Men's Ice Hockey Faces Norwich In NCAA Tournament Semifinals

 
STEVENS POINT, Wisc. - Geneseo faces Norwich in the semifinals of the NCAA Division III Tournament, Friday afternoon. The Knights defeated Manhattanville, 8-2, in the quarterfinals to move on to their third national semifinal appearance in six years. Norwich defeated the University of New England, 2-1, in overtime to qualify for its 13th Frozen Four appearance in program history and the first since winning the 2017 national championship.
 
The Knights earned an automatic bid to the tournament after defeating Oswego, 4-3, in the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Championship game (March 2) for their second-straight title and third in the last four years. Norwich also earned an automatic bid after beating Hobart, 2-1, to win its 13th New England Hockey Conference (NEHC).
 
Friday's winner will advance to play either host UW-Stevens Point or Hobart in Saturday's national championship game at 8:00 p.m. EDT (7:00 p.m. CDT).
 
FOLLOW ALONG WITH THE GAME - VIDEO/LIVE STATS
A live webcast of Saturday's game as well as live statistics will be available at NCAA.com while Geneseo student radio WGSU and Nate Sharman (PbP) will be live in Wisconsin. In-game updates will be posted on Twitter (@GeneseoKnights). Fans can also have scoring updates delivered directly to their mobile devices by downloading the Geneseo Knights Front Row app (available on Google Play and in the Apple App Store) and turning on "notifications" for men's ice hockey. 
 
THE LAST TIME OUT
Geneseo junior forward Andrew Romano totaled a goal and two assists while senior defenseman Mitch Ferguson was credited with four assists to lead the Knights to an 8-2 victory over visiting Manhattanville in last Saturday's NCAA Quarterfinals. Eight goal scorers led the attack as Geneseo out-scored the Valiants, 7-1, over the final two periods of play. Senior goalie Devin McDonald made 20 saves to earn the victory. 
 
GENESEO IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT
Geneseo is making its second consecutive appearance in the NCAA Tournament, including its third in the last four seasons and seventh overall. Last winter, the Knights defeated host Hobart, 4-2, in the first round before falling at home to Colby, 2-1, on a last-second goal in the quarterfinals. Two years earlier, Geneseo defeated Salve Regina (R.I.), 7-1, and Williams (Mass.), 2-1, in a pair of home games before falling to eventual national champion Wisconsin-Stevens Point, 5-1, in a national semifinal game played at Herb Brooks Arena in Lake Placid, N.Y. The Knights turned a 2014 at-large bid into wins over Nichols (Mass.), 3-2, and Norwich (Vt.), 3-2, for the first NCAA Tournament victories in program history. Playing in its first-ever national semifinal, Geneseo fell to eventual national champion St. Norbert (Wisc.), 6-2, in a game played in Lewiston, Maine. The Knights made back-to-back NCAA Tournament showings in 2005 and 2006 along with their first appearance in 1990.
 
GENESEO VS. NORWICH
Friday marks only the second time Geneseo has faced Norwich in its 44-year history. The Knights defeated the visiting Cadets, 3-2 (Mar. 16), in the 2014 NCAA Quarterfinals to earn their first NCAA Frozen Four appearance ever. Trailing, 2-0, midway through the second period, Geneseo forward Tyler Brickler '15 scored three-straight tallies, including a pair of power-play tallies to start the comeback, en route to the victory. 
 
GENESEO AGAINST THE SEMIFINAL FIELD
Geneseo has played Hobart 71 times in program history, leading the all-time series, 42-26-3. In the teams' most recent meeting, the Knights defeated the host Statesmen, 4-2, in the first-round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament. Geneseo has only face Wisconsin-Stevens Point once, falling to the Pointers, 6-2, in the 2016 NCAA Tournament Semifinals played in Lake Placid, N.Y.
 
GENESEO IN THE SUNYAC
Geneseo closed the regular season with a 13-1-2 record in the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) to clinch the top seed for the postseason tournament. Receiving a first-round bye to the semifinals, the Knights defeated fifth-seeded Fredonia at home, 5-2, before moving past second-seeded Oswego, 4-3, in the championship game for their second-straight and sixth overall league title. Geneseo also won the 2016 championship, back-to-back crowns in 2005 and 2006, and its first championship in 1986. 
 
