Geneseo used a strong first period to open up with a 3-0 lead and hung on to defeat Buffalo State, 4-2.
“One of the points of emphasis for us winning hockey games is a strong forecheck,” Geneseo coach Chris Schultz said. “We have to get after the opposing team’s defense and create turnovers and get pucks to the net early. We did that well in the first period. We were able to get the puck behind the goaltender. He’s a big kid. That was one of my worries, not being able to score on [Zach] Grasley. It was awfully nice to see three pucks go by him in the first period.”
Geneseo immediately jumped all over the Bengals. The early domination was interrupted by an Ice Knights’ penalty, but after killing off a very good Buffalo State power play, Geneseo went to work.
Casey Smith got things going at 7:57 when he flipped one from in close that just barely made its way under the crossbar and inside the near post, grazing one of the bars on the way in.
Geneseo made it 2-0 1:23 later when Kevin Galan knocked in a pass after Buffalo State broke up a semi-breakaway, sending the puck into the corner. However, Dan Sullivan put it back in front for Galan.
At 13:21, it became 3-0 in favor of Geneseo. As Geneseo rushed into the zone down the right side, Zach Grasley fell to one knee while trying to cut down the angle. Though Grasley got back up, he never got himself properly set. Sebastian Panetta took the shot from the right boards, and Grasley was unable to nab it as the puck sailed over his glove.
Buffalo State turned the contest around, playing an improved game in the second period. They also took advantage of power play time to score two nearly identical goals.
“We got very complacent,” Schultz said. “There’s that fine line when you have the lead of playing conservative and getting into a defensive shell. I think we did a combination of the two things. Unfortunately, they got back into the game on two power-play goals.”
Both goals came from low shots from the left point that found their way through the screen and past Jeff Pasemko.
The first came at 7:33 by Corey Park while the Bengals were up a man. The second came on a two-man advantage with 27 seconds left in the period. This time, Will Lacasse did the honors.
“They run the exact same power play we do,” Schultz said. “That’s why it’s so surprising we let two in because we practice against it everyday. We made some mistakes. We collapsed too much and allowed their point men to shoot the puck, and it hurt us. But their power play is one of the better power plays we’ve seen in the league so far. They are very efficient and move the puck very well. They do a really good job screening the goalie. Pasemko didn’t see the puck I don’t think.”
Geneseo iced the game with their only power-play tally at 14:08 of the final period, one that saw the Ice Knights play more like the first period.
Kevin Galan easily converted a crossing pass from Jonathan Redlick with a one-timer blast which left Grasley hopeless. Grasley later came out of the game with an injury.
Pasemko wound up with 27 saves for the win.
“I thought he did a good job,” Schultz said. “He’s done a good job all year. His percentage numbers are high. When you give up two goals in a SUNYAC game, you should win the game. He’s put us in a position to win games all year.”
Geneseo (8-3-1, 4-2-1) are now tied with Oswego for second place thanks to Oswego’s 4-3 overtime loss to Plattsburgh, and the Ice Knights currently hold the tie-breaker. They will have another opportunity to win when they face Fredonia tomorrow night.
“We have to be consistent,” Schultz said. “We have to come out and not play 40 out of 60 minutes. We have to play 60 out of 60.”
Buffalo State (4-7-1, 3-3-1) is still only two points behind the second place teams as they travel a short distance to Brockport.