GVSU DII hockey sweeps Lindenwood-Belleville

GVL / Luke Holmes - Danny Smith (3) handles the puck. GVSU Men’s D2 Hockey defeated Ferris State University with a score of 8-1 on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2016.

Luke Holmes

GVL / Luke Holmes – Danny Smith (3) handles the puck. GVSU Men’s D2 Hockey defeated Ferris State University with a score of 8-1 on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2016.

Natalie Longroy and Josh Peick

In a two-game weekend series, the Grand Valley State Division II men’s club hockey team did something that no other DII team has done against Lindenwood-Belleville. The Lakers traveled to Belleville and swept the Lynx with two 4-3 wins. It marked the first time that a Division II team swept the Lynx on their home ice.

In the first game Friday, Nov. 4, GVSU wasted no time getting on the scoreboard. Forty-five seconds into the first period, GVSU’s Mitch Claggett made a pass that found the stick of Troy Marrett, who fired a shot and gave the Lakers the early lead.

“First shift is usually higher energy, so 30 seconds in we got off the ice and caught a Lindenwood defenseman on a bad change which left the middle (of) the ice open,” Marrett said.

With just over a minute left in the first period, the Lynx struck back. Belleville’s Duane Wainman scored the equalizer with 1:09 left in the period and the Lynx were not done scoring.

Seventeen seconds later, the Lynx snuck the puck behind GVSU goalie Jared Maddock, giving Lindenwood-Belleville its first lead of the game.

The Lynx kept the momentum early in the second period. Two minutes in, Belleville scored again making it 3-1. With two unanswered goals, GVSU needed to find some offensive intensity to start a comeback.

GVSU’s Claggett scored a goal late in the second with a backhand shot under the goalie’s pad.

“We were strong offensively by getting the puck behind their defense and working the corners, making it hard to create chances,” said GVSU goaltender Spencer Craig.

During the third period, GVSU’s Daniel Smith tied the game. The Lakers pushed to gain the lead, but the Lynx kept the pressure on, making it hard to find the back of the net.

With less than 10 minutes left in the game, Collin Finkhouse shot the puck wide, but Zach Resnick picked it up, wrapped around the net and ripped a shot under the crossbar to give GVSU a 4-3 lead.

“We did a good job of pressuring them and not giving them a lot of time and space to work with,” Craig said.

GVSU was able to hold onto the lead for the rest of the third period to get the win.

“(It was a) nice comeback victory and it showed a lot of perseverance,” said GVSU coach Mike Forbes.

Similar to the first game, the Lakers scored early in the first period to take an early lead Saturday, Nov. 5.

Smith scored less than three minutes in, but this time Belleville did not have an answer back.

“As a team not getting too up or too down, not showing a lot of emotion and just sticking to our game plan,” Forbes said. “I thought our defense and back check, and the defensive posture of our forwards did an excellent job against a very dynamic offense.”

After a scoreless second period, the third period proved to be the decisive period. A minute into the period, Finkhouse found the back of the net, but the two goal lead did not last long.

Forty seconds later, Belleville closed the gap, making it 2-1. With penalties being a consistent problem for the Lakers this season, GVSU’s Reede Burnett headed to the penalty box for a cross-checking minor. On the ensuing power play, Belleville scored to tie the game.

At 15:05, the Lakers regained the lead with a goal from Claggett, but the lead did not last long. Belleville found the equalizer again, forcing the game into overtime.

In the extra period, GVSU’s Austin Koleski used his speed to break free from Belleville and scored the game-winning goal.

“The biggest thing for me right now is consistency and I don’t think we’ve had that through the first six games of the season,” Forbes said. “I think it’s just a matter of consistent application and improving on the little things in the game and that was just two solid efforts.”

Marrett said these two wins are only stepping stones in the season. Before this weekend, GVSU was ranked No. 3 behind No. 2 Lindenwood-Belleville.