Spartans skate past GVSU in 5-1 win

GVL/Bo Anderson

Hilary Daniels protects the puck during a previous game this season.

GVL/Bo Anderson Hilary Daniels protects the puck during a previous game this season.

Nick DeMaagd

The 5-1 score locked in place as the buzzer signaled the end of the second contest between Grand Valley State University and Michigan State University on Saturday night, and an air of disappointment seeped from the bench of the GVSU women’s club hockey team. The loss was the first of the season for the Lakers, but they didn’t go down without a fight.

The game against MSU was much different from the first encounter at the beginning of the season. Despite the calmer nerves among the newer players, the Lakers fell short in the end. Associate head coach Darrell Gregorio, who is now in his eighth season coaching for GVSU, said Saturday’s game was an off night for the Lakers and that they didn’t look like themselves during Thursday’s practice.

“We need to be hitting on all cylinders when we go into games,” Gregorio said. “Practice carries over into games and tonight is a reflection of Thursday’s practice.”

The season is still rather young and the Laker women have been going strong. Their record is now 3-1-1 with the tie coming from their first contest against MSU.

GVSU junior Kendra Myers is a representation of the team’s strength both as a player and as a team leader. Gregorio said she hits the ice in practice just as hard as she does in games, and her drive to go after loose pucks and get better is what has driven her success since she was a freshman.

Gregorio also said Myers has pushed herself even more this year now that she runs on the same line as freshman Frankie Wojtylo.

“She knows she’s got to be at the top of her game because she used to be in Frankie’s shoes,” Gregorio said. “She pushes herself harder in practice to help Frankie adjust to college hockey.”

Wojtylo has already netted herself three goals and an assist since the season began while Myers has tallied a goal and three assists. Wojtylo said Myers has been a big part of her upstart play and has helped her keep a positive outlook despite the major differences in speed and experience that come with college hockey.

“She’s helped me feel right at home with the team,” Wojtylo said. “When we first played MSU I was a bit nervous but this time the team had way more energy and it rubbed off on me.”

The pair of rivals will face off again in February for the Laker women’s senior day. Senior Alexa Tenwalde said the Lakers skated well against MSU in the first matchup, but fell apart near the end of Saturday’s contest.

“We hyped this game through the preseason,” Tenwalde said. “Coming into this game we knew we could play with them.”

The Lakers look to duke it out in a two-game battle with Ohio State University this weekend. A two-game series comes with its own series of challenges, but the Lakers are preparing the best they can to take down the Buckeyes. Win or lose, six periods of play figure to give GVSU an opportunity to improve.

“We don’t know what to expect coming into these games against them, but even though it might be a big university, they’re a team that’s still in our league and we’ll play through that,” Tenwalde said.

The teams will take the ice against Saturday and Sunday in Ohio.