NHL all-time leading scorer Wayne Gretzky once said “You miss 100 percent of the shots you don’t take.”
If a fan looked at the scorecard for the Grand Valley State University DII men’s club ice hockey team this weekend, they probably would have thought the Lakers got the message loud and clear. After all, the Lakers out-shot the Miami (Ohio) Redhawks 104-53 in their two-game series on Friday, Dec. 7 and Saturday, Dec. 8.
A boatload of shots, however, did not translate into wins out on the ice for the Lakers. On Friday, Miami defeated GVSU 4-2 despite only having 16 shots the entire game. On Saturday, GVSU dialed up the intensity, but once again came out on the wrong side of the contest, a 3-2 loss in overtime where they out-shot the Redhawks 59-37.
“There were some goofy bounces, some goofy plays, but it is what it is,” said head coach Carl Trosien after game one.
In spite of a few bad bounces, Trosien attributed their problems in game one to spotty defense and poor shot selection.
“In our defensive zones we struggled a little bit with our coverage,” Trosien said. “We had 45, 46 shots on offense but their goalie saw way too many of them.”
Game two also saw a slow start on the scoreboard despite GVSU once again putting up shots at a high clip. Miami took a 1-0 lead halfway through the first despite being out-shot 19-7 at the end of the period.
The Redhawks then expanded on their lead with another goal at the 16:09 mark early on in the second period.
Down 2-0, GVSU kept up the pressure on the offensive end with freshman forward Trevor Zenas scoring on a 15-foot slap shot out left of the Miami goal with 12:41 remaining and senior forward Austin Koleski dumping in another goal with 7:09 on the clock in the second period to tie the score at two a piece.
As the second period began to wind down, chippiness set in between the Lakers and Redhawks. In a game that featured GVSU and Miami being whistled for 14 combined penalties, GVSU captain Lucas Little and sophomore forward Danny DeBlouw traded blows with a pair of Redhawks defensemen behind Miami’s goal with 2:15 remaining.
Despite tensions remaining high at the start of the third period and having three out of the four penalties in the period called against them, GVSU still kept up the pressure on the offensive end to no avail. The Lakers out-shot Miami 22-11 in the period but could not sneak a puck past Miami’s pipe protector when the final horn sounded.
Perhaps frustrated at the end of regulation, the Lakers kicked the pressure up even further on offense and got off three shots in the first 55 seconds of overtime. The Redhawks used the Lakers’ aggressive strategy against them though, and snuck a forward behind the GVSU defensive line to score the game-winning goal on a breakaway one minute and four seconds into the extra period.
“They got a guy behind us and they hit him with the puck,” Trosien said. “We had pressure, pressure, pressure, they sneak a guy and game over, thanks for coming.”
After scoring one of his team’s two goals, Koleski felt his team could have had a more complete game in terms of intensity.
“I think the big difference today was we didn’t come out with a sense of intensity and they came out ready to play today,” Koleski said.
Up next the Lakers have a home-away two game weekend series against Davenport on Dec. 14 and 15 to close out the semester.
“That’s a crosstown rivalry game so we should have some energy and be ready to go,” Trosien said. “So we’re excited to get back at it and hopefully finish the semester strong.”