GVSU men’s DII hockey takes down MSU in ‘Pack the George’ rivalry

GVL / Dylan McIntyre. Friday, January 26, 2018. Grand Valley D2 vs MSU.

GVL / Dylan McIntyre. Friday, January 26, 2018. Grand Valley D2 vs MSU.

Kellen Voss

The Georgetown Ice Center was indeed packed on Friday, Jan. 26, as the Grand Valley State men’s Division II club hockey team beat the Michigan State Spartans 3-1. The game was quite physical, but GVSU was able to rise above the rough play to pick up another solid win.

The first period of the game was a scoreless affair until Reede Burnett slapped in a wild shot that found the back of the net with 53 seconds left in the period. He was assisted on the play by Troy Marrett and Dan Smith.

GVSU didn’t have much time to celebrate, as MSU scored with 16 seconds left in the period. Andrew Patzin got that goal, and he was assisted by Jacob Stallings and Daniel Wolfe. However, that was the only goal the Spartans scored all game since they couldn’t capitalize on the power play and Jared Maddock and the rest of the GVSU defense played strong.

With the game being close the entire way through, the fans who packed the George really got into it, and coach Mike Forbes thought the crowd played a key role in the Lakers getting the win.

“It’s always fun to see the Spartans come to town,” Forbes said. “Campus Recreation did a great job to help promote, and it’s always exciting to see that many fans coming to the game.”

The Lakers came out of the second period with fire in their bellies, getting aggressive on the offensive end to a point where the Spartans couldn’t handle it. Nick Beers picked up a goal five minutes into the period, and he was assisted by Smith and Dan DeBlouw.

“When it came to the goal scoring, they all came at crucial times for us,” Beers said. “Our boys were hot all game, and we played the corners really well all game long.”

The third period was more of the same for the Lakers, as they continued to control the puck well on the offensive end while also staying physical on the defensive end. German Samvel scored the last goal of the game right in the front of the net. The goal came with 18 minutes left in the game and was assisted by Tommy Carey and Nate Madigan.

Although GVSU did play a solid game, defenseman Burnett made it clear that the team still has room to improve.

“Our defensive zone coverage needs to get better for our next few games,” he said. “Also, we need to make sure we do a better job of getting the puck out of their (offensive) zones.”

Burnett wasn’t the only one who thought GVSU could improve on the defensive end, either.

“Our defense was a little sloppy,” Forbes said. “They got under us in the zones, but because of some great saves by Maddock and almost no second-chance opportunities for them, we were able to get the job done.”

Hopefully this game is only a foreshadow of what is to come. Playoff games will have crowds similar to this one, and teams will come out physically, just like MSU did. But none of that phased the Lakers, and they were able to handle all the pressure in the end.

“There have been big games in the past where we came out nervous, but we weren’t nervous at all tonight,” Forbes said. “That should be a positive sign heading towards the playoffs.”

With the win, GVSU improves to 20-3-2 on the year and looks to continue next weekend with a game against Adrian and a game against Toledo. GVSU plays Adrian at home on Friday, Feb. 2, at 9 p.m. and then will travel to Toledo for a 7 p.m. matchup at the Team Toledo Ice House.