AMHERST, Mass. – Despite cutting their deficit to one midway through the second period, a strong showing by the Knights that saw the visitors find the back of the net in each of the three stanza's proved too much to overcome as the Amherst College men's hockey team fell to fourth-ranked SUNY Geneseo, 4-1 Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink.
With the setback, Amherst falls to 1-2-0 on the season, while SUNY Geneseo improves to 8-1-1 overall. Amherst returns to the ice tomorrow, Sunday, Nov. 25 when they travel to No. 13 Babson for a 3 p.m. non-conference contest.
Showing off his skills in between the pipes midway through the opening stanza, Giancarlo Ventre '20 came through for Amherst with a highlight reel save to rob Tyson Empey of a score with 9:24 on the clock. Attempting to capitalize on several quick passes as they entered the zone on a 3-v-2, a no-look backhanded dish by Arthur Gordon to Empey froze Ventre on the left post, however the Mammoth keeper was able to dive across the crease and just get his stick on the puck to keep the matchup deadlocked.
Getting on the board with 5:45 to play before the first intermission, Conlan Keenan netted his ninth goal of the winter to put the visitors ahead, 1-0. Utilizing the extra space on the ice during 4-v-4 play, Duggie Lagrone sent a pass from deep inside his own zone to Mitch Ferguson at the blueline who connected with Keenan behind the Amherst defense for a breakaway. Firing a wrister on frame, Keenan beat the Mammoth keeper bar-down blocker side.
A fast-paced second frame saw three goals scored between the sides, with the Knights taking a 3-1 edge into the final 20 minutes of regulation.
Doubling their advantage at the 7:33 mark, Arthur Gordon made it 2-0 in favor of Geneseo with an assist from Cam Russell. Stepping up to intercept a breakout pass at the blue line, Russell sent a low hard shot toward target that was redirected by Gordon through the legs of the Mammoth goalie.
Breaking though with 9:04 on the clock, Amherst cut its deficit to one behind junior Mark Esposito's first score of the season. In a perfectly executed play, Mitchell Shults '22 raced into the zone down the left boards before using a tight turn at the hash to shake his defender and dish a pass to the Esposito at the blue line who was trailing the play. Ripping a wrist shot on net from the top of the right circle, Esposito found nylon low left side.
The Knights threatened once again at the 17-minute mark, powering two shots off the pipe during a 5-on-3 power play, however the Mammoths were able to weather the storm unscathed.
Regaining a two-goal cushion with 20.2 seconds remaining before the horn, Kennan registered his second score of the battle to put the Knights up, 3-1 as he buried Andrew Romano's rebound after setting up the scoring play with a cross ice pass to Romano on a 2-v-1.
Adding one final insurance tally with under two minutes to play, Zach Lynes potted his first goal of the year with assists from Tanner Salsberry and Cam Russell to clinch the 4-1 victory for Geneseo.
In between the pipes, Ventre (0-2-0) made 32 saves in the losing effort for Amherst, while Devin McDonald (7-1-1) recorded 17 stops in the win.
The Knights owned the edge in shots on frame, 36-18, and finished 0-for-5 up a skater, while Amherst went 0-for-2 on the power play.