Courtesy Elmira College
Score: Elmira College 3, #4/4 SUNY Geneseo 2
Records: Elmira (4-5-1), SUNY Geneseo (7-2-0)
Location: Murray Athletic Center – Pine Valley, N.Y.
PINE VALLEY, N.Y. -- A two-goal deficit late in the second period did little to shake the confidence of the Elmira College men's ice hockey team, who scored three unanswered goals to complete the comeback and knock-off No. 4/4 nationally-ranked SUNY Geneseo, 3-2. The Soaring Eagles scored twice in the final 2:12 of the third frame to secure their third win over a nationally-ranked opponent this season.
The opening 20 minutes of this evening's bout was filled with good back-and-forth action, with the Knights holding a 15-7 lead in shots on goal. Despite the eight-shot deficit, Elmira skated into the first intermission tied at 0-0. Gennaro Anzevino '21, EC's starting goaltender, made 15 stops in the period to keep the nationally-ranked Knights off of the scoreboard.
Although Geneseo had more scoring chances in the first period, Elmira might have had the best opportunity to break the stalemate. With less than four minutes remaining in the opening period, rookie Devin Pierce '21 snapped a shot from the crease that was saved, but the rebound bounced right back to Pierce in the slot with Geneseo's Devin McDonald scrambling on the ice. Pierce one-timed the puck with hopes of finding the back of the cage, but his attempt missed just a fraction wide to keep today's game scoreless.
Mitch Ferguson broke the 0-0 tie with a power-play goal 5:39 into the second stanza. Ferguson weaved a shot from the point that beat a screened Anzevino for the score. Duggie Lagrone and Conlan Keenan were credited with assists on the game-opening goal.
Special teams continued to play a theme in the second period, as Geneseo's Tyson Empey doubled his team's lead with a shorthanded goal at 12:23. Physical play behind the EC cage knocked the puck loose and it made its way to the neutral zone, where Empey carried it into the slot and rifled a wrist shot over Anezevino's shoulder for the score.
With the period coming to a close, it looked as though Geneseo was going to skate into the second intermission with a two-goal lead, but third-year forward Mitch Atkins '19 cut the deficit to just one with his first goal of the season. Following a blocked shot by Jamie Dorsey '21 in Elmira's defensive zone, fellow rookie Justin Robertson '21 created a 2-on-1 rush with Atkins. Robertson dumped the puck to Atkins in the zone, at which point the veteran skater buried the puck past McDonald for Elmira's first score of the game with 1:42 left on the clock.
The goal from Atkins sent the Soaring Eagles into the final intermission trailing the Knights by just one goal, 2-1.
Elmira was held without a shot attempt in the first 10 minutes, which set the stage for Geneseo to clinch their eighth win of the season. However, the Soaring Eagles showed just how resilient they can be with their backs against the wall, as Nick Ford '20 knotted the game at 2-2 with 2:12 left on the clock.
Following a fierce attack from the Knights, Connor Powell '20 won a puck battle along the boards and sent a long tape-to-tape pass to Ford. From there, Ford beat one Geneseo defenseman before sliding a shot, while falling to the ice, through McDonald's five-hole for the game-tying score.
A tripping penalty was called against Geneseo's Ferguson on the Ford goal, which put Elmira on the power play, and boarding call on Carson Kelley at 19:03 made it a 5-on-3 power play for the Soaring Eagles. Ferguson's penalty ended at 19:48, but Spencer MacLean '20 scored the biggest goal of his collegiate career on a 5-on-4 power play 11 seconds later to clinch the comeback win for the Purple and Gold.
With the game just seconds away from heading into overtime, a pass from Ryan Blais '21 found Powell at the right point, where he fired a low-lining shot towards the goal. MacLean was camped out in the high slot and muscled off a defender, before redirecting the puck through McDonald's five-hole for the game-winning score with just one second left on the game clock.
Powell finished with a game-high two points on a pair of assists, while MacLean, Ford and Atkins registered one goal apiece. Robertson, Dorsey and Blais all ended today's contest with one point on one assist each.
Although Elmira's offense stole the headlines with its late heroics, a good amount of credit should also be awarded to the team's starting netminder, Anzevino. The rookie goalie made a career-high 43 saves in the win, his second against a nationally-ranked opponent. Of his 43 stops, 17 came in the third period in which he held the Knights scoreless.
In His Own Words…
Head Coach Aaron Saul shares his initial thoughts on Elmira's play this evening…
"I thought we were really good in our d-zone and we knew that they were obviously a great offensive team, and they showed that tonight, but I though our 'd' battled hard. We could have done a little better job on the wings and along the boards, but just found a way to win, and when you win games like this in November, especially against a No. 4 team like Geneseo, they are going to help us out in March. That was the message I said to them heading into the third period. We never quit."
Coach Saul talks about EC's resiliency and pulling out a late win…
"We battled through a lot of adversity, got a power play late in the game and took full advantage of it."
Coach Saul talks about the efforts of Anzevino in net…
"He's been solid all year. He's a very focused individual, plays calm and he's very fast, which actually reminds me of Sal [Magliocco] a little bit with how quick he is. But he's been great all year for us and it's hard to not go back to him after a performance like this. We have a real battle in there between him, [Jake] Sabourin and Charl [Pretorius], so that's a good situation for us."
Coach Saul shares his thoughts on how this helps EC's confidence moving forward…
"It's huge for our young guys. We have a young group and when you beat a team like that your confidence really goes through the roof. For us to make a play like that, between three sophomores, it's pretty special stuff. So we are going to build off of it, but again it was a good week of practice leading up to today's game and it was a good bounce back after a tough loss on Tuesday."
News and Notes
- Elmira earned its third win over a nationally-ranked opponent this season.
- It was EC's first win against a top-four ranked opponent since defeating SUNY Geneseo, 5-1, on January 9, 2016.
- Two of Elmira's nationally-ranked wins this season have taken place on home ice.
- The Soaring Eagles improved to 3-2-0 at the Murray Athletic Center.
- Elmira is 2-0 this season in games decided by one goal.
- MacLean scored his team-leading second game-winning goal of the season.
- Powell produced his fourth multi-point game of the season and his third multi-assist effort.
- Powell leads the Soaring Eagles with 11 assists.
- Ford scored his team-leading 11th goal of the 2017-18 campaign.
- Atkins scored his first goal of the season, which sparked EC's three straight goals.
- Robertson was credited with his first career assist.
- Anzevino improved to 2-1-1 on the year.
- Anzevino's 43 saves were a career high and marked the second time this season he has produced 40 or more.
The Soaring Eagles are back in action this Friday, December 1, when they host Chatham University in United Collegiate Hockey Conference (UCHC) action. The opening puck drop is set for 7:00 p.m. at the Murray Athletic Center.