Championship or bust: Ryan Hein, DII hockey have high expectations this season

<p>GVL / Andrew Nyhof</p>

GVL / Andrew Nyhof

Kellen Voss

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The month of October is finally underway, and that doesn’t just mean it’s time to start planning your Halloween costume. it’s also time for another season of Grand Valley State men’s DII hockey to start.

While the 2017-18 season did include a 15 game winning streak for the Lakers, it also ended a bit prematurely as GVSU lost to Adrian 4-3 in overtime in the first round of regionals.

After such a successful regular season last year, it’s safe to say that the expectations remain high for the 2018-19 season. The squad, including junior forward Ryan Hein, has been putting in the work this offseason to make sure that regionals loss doesn’t happen again.

“I put in a lot of ice time, getting out there and shooting a lot of pucks, working on my foot speed and agility,” Hein said. “We just did similar things (as a team), working on quick movement around the net.”

Hein had an impressive sophomore year for the Lakers, proving to be a valuable contributor on offense with 13 goals and 12 assists in the regular season, as well as scoring two of the team’s three goals in the regional loss.

As Hein becomes an upperclassmen on this young team, he feels a sense of responsibility to be a leader on this team and sees a bright future for this hockey team.

“We only have a couple of seniors this year, but we still have a lot of leadership on this team to begin with,” Hein said. “It’s hard for the younger guys to be leaders as well, but I think we got a good set-up with our team, and we’re going to have some real good years coming up, and I’m excited for it.”

While former head coach Mike Forbes won’t be returning this season, Hein feels like new head coach Carl Trosien can pick up right where last year’s team left off and help continue the winning legacy that Forbes helped establish.

“I think it was a good change,” Hein said. “It was good for the program, and I think Coach Trosien has a lot to offer. He’s going to bring a lot of good stuff into this program, and I’m really excited for that.

Last year’s team featured more than a few great players who graduated, like Troy Marrett, Reede Burnett and Buck Maynard. As much as their contributions will be missed, Hein and the rest of the Lakers have adopted a next-man-up mentality and will look to freshmen like Trevor Zenas and Matt Schaumburger to step up.

“We have quite a few guys that came in this year that have real good talent,” Hein said. “I think we have one of the better teams here than my last two years.”

Grand Valley State DII hockey often come into the year with high expectations, and this year is no different. This has been a very successful club team over the past ten years, so Hein and the rest of the GVSU hockey team have one goal in mind: it’s national championship or bust for the Lakers.

“Now that I’ve seen us practice and the way everyone shows up and wants to work, I know we can count on each other,” Hein said. “We really have seen that everyone wants to succeed and win that national championship. So if we just keep that drive going, I don’t think we’ll have a problem doing it.

The GVSU DII hockey team looks to get this season started off on the right foot, as for their first road series of the year, they travel to Lewis University to play on Saturday, October 19th and Sunday, Oct. 20. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday and 5:00 p.m. on Sunday.