SUNYAC CHAMPIONSHIP RECAP
Geneseo senior defenseman Mitch Ferguson totaled two goals and an assist, including what proved to be the game-winning tally with 5:05 left in regulation to lead the Knights to a 4-3 victory over visiting Oswego in the SUNYAC Championship game (March 2). The Lakers opened the scoring in the fifth minute of action, but Ferguson scored the first of three-straight Geneseo goals to put the Knights on top, 3-1, with under five minutes left in the second period. Oswego notched back-to-back tallies to re-tie the game, 3-3, with 9:52 left in regulation, but Ferguson scored on a shot from the top of the zone that evaded a screened Laker goalie for the deciding tally. Ferguson was voted Tournament MVP for his efforts. 
 
HOME COOKIN'
Geneseo finished the season with a 14-0-1 home record this winter and is 62-16-8 (.767) over the last six seasons while only losing four times at home in the last four (47-4-7/.871). The Knights out-scored visiting teams, 77-16, this season, including a 22-5 edge in power-play goals while killing 49-of-54 short-handed situations. Geneseo only trailed five times at Wilson Ice Arena this season, coming back to finish with a 4-0-1 record in those games. The Knights faced a multiple-goal deficit only once, making up a 3-1 deficit with 10:59 left in the second period to tie Buffalo State, 4-4, in the home-opener (Nov. 3).
 
WE'RE GOING STREAKING!
Geneseo rides the nation's second-longest unbeaten streak into Saturday's game, compiling a 22-0-1 record it its last 23 outings, which is tied for the 11th-longest streak in Division III history. (UW-Stevens Point owns a 27-0-2 record this season, tied for 4th all-time). The Knights also set a program record with 17-straight victories earlier this season, more than doubling the previous record of eight achieved during the 1976-77 campaign and again in 1990-91. 
 
QUICK OUT OF THE BLOCKS
Geneseo owns a 19-0-1 record this season when scoring first and is 21-0-1 when leading after the first period (scored first and led, 3-2, at Oswego, finished tied, 4-4). The Knights have out-scored their opposition, 54-12, in the first period and have only trailed twice (vs. Buffalo St., at Plattsburgh) following 20 minutes of play. Geneseo is also 25-0-0 when leading after the second period. 
 
TAKE ME TO YOUR LEADER
Geneseo owns the nation's top scoring offense and defense, leading the way with 5.00 goals per game while only allowing 1.21 per outing for a +3.79 scoring margin. The Knights power play also ranks first in Division III, converting 29 percent of their opportunities (40-138/.290).
 
NO SOUP FOR YOU
Geneseo set an NCAA Division III record with 12 shutouts this season. The Knights blanked visiting Cortland, 3-0 (Feb. 8), to surpass the 11 shutouts Middlebury registered during the 2000-01 campaign.
 
HAPPY MEAL
Geneseo senior goalie Devin McDonald was voted the 2019 SUNYAC Goalie of the Year and a First-Team SUNYAC All-Star. He currently leads the nation with a 1.15 goals against average, which would be the fourth-best single-season mark in Division III history if the season ended today. McDonald also ranks third in the country with a .943 save percentage, which would tie for 16th in Division III history. He has compiled a 23-1-2 record to move up to fifth in Division III history with a 70-13-13 career record while his 12 shutouts this season broke the previous record 10 compiled by St. Norbert's Kyle Jones in 2008. McDonald also tied the Division III record with four-straight shutouts this season while not allowing a goal for 258:49 over six games for the fourth-longest scoreless streak in Division III history. HIs 18 career shutouts rank fourth in D3 history.
 
PERFECT 10
Geneseo junior forward Conlan Keenan was tabbed the 2019 Herb Hammond Award winner as the SUNYAC Player of the Year. Ranked second nationally with 1.85 points per game, Keenan is also tied for second with 0.88 goals per game and tied for 11th with 0.96 assists per game. Held without a point in only three of his 26 appearances this winter, he is currently tied for second in Division III with 48 points, tied for second with 23 goals and tied for 14th with 25 assists. He recently moved up to 20th in program history with his 122nd-career point while his 64 goals are 13th. Keenan has followed up a sophomore campaign punctuated with third-team All-America honors by repeating as a SUNYAC First-Team All-Star. He also landed second-team honors as a first-year on his way to SUNYAC Rookie of the Year recognition. Keenan is the sixth player in program history to win the Herb Hammond and first since Stephen Collins '17 won back-to-back honors in 2016 and 2017.
 
