Tommy Carey hits offensive stride for GVSU men’s DII club hockey

GVL / Emily Frye      
Tom Carey during the game against the University of Michigan on Saturday Feb. 11, 2017.

GVL / Emily Frye Tom Carey during the game against the University of Michigan on Saturday Feb. 11, 2017.

Kellen Voss

Despite the temperatures outside continuing to drop, the ice is only getting hotter for Grand Valley State forward Tommy Carey, as his offensive game has continued to heat up as the Division II hockey season has gone along.

The forward scored a hat trick against the University of Toledo on Saturday, Nov. 11, with one goal in each period. However, Carey didn’t take all the credit for his offensive performance.

“It felt pretty good to get that hat trick,” he said of his play in the 7-5 win over Toledo. “My shots just kept going in, and my shots all came off of great setups from my line mates.”

Carey currently leads the Lakers’ Division II hockey team in three offensive categories with 10 goals, 11 assists and 21 points. Carey’s play, along with the rest of his teammates’ offensive attacks, has led the team to a solid 9-2-2 record as Thanksgiving break is right around the corner.

Carey’s offensive improvements have not gone unnoticed so far this year, especially by head coach Mike Forbes.

“He’s played really well, and that solid play has been consistent these past three years with GV,” Forbes said. “He’s enjoyed a little more offensive success this year, and that’s all just been part of his development.”

Carey transferred to GVSU after playing one year with Eastern Michigan University’s ACHA team because he wanted to move away from his hometown near EMU and get the full college experience. Carey has gotten to his current level of play due to the hard work and adjustments he’s made over his hockey career.

“I’ve seen him evolve as a player since his transfer here, and he has just worked very hard here,” Forbes said. “Once he started to use his forehand more in shots, he started to have more offensive success.”

The numbers don’t lie when it comes to Carey’s offensive improvements, as he has already scored twice as many goals in this first half of the season (10) as he did in his entire first season here with GVSU (five).

The most impressive part about Carey’s play this season is the fact that he doesn’t have the ego to go along with it, as he credits his teammates for all of his success, specifically thanking his line mates Austin Koleski and Dan Smith for all their help this season.

“I definitely have good line mates around me, which helps myself and the team a lot,” Carey said. “I credit all the success I’ve had here to my line mates, as they’ve been the cause of all the points I’ve had.”

The aspect of Carey’s game where Forbes has noticed the most improvement is his leadership. Forbes is impressed with the way Carey can connect with him teammates on the ice in a leadership role.

“He leads by example out there, as he plays a real gritty game, skates well on the ice and his battle level is very high,” Forbes said. “You want your skaters to match what you teach, and his example is pretty strong.”

Forbes is also impressed with the versatility that Carey has shown this year. With his wide range of skill sets, it’s been hard for the coach to keep him off the ice.

“He’s a good defensive forward, so you can play him at any time in the game,” Forbes said. “He’s good on faceoffs, he takes care of his own zone, and with the way he’s developed offensively, he’s become a more well-rounded asset for us.”

While Forbes was impressed with Carey’s play this season, Carey was more impressed with the chemistry the team has developed over the past couple weeks.

“We all get along,” he said. “There’s no one superstar or anything like that. Everyone gets along really well, and the locker-room chemistry is always at 100 percent.”

Even though the chemistry is as high as it’s been on this team in a while, the main concern for the players going into Thanksgiving break is getting healthy. It’s likely Carey will be out the rest of the semester with a knee injury he sustained in the Toledo game. Teammate and defenseman Lucas Little also sustained a concussion in that game.

Despite the current injury situation, GVSU’s leading scorer is in high spirits and predicted good things for the second semester.

“We’ve had some injuries, so we’ll see how the rest of this semester goes,” Carey said. “But second semester, I don’t see us having any problem making it to nationals once again.”

GVSU looks to pick up a couple more wins this weekend with two matchups against Marian University at the Georgetown Ice Center. The games are Friday, Nov. 17, at 9 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 18, at 4 p.m.