GVSU D2 hockey bullies Southern Illinois-Edwardsville in two-game sweep

GVL / Emily Frye      
Grand Valley celebrates after a goal during the game against Michigan State on Friday Jan. 27, 2017.

Emily Frye

GVL / Emily Frye Grand Valley celebrates after a goal during the game against Michigan State on Friday Jan. 27, 2017.

Robbie Triano

To sum up this past weekend for the Grand Valley State club hockey team (Division II) against Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, head coach Mike Forbes compares his team’s success to his head of, or lack thereof, hair.

“When we don’t play well, it makes it easy to realize the reason why I’m bald,” Forbes said. “It was the type of weekend where everything was working so well that I could just sit back and open the barn door to let the horses ride.”

The Lakers took both games of the two-game series, bullying Southern Illinois by outscoring them 23-5 with a 10-2 victory Friday, Feb. 3 and a dominating 13-3 win Saturday, Feb. 4 on the road.

Offensively, 11 different Lakers found the back of the net this weekend as GVSU gave Southern Illinois goaltenders no shortage of work, putting up over 50 shots on goal per game.

Shining bright for the Lakers this weekend was junior Tommy Carey, who had a hat trick in both games, firing on all cylinders. Forbes gave high praise to his line and the offensive production as a whole

“You know it’s going to be good weekend when you’re number one scoring line (consisting of Collin Finkhouse, Matt Sherman, and Ryan Hein) doesn’t have to carry the offense and let the rest of the team take over,” Forbes said. “Carey had a slow start to his season, just like players on the other line, so to see him and the other finally emerge is a great sign for us moving forward.”

Having other players step up since their last loss (Dec. 3) has been the theme for the Lakers as the offense has seemed to reach its perfect mix of cohesion throughout the group. Sophomore Austin Koleski, who scored three goals during the weekend, says a major part of that success has come from them finally playing hockey the right way.

“Each of my linemates and myself are working together at being unselfish, which leads itself to many opportunities,” Koleski said. “As a team, I think we have really grown up from where we started and are playing with confidence. We’re looking to make the right hockey play more than ever now.”

Other Lakers leading the scoring surge during the weekend were: Ryker Barber (4 goals), Thomas Luzynski (2 G), Cameron Dyde (2 G), Collin Finkhouse, Nicholas Beers, Daniel Smith, Troy Marrett, Alex Ostrowski, and Connor McEvoy. Forbes says when the games get to this level of domination, there’s not much he can personally do as a coach.

“You go through situations as a coach where you just can’t coach to get through to your players,” Forbes said. “During a game, you never want to get too cocky that you’re going to win, but in this instance it was difficult to not think anything but that. Players will go out there and try to get fancy but all I can do is hope they don’t get hurt.”

Laker goaltenders have proved to be incredibly reliable this season. Goaltender Jared Maddock had 27 saves the first game, while backup Hunter Myers snagged 31 saves in the series finale.

As the No. 2 ranked team in their league, the focus from this point on has been shifted to claiming the No. 1 spot and continue to tweak their mistakes before playoff play, which starts Feb. 25.

But until then, GVSU (19-4-2) has only four more regular season games, including a weekend series against Michigan on the road Friday, Feb. 10 and at Georgetown Ice Center Saturday, Feb. 11.