ALL LAGRONE UP
Geneseo senior defenseman Duggie Lagrone was voted a First-Team SUNYAC All-Star. Lagrone followed up third-team recognition a year ago after transferring from Division-I Colorado College by landing his second-straight all-league citation. Tied for fifth among Division III defenseman with 27 points and 1.00 points per game, his 20 assists are tied for 38th among all players.
 
MITCH-A-PALOOZA
Geneseo senior defenseman Mitch Ferguson was named a SUNYAC Second-Team All-Star this season. The top-scoring defenseman in Division III with 1.29 points per game, he is also tied for 22nd with 36 points and tied for eighth with 27 assists following his four-assist showing in last Saturday's 8-2 NCAA Quarterfinal win over Manhattanville. Transferring from Division I Vermont prior to the 2015-16 campaign, his final collegiate season has included SUNYAC Tournament MVP honors after notching two goals, including the game-winning, third-period tally with 5:05 left in regulation, in the Knights' 4-3 victory over Oswego in the championship game. 
 
ROMANO EMPIRE
Geneseo junior forward Andrew Romano leads the nation with 52 points, 42 assists, 1.86 points per game and 1.48 assists per game. Voted second-team All-SUNYAC for the first all-league honor of his collegiate career, he has scored at least one point in all but two of the Knights' games this winter, including a 16-game stretch that was the longest in Division III this season. Currently tied for ninth in Geneseo history with 90 assists and 22nd with 115 career points, he was named to the SUNYAC All-Tournament Team after a two-assist outing opposite Oswego in the championship game that followed a one-goal/three-assist performance in the Knights' 5-2 semifinal win over Fredonia.
 
EMPEY HANDED
Geneseo junior forward Tyson Empey landed his second-straight SUNYAC Second-Team honor. Tied for 32nd nationally with 14 goals and tied for 48th with 1.11 points per game, he is second in the country with 11 power play tallies. Empey notched a power-play goal as well as two assists in the Knights' SUNYAC Championship victory over Oswego to land a slot on the All-Tournament team. 
 
TO-MARRA, TO-MARRA, I LOVE YA, TO-MARRA
Geneseo senior forward Anthony Marra has played in 113 of 114 games since pulling a Knights' sweater over his head for the first time four years ago. Only missing the Canton game earlier this season due to a minor injury, Marra has totaled 95 points and is tied for 27th in program history with 70 career assists. Geneseo has compiled an 82-19-13 (.776 W%) record for the winningest four-year run in program history. Classmate Arthur Gordon is close behind, making 104 appearances entering the week.
 
20-20 VISION
Only eight teams in the 44-year history of Geneseo men's ice hockey have accumulated at least 20 wins, including four in the last six years under head coach Chris Schultz:
 
Season | Record | W%
2018-19 | 25-1-2 | .929
2017-18 | 20-5-3 | .719
2015-16 | 20-4-6 | .767 
2013-14 | 23-6-0 | .793 
1990-91 | 23-4-3 | .817 
1989-90 | 23-9-2 | .706 
1985-86 | 20-15-1 | .569 
1984-85 | 22-10-1 | .682
 
SCOUTING THE CADETS
Norwich is in the hunt for its fifth NCAA Division III National Championship and second in the last three years after defeating Trinity (Conn.), 4-1, to win the 2017 title in Utica, N.Y. The Cadets also won crowns in 2010, 2003 and 2000 while finishing runner--up in 2002. Norwich claimed its 13th New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) Tournament title with a 2-1 victory over Hobart College (March 2) in the friendly confines of Kreitzberg Arena to earn its 18th NCAA Tournament appearance. The Cadets ride the nation's third-longest unbeaten streak into Friday's game, compiling a 15-0-2 record in their last 17 outings. Sophomore forward Felix Brassard leads the team with 28 points and 17 assists while first-year forward Brett Ouderkirk is second with 26 points, including a squad-high 14 goals. Brassard scored the overtime game-winning goal in last Saturday's 2-1 NCAA Quarterfinal victory over the University of New England while Tom Aubrun was credited with 27 saves, including 13 in the second period, to preserve the win.