GENESEO, N.Y. – The SUNY Geneseo men's ice hockey team opens the 2018-19 season this week, traveling to Kings (Pa.) on Friday (7PM) and Neumann (Pa.) on Saturday (4PM). Here are six things you need to know about the Knights this season.
1. VETERAN PRESENCE
Geneseo only graduated two players from last year's SUNYAC Championship squad that finished with a 20-6-3 record and in the NCAA Tournament for the third time in five seasons. Voted No. 5 in the USCHO.com Division III Preseason Poll first in the SUNYAC Coaches Poll, the Knights will be in the hunt for their third conference championship since 2014.
2. IF YOU LIKE LOW-SCORING HOCKEY, SORRY.
Geneseo finished the 2017-18 campaign ranked sixth nationally with 4.31 goals per game and fifth with a +2.24 average scoring margin. The Knights return 115 of 125 goals scored (92.0%) and 324 of 350 points (92.6%) from a season ago, led by third-team All-American junior forward Conlan Keenan, who finished 14th in Division III with 18 goals and tied for 14th with 39 points. Junior forward Andrew Romano is also back after finishing fifth in the country with 31 assists, along with junior forward Tyson Empey, whose 10 power-play tallies tied for second.
3. BACK, BACK, BACK, BACK...
Seven 20-point scorers return, including 30-point performers Keenan (18-21-39), Romano (6-31-37) Empey (21-15-36) and junior forward David Szmyd (12-18-30). Senior defensemen Duggie Lagrone (6-19-25) and Mitch Ferguson (6-17-23) and senior forward Anthony Marra (5-18-23) provide 13th-year head coach Chris Schultz plenty of scoring punch.
4. CLICK YOUR HEELS THREE TIMES
Geneseo finished the 2018-19 season with a 12-1-1 record at Wilson S. Ice Arena, out-scoring its opponents, 64-18. Over the last five seasons, the Knights own a .733 winning percentage on home ice while out-scoring visitors nearly 2-to-1.
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5. OLD MCDONALD
Senior Devin McDonald returns for his final season between the pipes. The winningest goalie in program history, he enters the season with a 47-12-11 record, including a 19-4-3 mark a season ago that ranked fourth in the country. The Knights' all-time leader with a .915 save percentage, his .927 mark last year was the second-highest mark by a Geneseo goalie while his 1.80 goals against average was fifth in the nation.
6. OPPONENT SECTION - (2018-19 SCHEDULE)
After this weekend, Geneseo opens conference play next Friday (Nov. 2) at Fredonia in a rematch of the 2018 SUNYAC Championship game won by the Knights, 7-1. Geneseo hosts Buffalo State the following day (Nov. 3) in the first of 12 home dates this winter. The Knights host Morrisville (Nov. 16-17) on back-to-back nights before welcoming Elmira (Nov. 20) three days later. Annual SUNYAC home showdowns loom, including Oswego (Dec. 1), Brockport (Dec. 7), Plattsburgh (Jan. 25) and Cortland (Feb. 8).