GENESEO, N.Y. – SUNY Geneseo first-year forward Connor Anthoine tallied a goal and an assist while sophomore defenseman Nate Brown added a pair of assists to lead the Knights to a 3-2 victory over Nichols in a first-round matchup of the NCAA Division III Men's Ice Hockey Tournament, Thursday, at Wilson Ice Arena. The win marked Geneseo's first-ever NCAA Tournament victory.
Geneseo (22-6-0) advances to the quarterfinals where it will host Norwich on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. with a berth in the semifinals on the line. Nichols finishes its season at 18-7-3.
Knights' sophomore goalie Nick Horrigan was credited with 31 saves to improve to 13-1 this season, while his Bison counterpart Nick Larson totaled a career-high 45 saves in the loss.
Geneseo got on the board early after junior winger Justin Scharfe got to the front of the net and tipped home a shot by Anthoine to finish off an odd-man rush to put the Knights up, 1-0, 2:25 into the game.
Nichols tied it up with less than four minutes to play in the opening period as junior forward Joe Sposit took a shot from the far edge of the right faceoff circle that sophomore forward Tyler Beasley tipped into the right corner of the net to make it a 1-1 game at the first intermission.
Geneseo pulled ahead 2-1 with the only goal of the second period, converting a power-play opportunity following a Nichols boarding call. Junior centerman Tyler Brickler took a drop pass from sophomore winger David Ripple and scored on high wrist shot from the slot with 4:42 on the clock.
The Knights would go up 3-1 just over three minutes into the third period after Brown took a shot from the top of the slot that Anthoine tipped over Larson's left shoulder to stake the Knights to a two-goal edge.
Nichols made it a one-goal affair with 9:10 on the clock after a miscommunication by the Geneseo defense. Horrigan came out of the goal to clear a puck down the left boards, but Bison sophomore forward Sean Fleming was there to send it back on goal where junior forward Brett Jackson was able to score before Horrigan could get back into position.
Geneseo was able to hold off the Nichols attack over the last nine minutes to earn the victory, while finishing the game with a 48-33 advantage in shots.
Norwich defeated Salem State, 8-2, in its first-round matchup on Wednesday night and will be in the hunt for its fifth-straight appearance in the NCAA semifinals. Sunday will be the first-ever meeting between Geneseo and the Cadets.
The game was originally scheduled to be played a day earlier, but was postponed to Thursday due to the effects of Winter Storm Vulcan on the region. Sunday's second-round game was also originally slated to be played Saturday, but was also adjusted.