Quick start not enough for club hockey

GVL / Archive
Sophomore Katie Danto

GVL / Archive Sophomore Katie Danto

Adam Knorr

Coming into ACHA play on Saturday, Grand Valley State University sophomore forward Kendra Meyers had found the back of the net seven times in just six games this season. November is treating Meyers in the same good graces as last month as she continued her standout play, burying two goals to add to her team-best goals and point totals.

The 2013-14 season started off like a dream for the GVSU women’s club hockey team as it steamrolled competition to the tune of a 3-0 start, outscoring opponents 13-2. Things began to head south for the Lakers during their second game against Miami (Ohio) University, as they fell 4-1, a loss that would be the catalyst to a three-game skid, plummeting the Lakers’ record to a fantastically mediocre 3-3.

GVSU (4-3-0) won big on Saturday, besting Central Michigan University (0-8-1) with a decisive 15-0 victory and swinging its record to the positive side in a confidence-boosting romp.

Although the game was never in doubt, the outcome is a huge boost for GVSU’s psyche as the Lakers’ record moves to 4-3. Despite the lack of tight competition, Laker head coach Darrell Gregorio said the win was instrumental in getting the team returned to standard GVSU form.

“As a whole, we finally got back to Laker hockey,” Gregorio said. “Last week we had some bad injuries, so we shuffled some lines and, as a result, got away from playing our system. No matter who we play, one thing we stress is to play our game, and we won’t deviate from any of our systems.”

The team systems couldn’t have worked any better for GVSU as the game was in hand from the second the first puck hit the ice.

Senior forward Kristen Ianuzzi opened the scoring for the Lakers, sneaking a shot past Chippewa goaltender Cecilia Anscomb, who came up with 33 saves in a losing effort. Ianuzzi potted two more goals throughout the course of play, becoming one of three Laker forwards to tally a hat trick on the night. Joining Ianuzzi in the tri-goal department were fellow forwards and dual sophomores Karyn Schmalz and Stacie Mathieu. GVSU upped the facets of its game in every department, as eight separate Lakers found themselves in the scoring column following Saturday’s victory.

GVSU even dispersed its lethal attack, scoring four goals in the first period, five in the second, and six in the third, all while holding CMU to nary an opportunity. The Chippewas managed a dismal 10 shots on net, hardly testing freshman Laker netminder Taylor Watson, who booked a shutout on the evening.

GVSU showed little shellshock after dropping three consecutive games and losing two players to injury last week—instead coming out in one of its most impressive games of the season.

“In terms of playing together, we’re still kind of working on polishing things up before we get into our league games this season,” said Mathieu, who also connected for three assists on the evening. “It’s tough because we’re losing a lot of players, but everyone else knows they have to step up and play well.”

Playing well resonated through all aspects of the game for the Lakers, who thoroughly put the Chippewas through the mill from start to finish. GVSU knows the importance of focusing on each opponent on a game-by-game basis if it wants to advance to the national tournament this season—a feat the team believes is more than attainable.

“Our lines are working better together, and we’re getting more team chemistry,” Meyers said. “We gained five freshman this year who have all stepped up to the plate, and we can continue to be successful.”