GVSU DIII hockey beats, ties Michigan State in two-game series

GVL/Mackenzie Bush - Chuck Reed (8) races to the puck. GVSU Men’s D3 Hockey plays Michigan State University Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016.

Mackenzie Bush

GVL/Mackenzie Bush – Chuck Reed (8) races to the puck. GVSU Men’s D3 Hockey plays Michigan State University Saturday, Dec. 10, 2016.

Brady McAtamney

The Grand Valley State men’s club hockey team (Division III) defeated and tied the Michigan State Spartans over the weekend, traveling between East Lansing and the Georgetown Ice Center for the doubleheader.

Friday, Dec. 9 saw the Lakers upset the higher-ranked Spartans on the road at Suburban Ice Arena 4-1. Sophomore Mitch Lawton and freshman Brody Vanderline each scored and assisted on a goal in the victory. The Lakers returned home the following day Saturday, Dec. 10 for the second game.

The win brought GVSU to 15-4-1 and gave them their third victory in a row.

Junior goalkeeper Jack Lindsay attributed the strong play to the team playing as a cohesive unit and not as forwards and defenders.

Things started differently when the two squads hit the ice at Georgetown Ice Center Saturday. After 15 minutes of deadlocked play in the first period, the Spartans jumped ahead to a 3-1 lead during a frenzy of goals that took place late in the first period.

Unfortunately for the Spartans, they would join the Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Indians by blowing their lead in the second period, where the Lakers netted two goals.

The third period saw each team score once to send the 4-4 game into overtime period where neither team could capitalize, ending the bout in a tie.

Lawton would score twice more and assist on another goal, giving him five points on the weekend while Vanderline handed out a trio of assists giving him five points as well. Neither player came into the weekend in the top eight for points on the team.

“I like to contribute. I love the boys and I think we’re playing really hot right now, so it felt really good,” Lawton said.

Despite beating the Spartans the night before, the Lakers came out and played what GVSU coach Charlie Link described as unfocused play.

“We beat them last night 4-1 and our biggest problem was–we got home late last night–but we weren’t skating,” Link said. “We weren’t taking the play like we did last night. That was our biggest problem tonight.”

Lindsay, who was stellar for most of the game despite the four goals the Spartans managed to put up, felt as though the Lakers could have played as a team better for most of the game, similar to how they did Friday.

“I think the first maybe 40 minutes we didn’t really play as a unit, we played more as forwards and defense and I think if we would’ve played as a unit, we would’ve had a better 40 minutes,” he said.

Link noted that they were happy to come away with a tie despite not playing their “A-game.”

Now sitting at 15-4-2, the Lakers have been able to achieve their fair share of success on the ice in 2016 so far. With 10 games remaining, seven of which are at home, they figure to add plenty more wins to their record and perhaps make a run toward playoff glory, however they are not taking their favorable schedule lightly.

“Our league is very, very competitive and we’ve just got to come to play every night,” Link said.

The Lakers will take on Washtenaw Community College (0-5-0) Friday, Dec. 15 at 8 p.m. and Saturday, Dec. 16 at 4 p.m., both at Georgetown Ice Center.