By Ray Biggs
Managing Editor, D3hockey.com
STEVENS POINT, Wis. -- When you talk about Geneseo, it doesn’t take long for their goaltender, Devin McDonald, to enter the conversation. The senior has been one of the nation’s top stars all season long with a new Division III record 12 shutouts in a single season. He is one of the finalists for the Sid Watson award that will be presented Thursday night, and we caught up with the Knights’ backstop prior to the big weekend ahead.
|Geneseo's Devin McDonald makes his second semifinal appearance looking to tote the Knights all the way to the finish line.
D3photography.com File Photo
D3hky: You guys have been here before in the Frozen Four in your time at Geneseo back in 2016. What is the atmosphere like on campus and in a community that supports you so, so well in the week leading up to this and your travel to Wisconsin?
DM: I think it’s been pretty good overall. School is on spring break here, so we were wondering how the crowd was going to be in the quarterfinal game, but everyone showed up and it was pretty packed. We just get great support no matter what the game is and it’s been even better here in the playoff stretch here. We just left for the airport and there were people there to wish us off, which just goes to show how much this community really supports us. I think if the game wasn’t on Spring Break there would have been a lot more students at the quarterfinal, but that was just the timing of the game.
D3HKY: What do you remember most about that first Frozen Four run back in 2016 as a Freshman?
DM: I think it’s just the run we were on and everything that happened that year, the emotion we were playing with, and the group of guys we had. We all knew who we were playing for and what we were playing for. I think we were on a roll with good momentum and ran into a good team but didn’t play our best game. As far as the experience goes and being with that group of guys, it’s something i’ll never forget.
D3HKY: The run you’ve been on this season is nothing short of incredible. Your save percentage is north of 94 percent, your GAA is remarkable, you’ve got twelve shutouts. What have you felt and seen in the progression of your own game over the course of this year?
DM: I think we focused a lot on defense this year and the boys have been blocking a lot more shots than in the other years that i’ve been here. It’s allowed me to get into a rhythm and take it day-by-day. We had a good regular season with the shutouts and whatnot, but when it comes down to it, the way we play allows me to make the saves I need to make. When you score five goals a game, it gives some leeway for the backend to just go out and play your game.
D3HKY: You have a one loss team. What specifically clicked this year to get you this far?
DM: I just think the culture and the group of guys we have clicked. We go four lines deep and they just go hard every night. If one line doesn’t score one day, another line does and so on and so forth. We have seven solid defensemen that can shut down anyone out there. It all adds up and we have such a tight group of guys on and off the ice, so that helps.
D3HKY: You’re up for the Sid Watson Award here on Thursday night. What would that mean to you?
DM: It would be a cool accomplishment for myself. I wanted to have the best senior year that I could and it’s just an honor to be nominated. It’s a great group of guys on that list, a lot of goalies and a lot of great guys. I think it’d be a cool accomplishment on top of a good weekend, but I know we’re going for that title on Saturday and that’s what we’re focused on for now.
D3HKY: You’re really well supported in that Geneseo community. What’s it like to play goal at the Ira?
DM: Nothing beats that feeling, having 1500-2000 fans going crazy from the blue crew to the pep band. It’s just an amazing place to play at.
D3HKY: What’s next for you after this weekend? Have you given much thought to playing, are you going to just stick around and get your degree and go from there? What’s the next step for Devin McDonald?
DM: I’m definitely going to try and play here. Once the season’s over i’ll touch base with a few people and see what may be out there. I haven’t really thought too much about it but I know I want to play and I think i’d enjoy getting a chance to play overseas. I studied abroad (in Italy) for a bit so I wouldn’t mind getting a chance to spend more time over there.
The Knights play their semifinal game on Friday at 7:00 p.m. CT against Norwich University.