GVSU men’s D2 hockey dominates in opener victory over Indiana University of Pennsylvania

GVL / Emily Frye
GVSU D2 Hockey takes on Indiana University of Pennsylvania on Friday September 22, 2017.

GVL / Emily Frye GVSU D2 Hockey takes on Indiana University of Pennsylvania on Friday September 22, 2017.

Robbie Triano

Although temperatures reached the 90s during Family Weekend, the Grand Valley State men’s club hockey team (Division II) finally opened its season on the ice rink. 

The hot weather didn’t melt GVSU’s night, as the Lakers dominated from the opening face-off to the final buzzer to defeat Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) 10-1 Friday, Sept. 22, at Georgetown Ice Center. 

The Lakers added seven newcomers to a roster that only lost four seniors to graduation. Last season, GVSU finished its regular season 23-4-3 and made a playoff push as far as the semifinals of the ACHA Division II National Championship tournament last March. 

GVSU head coach Mike Forbes came into the game with winning expectations, but he didn’t anticipate his newly formed team clicking together as well as they did.

“In terms of expectations, it was just a good, solid effort,” Forbes said. “We had really solid goaltending that was backed up by our defense. I wasn’t sure what to expect out of some of our forward lines, but I thought we showed good balance tonight.”

The Lakers tacked on their first goal just eight minutes into the first period after Ryan Hein had a clean slapshot in front of the goal, assisted by Lucas Little and Troy Marrett. Six minutes later, Zach Resnick joined the scoring party, getting a clean look on a breakaway after crisp passes from Little and Nicholas Beers started the break. Little finished the game with five assists. 

GVSU entered the second period with a 2-0 lead and didn’t stop there. After an IUP penalty, Laker Connor McEvoy capitalized on the power play to make it 3-0 and excite the entire GVSU bench. Lakers Tommy Carey and Austin Koleski were both credited with assists.

One minute later, the IUP Crimson Hawks tacked on their first goal of the evening, breaking up the shutout for GVSU goaltender Jared Maddock, who finished the night with 27 saves.

After IUP’s lone goal, the Lakers scored seven unanswered goals, including five in the third period, to close out the game’s 10-1 final score. Other goalscorers for the Lakers were Cameron Dyde (three goals), Troy Marrett, Tommy Carey and Evan Newell.

The Lakers finished with 50 shots on goal, compared to the Crimson Hawks’ 28.

For a team that only had two weeks to practice and prepare for their first game, Forbes could have taken the credit for his team’s decisive victory, but he didn’t.

“I was actually at my 60th birthday this past weekend fishing in Louisiana, and (assistant coach Dan Gadbois) ran practice,” Forbes said. “To explain how we got a 10-1 score, I may have to defer to him. He did a really good job preparing our team, and the players responded.”

Although the joy of winning is at the highest for the new team, Forbes realizes that the team cannot get too happy after just one game.

“My concern in winning 10-1 is that they think it’s going to be this easy every single night,” he said. “Not that they didn’t work hard, but you don’t want to get complacent, and we want to continue to work.”

For most Division II hockey programs, teams have the ability to recruit and offer scholarships to recruits. However, since hockey is considered a club sport at GVSU, the only form of recruitment the team can do is finding players willing to commit their time to the program. 

Forbes credits his current players for inviting interested players to join one of the most successful club sports at GVSU.

“The freshmen that we’ve got and the new players we had come to the team all came because they had friends here,” Forbes said. “That helps with the process. They’re building that bond right away, so that’s really nice. I think it makes the transition much easier for newer players.”

The Lakers will continue play against Bradley University at home Friday, Sept. 29, at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Sept. 30, at 3 p.m.