GVSU club roller hockey has eyes set on nationals

Evan McMillin

The Grand Valley State University men’s club roller hockey team finds themselves ranked No. 1 in their region. However, they are not ready to become complacent.

“I’m definitely impressed with the way the team has started, but that doesn’t go without saying that we don’t have a lot of room for improvement,” said assistant head coach Ryan Gendron. “I’m happy with some of the wins we’ve had, but I’m also kind of unhappy as well with some of the losses we’ve had. So I’d say we’re doing okay, but we’ve got some room for improvement.”

The Division I team has compiled a record of 9-2-1 so far while the Division B team has put up a 2-2-3 record. GVSU has had key wins against Michigan State University, Ohio State University, Eastern Michigan University, Central Michigan University, and the University of Michigan. However, the Lakers aren’t simply content with a “good” start.

“Our start to our season has been great,” said senior forward David Oswald. “We’ve worked really hard for it. A couple of hiccups, a couple of losses, but we’re in first place in our region right now and we’ve got a tournament this weekend coming up, so we’ll see how it goes.”

The Lakers have seen themselves come together as the year has progressed. They’ve seen their quality of play increase as they have become acquainted with each other throughout the season.

“From my standpoint I’ve noticed how everybody has come together,” said senior defensive specialist Nick Dow. “Everybody has been on the same page. They like to listen and work together as a team and not play as individuals.”

Coach Gendron has enjoyed the balance his team has displayed so far. For GVSU, it’s been teamwork that has gotten them to be this successful.

“It’s a team effort,” Gendron said. “There’s a couple of guys that lead us in stats, but at the same time everybody pretty much contributes, so I’d hate to single out somebody and not include other players.”

The Lakers have also proved that they are a resilient team. This past weekend, GVSU found themselves trailing 4-0 to Michigan State. The Lakers would eventually comeback to tie it 5-5 in the third period.

“We never give up,” Dow said. “I mean we ended up losing the game, but still, just for us to come back from 4-0 to tie it at some point shows that we have the ability to comeback against any team and play with any team.”

GVSU’s early season success has them looking ahead to accomplishing even more things this season. The Lakers have their eyes set on a championship.

“A lofty goal for us would be to win nationals,” Dow said. “Winning regionals would be a good goal, which means we’d probably have to beat Michigan State, which would be a good game for us to overcome.”

The Lakers Division I team next plays Jan. 19-20 in Cincinnati, Ohio with games against Central Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, and Eastern Michigan. The Division B team also plays Jan. 19-20 with games against Ohio State, Michigan State, and two games against Eastern Michigan.

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