Tonight’s game between the Geneseo Ice Knights (10-6) and the Hobart Statesmen (7-7) felt more like a junior contest between two rival towns in northern Canada rather than Division III college hockey.
There were glass-shattering hits, tear-the-helmet-off drop-the-gloves fights, and pretty breakaway goals.
Geneseo won the non-conference game 6-2.
“We played as close to 60 minutes as we can,” said Geneseo coach Chris Schultz. “We got into penalty trouble in the second. That gave Hobart momentum and that worried us a bit, but we kept going.”
Zachary Vit and Jonathan Redlick scored within 1:03 of each other midway through the first period to give Geneseo a 2-0 lead. Vit’s goal came off a deflection, while Redlick finished off a pretty two-on-one.
“You can’t spot a good team two goals,” said Hobart coach Mark Taylor. “They have some talented players who can finish opportunities that we gave them.”
Clint Olson added to the Ice Knights’ lead with under five minutes left in the first period when he scored from the right faceoff dot.
“Whenever you can score early it gets the other team thinking,” said Schultz. “But we knew we couldn’t be satisfied with a two goal lead.”
With 4:19 left in the first period, Mike White laid a big hit on a Geneseo player right at the Hobart bench. The piece of glass at the side of the bench shattered, showering backup Hobart goaltender Max Wopperer with shards. The referees suspended the first period to clean up the mess, adding the remaining time onto the second period.
The second period started out with a flurry as Geneseo’s Rich Manley and Hobart’s Harry Radovich dropped the gloves just 58 seconds in. What started out as a shoving match in front of the Hobart goaltender escalated into swinging arms as helmets and gloves were thrown off.
The only question was why did the referees call both players for facemasking instead of fighting?
Geneseo extended its lead to 4-0 early in the second period when Stefan Decosse deflected in a pass from the halfboards at 2:03.
The Ice Knights got into penalty trouble after building the 4-0 lead and Hobart took full advantage. Ryan Michel scored with a wrist shot down the slot at 5:50 on the power play to get the Statesmen on the board. And then David Stevens deflected in a shot from Ryan Corcoran at 12:29, also on the man advantage, to narrow Geneseo’s lead to 4-2.
“When they got it back to 4-2, it created worry in our mind,” said Schultz. “Our power play did a phenomenal job keeping it in their zone and it paid off.”
Despite extended pressure by Hobart, the Ice Knights answered back before the end of the period. Justin Scharfe finished off a three-on-zero breakaway at 16:48 and Jake Yard tipped in another puck at 18:59 on the power play and just like that, Geneseo had rebuilt their lead to 6-2.
The frenzied pace to the game died down in the third period, with no penalties called and no goals scored.