam’s number,” Schultz said. “So when we were talking about the rotation this weekend, I wanted to make sure he had Potsdam. He’s probably as good as you can get positionally tonight. He was out on the shooter. Rebounds were controlled relatively well. The bottom line was the reason we won the game was because he made the big save when we needed it. There were times in the game when Potsdam could have turned it around quickly, but ‘Ruby’ did a very good job keeping us in it.”
On the other end of the ice, O’Neill was also making big saves to keep the game close.
“I thought again he was solid,” Bernard said. “He gave our team a chance to win. You can’t ask a guy to do any more than that.”
The Ice Knights made it 3-0 at 14:41 of the second period on Vit’s first of the game. Geneseo was applying tremendous pressure with shot after shot. They finally beat O’Neill when Vit’s shot deflected off Potsdam’s Colin MacLellan’s glove at the side of the net.
Potsdam finally got one of their own less than two minutes later. Matt Viola skated behind the net, but before he circled around, centered it to Matt Rhymer. Rhymer one-timed into the near upper corner.
However, shortly afterward, Rhymer took a hitting from behind penalty. The power play carried over into the third period when Geneseo took advantage, making it 4-1. Vit got his second of the night, blasting a shot from the left faceoff circle over O’Neill’s glove.
“That was huge,” Schultz said. “Our concern in the third period was how tired are we, and to have that three-goal pad was huge for us.”
Geneseo seemed to get a lift from that goal and outshot Potsdam in the final period, 19-9. However, despite the pressure and the Potsdam chances to get back into the game, the scoring was done for the evening.
Geneseo (3-0-1, 2-0) now has an 11-game unbeaten streak (9-0-2) going back to last year. They play one game next week at Morrisville.
Potsdam (2-0) continues on the road, playing at Oswego and Cortland.