In March of 2016, Devin McDonald was a freshman starting in goal for the Geneseo men’s ice hockey team as the Knights topped Plattsburgh – then ranked No. 3 in the country – to win the SUNYAC Men’s Ice Hockey Tournament.
McDonald would finish his first season with 24 games started, 17 wins, a 2.46 goals against average, a .921 save percentage, and a trip to the NCAA Frozen Four.
A senior in 2019, McDonald is having the best season of his career as he aims to help Geneseo win another conference championship and get back to the Frozen Four.
“We’ve had a good couple years,” McDonald said. “Last year, we lost to a team we shouldn’t have lost to in the quarterfinals, and last year was a chance to win the national championship. We want to redeem ourselves from that.”
A 2-0 victory over Plattsburgh on January 25 helped Geneseo become the first team to clinch a spot in the SUNAC Tournament for the ninth-consecutive season. A 5-0 victory over Potsdam the following night earned him his 10th shutout this season – tying the NCAA Division 3 record – and pushed McDonald into a tie for ninth place in Division 3 history with 64 career wins.
“We’ve had good teams every year since I’ve been here, so lucky for me, but this year we’re more defensive,” he said. “We have a defense-first mentality. We’re very offensive, but we’re giving up less than one. It’s everybody buying into the defensive system. Everyone is buying in from my end to the other end, and it’s showing in the scoresheet. We can beat teams one or two to nothing or by larger amounts.”
With 26 saves against Plattsburgh and 17 against Potsdam, along with two consecutive shutouts, McDonald was named the SUNYAC Goaltender of the Week. Through January 31, McDonald leads the nation in goals against average (0.89) and save percentage (.956), both of which are career-highs.
“I can’t take all the credit,” McDonald said. “It starts with the team. We average a lot of blocked shots every game. We don’t average a lot of shots every game. We give up one or two high scoring chances, and I have to make a couple saves to keep the boys in it. Our d-corps is one of if not the best in the country. I’m seeing the puck well. We’ve been rolling. Everyone feels like we’re playing the best hockey we’ve played in a while and we’ll just try to keep it going.”
The victory over Potsdam was the team’s 15th consecutive victory. As the team gears up for the playoffs and hopes to earn a trip to the NCAA Tournament for the third time in four years, he said the team is more focused than ever.
“We know how important every game is. We want to put the pedal to the metal,” he said. “Now, everyone minus the freshmen has been to the tournament. We won the SUNYAC. We’ve been to the NCAAs. Everyone knows what to expect and to be prepared.”
Team of the Week
While the week didn’t start how the team would’ve hoped, dropping a 5-2 decision to Elmira, the Valiants came back (valiantly) with a 7-3 victory over Lebanon Valley and a 7-0 victory over Anna Maria College. The victory over Anna Maria was the program’s largest shutout win since a 6-0 victory over Connecticut College in 2013.
Player of the Week
Zach Borsoi, Sr., D, Utica
In a pair of victories over the weekend, Borsoi scored three goals, including two in a 3-0 win over Cortland. He is put himself into a three-way tie for the team lead in goals (8).
Game of the Week
Elmira at Utica, Friday, February 1 (7 p.m.)
Elmira and Utica sit in second and third in the UCHC standings respectively, separated by one point. The last time these two teams met, Utica won in a lopsided victory, 6-0. This time, it’s likely that a first-round bye in the conference tournament is up for grabs.