GVL / Robert Mathews
Freshman Nick Schultz

Robert Mathews

GVL / Robert Mathews Freshman Nick Schultz

Alex Harroun

Sophomore forward Brad Wilhelm scored hat tricks on back-to-back nights as the Grand Valley State University Division II club hockey team took on Southern Illinois University in their first action of the winter semester.

The Lakers looked sharp Saturday night, getting multiple odd man rushes and lots of second chance opportunities in front of the Southern Illinois net early in the game. Wilhelm started the Lakers off offensively, getting two goals in the first. His second goal came inside the last 30 seconds of the period. GVSU would eventually roll on to a commanding 7-2 victory.

“We’re happy with the weekend, not with all of our individual play, but with the overall outcome,” head coach Mike Forbes said.

The Lakers added two more goals to jump out to a commanding 4-0 lead midway through the game. Southern Illinois started to show signs of life with their first goal of the game, however that momentum was short lived as sophomore forward Matt Smartt scored a goal late in the period, just as a power play was expiring.

During the third period, Southern Illionois’ frustrations were starting to boil over as they began to take multiple penalties, including a ten minute misconduct for roughing.

“We still had some rust from the Christmas break and Southern Illinois came out playing hard,” senior goaltender Scott Tiefenthal said. “We had the five goal second period (Friday), which opened up the scoring for us for the rest of the weekend.”

Contrary to Saturday night, the Lakers came out flat in the first period on Friday. Southern Illinois took advantage of the slow start and sloppy play by jumping out to a 2-0 lead in the first ten minutes, but it wasn’t enough as GVSU secured an 8-3 victory.

Tiefenthal kept the Lakers in the game despite giving up a goal early, while the rest of the team got their legs going.

“We needed a kick in the butt between periods and CJ (Pobur) gave us a good motivational speech. We knew what we needed to do,” Wilhelm said.

Down by two coming into the second period, the Lakers came out of the locker room playing like a totally different team. Within seven minutes, they had regained the lead with crisper play and a furious barrage of offense in the slot of the Southern Illionois goal.

“There are times when things go well and look easy,” Forbes said. “Wilhelm was the recipient of some great passes and guys setting the table for him along with some great individual plays as well. You have to have the skill to finish and that line (Wilhelm, Smartt, Christopher) contributed for probably half our scoring for the weekend.”

Wilhelm led the Lakers offensively on the night. He began by scoring two goals to close out the second period, giving the Lakers a 5-2 lead. At the start of the third period, he continued by putting one more goal on a breakaway to complete the hat trick and later adding another assist on the final goal of the night scored by forward Matt Smartt. Wilhelm led all forwards with nine points over the weekend.

The Lakers now sit with a 19-2-1 overall record as they travel to Colorado next weekend for three games in three nights against the University of Colorado, Colorado State University, and the University of Denver.

“We get to see what the west has to offer as far as talent goes, especially before Nationals it will be good to see,” Tiefenthal said.

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