Lakers go head-to-head with DI opponents

GVL Archive
Senior Ryan Welch breaks away from defenders

GVL Archives

GVL Archive Senior Ryan Welch breaks away from defenders

Jon Van Zytveld

It will be no surprise to anyone following the Grand Valley State University men’s Division II hockey club that the Lakers dominated the competition this weekend, extending their winning streak yet again on the road.

At the University of Michigan-Dearborn Holiday Classic tournament, the Lakers won all three of their games against Divison I club teams in Eastern Michigan University, Western Michigan University and host school University of Michigan-Dearborn. The three-game sweep in the tournament raises the Lakers’ winning streak to 12 straight, one of the more impressive feats in the team’s recent history.

Despite the victory, however, GVSU head coach Mike Forbes said there is still room for improvement.

“Out of the nine periods we played this weekend, I thought we played seven periods of very strong hockey, and two not so great ones,” he said. “The difficulty for us is to stay focused, and if we play the way that we’re capable of, we could win all of our games all of the way through to Christmas.”

Friday was a face off against Eastern Michigan (7-9), and the Lakers blindsided the competition, walking away with an 8-0 victory. The Lakers’ domination began in the first with three back-to-back goals, and the team kept up the pressure for the rest of the game, scoring several times per period. Having defeated the Eagles 7-0 earlier in the season, the win was a continuation of their recent success.

“A lot of it was the penalties,” said senior forward Brad Keough. “We controlled the play for most of the game. We were a little slow at the start because of the holiday; we were just sitting around on Thanksgiving. But the power plays helped us to get some momentum, and once we got some momentum, we just dominated the game in every way.”

The following day led to another victory for the Lakers, this time against Western Michigan (8-9). After a slow start, which saw GVSU outscored 1-0 in the first period, the Lakers rallied and scored four goals in the second, followed by two more in the third, resulting in a 6-2 victory for the Lakers.

“Everyone was eating turkey that week, so we just had to find our legs for the second period,” said freshman forward Brad Wilhelm. “We got more shots in the net, and that opened the floodgates for the rest of the game.”

The third and final game of the weekend was against the University of Michigan-Dearborn (8-10). The Lakers controlled the game until the final period, when they let their defenses down, allowing the Wolves to score three goals. The final score was 6-4, yet another win for GVSU.

The biggest surprise of the weekend was the lack of multiple scorers for the Lakers; few, if any, of the players scored more than once in a game.

“The goals have been pretty spread out lately; we’ve been getting several different people scoring each game,” Wilhelm said.

Overall, the team agrees that the key to their success is their unity and their chemistry as a team.

“Right now, we’re just trying to play simple and stick to our game, and it seems to be working,” Keough said. “I think everyone’s pretty on board with it, and it helps when everyone’s working towards a common goal. We don’t have guys trying to go off and do things on their own. Everyone’s playing a simple game, everyone’s playing smart, and that is working out for us.”

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