GENESEO, N.Y. – The SUNY Geneseo men's ice hockey team opens the 2017-18 campaign hosting Neumann (Pa.) on Friday (Oct. 27) and Nazareth on Saturday (Oct. 28). Twelfth-year head coach Chris Schultz and the Knights will be in the hunt for their second State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) Championship in the last three years along with a return trip to the NCAA Division III Tournament for the third time in the last five seasons.
Geneseo, which was voted No. 10 by d3hockey.com and No. 12 by USCHO.com in their respective preseason polls earlier this week, is back after completing the 2016-17 campaign with a 17-7-3 record, including a 10-5-1 SUNYAC mark to earn the third seed for the conference tournament. It was the fourth time in the last five seasons that the Knights finished with at least 17 victories.
Ranked third in the nation in scoring offense (4.63 goals per game) to close the season, Geneseo earned a 7-0 shutout over visiting Brockport in the first round of the SUNYAC Tournament, before falling at top-seeded Plattsburgh, 5-2, in the semifinals. It was the second straight year the teams met in the conference tournament after Geneseo also scored a 7-0 victory at Plattsburgh in the 2016 championship matchup.
Schultz looks to fill the void left by a talented Class of 2017 that included two-time Sid Watson Award runner-up Stephen Collins and SUNYAC Second-Team defenseman Derek Stahl.
Sophomore forward Conlan Keenan (23 goals, 12 assists, 35 points) heads the list of returners after finishing third in Division III in goals, including eight power play tallies that tied for the seventh-highest total, on his way to second-team All-SUNYAC recognition. Sophomore forwards David Szmyd (11-19-30) and Andrew Romano (9-17-26) also return after finishing third and fourth, respectively in scoring for the Knights.
Senior defenseman Pat Condon (5-15-20), who garnered All-America and All-SUNYAC honors as a sophomore, and sophomore defenseman Cam Russell (2-16-18) highlight the team's returners along the blue line. Condon finished sixth in assists and seventh in scoring while Russell ended up fifth in assists and tied for ninth in scoring for Geneseo a season ago.
Junior goalie Devin McDonald is back after compiling an 11-5-3 record to improve to 28-8-8 with a 2.76 goals against average and a .909 save percentage in two seasons wearing a Knights' sweater.
Schultz welcomes 10 newcomers to the fold for 2017-18, including three Division I transfers in junior defenseman Duggie Lagrone (Colorado College), sophomore forward Erik Pedersen (Michigan Tech) and sophomore defenseman Tanner Salsberry (Bentley).
Following this week's two home tilts, Geneseo will kick off SUNYAC play opposite visiting Buffalo State next Friday (Nov. 3) before taking a trip to Fredonia (Nov. 4) the following day. The Knights will then entertain Potsdam (Nov. 10) and Plattsburgh (Nov. 11) before closing November with back-to-back games at Morrisville (Nov. 17-18) and a trip to Elmira (Nov. 25).
Geneseo will start December with a visit by Oswego (Dec. 1) before closing the semester with games at Cortland (Dec. 2) and Brockport (Dec. 8).
The Knights will only be home once in eight January outings, hosting Fredonia (Jan. 20), while February will feature four out of five contests at home, including a double-header with Canton (Feb. 2-3) and visits from Cortland (Feb. 10) and Oswego (Feb. 11) to close the regular season. The SUNYAC Tournament Quarterfinals are slated for Feb. 21, followed by the semifinals on Feb. 24 and championship on March 3.