Men’s hockey looks to make run in season’s second half

GVL Archive / Nicole Lamson
A member of the GVSU hockey team battles an opponent as teammate Jeremy Christopher looks on

GVL Archive / Nicole Lamson A member of the GVSU hockey team battles an opponent as teammate Jeremy Christopher looks on

Greg Monahan

For a team that’s used to winning, it has been a difficult year for the Grand Valley State University men’s hockey team.

After finishing each of the last four years multiple games over .500, the team currently sits at 10-9-0 at the midway point in the season, though the club thinks the second half could be different.

The Division II team has played 11 of its 19 games thus far against the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s Division I, but the final 12 games on the schedule are against Division II teams.

“As a team I think we underperformed,” said senior goaltender Grant Lyon. “It was a trying first semester and we have to look at the positive side of things. Like when we did play D-II opponents, we went 5-1.”

Not only did the Lakers load their first-half schedule with Division I teams, the games were against some of the best teams in Division I, including No. 6 Adrian College and No. 2 Davenport University.

“(The schedule) was by design,” said GVSU head coach Mike Forbes. “I wanted to have a tough schedule to push us and to get us battle ready. So there was a method to the madness.”

The Lakers have struggled mightily against the Division I clubs in going 3-8 against the ACHA’s best.

It’s been a different story within their division. In Division II, the Lakers are 5-1 with a plus-13 goal differential.

“I think the only direction we can go is up,” Lyon said. “With the teams that we’re playing and the way the lines are playing together, I definitely think it’s going to improve. These next couple weeks we should be firing on all cylinders and clicking from the offense back to the goaltenders.”

GVSU has also won three of four, including a split against Oakland University, which is ranked No. 10 in ACHA Division I. Junior forward Vinny Klein said the team is starting to come around since they’ve been able to get more games.

“We had about ten new faces on the team, so it took us a little while to mesh and get our chemistry down,” he said. “But in that first half we played a lot of Division I teams, tough competition that will help us out down the stretch here because we’re now playing Division II teams.”

Possibly the biggest positive of the last four games has been the team’s power play, which has found the back of the net at least once in each matchup.

The team will faceoff at Georgetown Ice Arena this Friday at 9 p.m. against Marist College and end the weekend with a Sunday matinee against the University of Minnesota at 4 p.m.

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