Women’s club hockey hopes to get off to fast start in holiday season

Alex Harroun

After a disappointing showing at the American Collegiate Hockey Association Showcase in Chicago earlier this month, the Grand Valley State University women’s club hockey team looks to build on early season success and improve on its 8-5-1 record.

With strong showings offensively, the goals aren’t necessarily transferring to wins as often as the team would like.

“We wish we had a few more wins to account for our hard work,” said Shelby Kucharski, senior forward and assistant captain. “I think we are performing well, we just need to come together as a team and play to our full potential every period, not just part of the game.”

With back-to-back victories against Central Michigan University on Nov. 17 and 18, the Lakers have given themselves some momentum.

“Prior to Thanksgiving, we’re together so much with practice and games that we get some good camaraderie (developed),” said co-head coach Sean McKernan. “It’s nice for everyone to get a little break to go home, re-focus on what needs to be done and come back more motivated.”

It’s been up and down this season so far for the Lakers, but McKernan said that’s to be expected with the amount of underclassmen on the team.

“Some games we play real well and lose, like against Rhode Island; some games we play not so well and win. I believe we can compete for a league championship (this season),” McKernan said. “We’re trying to get the team to play for a full 60 minutes consistency, if we can (do that) we should be in every game with a chance to win.”

With some individual talents leading to strong team play, the Lakers have shown games of brilliance so far this season.

“All of the forwards scored throughout the weekend against Central Michigan University, which is a plus,” McKernan said. “Any forward can put the puck in the net. It’s using the ice as a five man system to create those opportunities instead of relying on one person to take the bull by the horns and do all the hard work.”

Working better as a team, coming together game in and game out, is an area the Lakers hope to improve on as the season progresses.

“For the rest of the season I hope that we can grow closer as a team so that we can play better together on the ice,” said junior forward Lauren Barlog.

Mentality is another area the Lakers look to focus on going forward.
“(One of) our weaknesses are dealing with the task at hand and being mentally focused,” Kucharski said. “I am expecting the team to come together and win more games as a whole rather than individually.”

The Lakers will have their first of many tough post-Thanksgiving challenges with Miami University (OH) coming to Georgetown Ice Arena on Nov. 30 and Dec. 1.
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