Lakers light lamp 16 times in two games against NMU

GVL/Kevin Sielaff

- A junior from Jenison, MI, Ian Hamilton delivers a punishing blow to the opponent.

GVL/Kevin Sielaff – A junior from Jenison, MI, Ian Hamilton delivers a punishing blow to the opponent.

Adam Knorr

The Grand Valley State University men’s hockey club team rudely welcomed Northern Michigan University to the Georgetown Ice Arena over the weekend by keeping the Wildcats off the scoreboard for more than 100 minutes.

It was an impressive feat for the Lakers, made more impressive by the fact that their starting goaltender, senior Scott Teifenthal, didn’t see a minute of ice time.

GVSU (15-6-1) took game one of the two-night clash, shutting NMU out in dominating fashion with a 6-0 win on Friday night. Freshman goalie Ryan Morey protected the twine to his back admirably, picking up his first collegiate shutout in the victory.

It was much of the same on Saturday night, but with a whole lot more offense, as the Lakers coasted to a 10-2 victory.

“We’ve had four lines that have played well in the last 10 games,” head coach Mike Forbes said. “The first part of our season was very difficult because we had one line doing all of the scoring, and we were looking for more scoring depth.

“Obviously we’re real happy with the way the games went this weekend and we’re real happy with the depth we have offensively.”

The defensive efforts were also impressive.

Dom Juncaj, another freshman netminder, stood between the pipes for the Lakers and, once again, a freshman netminder put the Lakers in a good position to win.

The GVSU skaters didn’t take long to hop in the groove they carved on Friday night, as junior center Tyler Stoller deflected a Nick Heinrich shot through the wickets of the NMU goalie less than three minutes into the game.

Seven minutes later, junior forward Matt Smartt shimmied his way out of a low-corner cluster, drove the net and threw a pass across the crease to an open Brad Wilhelm, who knocked the puck in from a backdoor one-timer.

Less than 30 seconds later, junior forward Mike Bishop jammed a second chance opportunity past the keeper to give the Lakers a 3-0 lead.

The first-period horn sounded, the Lakers held a 4-0 lead, and the Wildcats had just three shots.

Wilhelm opened the scoring in the second with his second goal of the game, then sophomore center Tony Russo joined in next on the scoring parade and put the Lakers up 6-0 to effectively end the goalie’s night.

“We played awesome this weekend,” Russo said, “We knew we couldn’t take this team lightly. We stuck to it.”

NMU brought in its backup goalie, but GVSU cut him no slack.

The suffocating forecheck and barrage of shots continued, as GVSU did what it wanted when it wanted, taking an 8-0 lead into the final stanza.

The Lakers weren’t done yet.

Bobby Penrod and Corbin Rainey added two more goals in the third before NMU finally broke its scoreless streak, knocking its first goal past Juncaj with seven minutes left in the third.

The Wildcats also took advantage of a five-minute powerplay after Bishop was given a game misconduct for boarding and charted their second goal of the game just 17 seconds in on the man advantage.

However, the third period push was too little too late in the wildly successful weekend for the Lakers.

GVSU seems to be playing like an entirely different team in the second half of the year, seemingly finding its rhythm after a 5-3 loss at Lindenwood University that dropped its record to 4-4-1. Since then, GVSU has played well thanks to a mixture of lineup changes and consistent execution.

With the recent offensive surge, the Lakers have won five of their last six games and 11 of their last 13.

GVSU will have less than a week off before their next matchup — a home-and-home series with archrival Michigan State University.

“For the past five years they’ve been our biggest rival,” Heinrich said. “I think everyone really knows what it takes to win these games, prepare and be a team. They stole our nationals last year, and there’s obviously a little revenge that we have to take back.”