GVSU Division III hockey sweeps SVSU

GVSU Division III hockey sweeps SVSU

Beau Troutman

Grand Valley State’s Division III hockey team played a home-and-away series against rival Saginaw Valley State over the weekend.

The Lakers not only swept the Cardinals with a pair of wins, but learned how to win in crunch time as well.

“We didn’t play as good as we should, but it was a good win,” said GVSU head coach Charlie Link. “The guys are finally learning to win close games.”

GVSU won the first game on the road 6-3, and got two goals from senior forward Nate Dykstra.

The second game at home was one for the books. Tied 4-4 in overtime after three periods of intensely chippy play, GVSU had a 4-on-3 power play.

GVSU won the puck drop, and controlled the puck in Cardinal territory.

After a slapshot nearly went in, a group of Lakers and Cardinals fought over the puck in front of the SVSU net. GVSU senior forward Blaine Marney got ahold of it just long enough, and scored the winning goal 56 seconds into the overtime period.

“It was pretty intense,” Marney said. “We had the coaches draw something out before, and it was just get it to the net, pound it home. We wanted to set it up since we had a 4-on-3.”

The goal was the second of the night for Marney.

The game was chippy until the tail end, and a number of fights broke out during the game. With under 10 minutes to play in the second period, GVSU’s 6-foot-5-inch Eric Vanderklok checked SVSU’s 5-foot-10-inch Brody Duncan into the boards.

A few minutes later, after a goal from GVSU’s Tyler Stoller to make it 2-2, Duncan got his revenge. He tackled Vanderklok right by the boards in front of the fans. Duncan threw multiple punches while on top of Vanderklok, and it took three referees to restrain him. Duncan was ejected, and both teams received penalties.

GVSU goalie Jack Lindsay, who was injured twice due to hits from SVSU players, said the team is good at rebounding from these types of situations, even against their rival.

“With our guys, it’s nothing,” he said. “We try to focus on what’s important, and that’s just winning the game, doing the right things in the back end. I wasn’t too worried.

“I believe in our guys, and I know our guys believe in our own guys. We knew we were going to come out with that one.”

Although Lindsay allowed four goals on the night, he was a key part of a Laker defensive effort that came up on top when it mattered most. He had 16 saves on the night.

GVSU improved to 13-3 on the season, while SVSU fell to 4-11.

GVSU has a two-game home series with Butler next weekend, but with a home-and-away series with Calvin College looming the weekend after that, Link says the team needs to stay focused.

“We’ve got to start preparing, and hopefully we don’t overlook Butler before we get to Calvin. (We’re) pretty happy with the results this weekend, didn’t play our best, but (we) still won,” Link said.

Marney says no one’s looking ahead at the moment, and the team is savoring their wins in the 2015 edition of the Battle of the Valleys.

“Beating Saginaw Valley is obviously huge every year and gets everyone going, but it was really just a battle for both teams,” Marney said. “We really just learned how to win, and we came together as a team.”