GVSU hockey tops Bowling Green

GVL / Kevin Sielaff -  Nick Schultz (25) races toward the puck. Grand Valleys Divison II mens hockey squad squares off against Bowling Green University Oct. 16 at Georgetown Ice Arena.

Kevin Sielaff

GVL / Kevin Sielaff – Nick Schultz (25) races toward the puck. Grand Valley’s Divison II men’s hockey squad squares off against Bowling Green University Oct. 16 at Georgetown Ice Arena.

Josh Peick

The Division II Grand Valley State club hockey team extended its winning streak to nine games to start the season, besting Bowling Green State 8-2 and 4-1 in a home-and-away series over the weekend.

The Lakers trailed Bowling Green State four minutes into action on Friday at Georgetown Ice Center after the Falcons capitalized on a rebound opportunity to take the early lead.

The advantage did not last long.

GVSU answered a minute later with a goal of its own off of a rebound, and never looked back.

The Lakers finished the first period with two more goals, one coming with ten seconds left in the frame. GVSU held the momentum for the rest of the game.

After another BGSU goal early in the second period, the Lakers scored five consecutive goals – two in the second period and three in the third.

Forward Mitch Claggett netted a goal in each period. Claggett’s goal in the third period came on a backhand shot following a deke feint that fooled the defender.

“I just made the move to the middle and got the puck up,” Claggett said. “I didn’t know if it went in at first, but it hit the back bar and came out.”

Forward Collin Finkhouse added to the mix, scoring a goal in the third period and tallying two assists.

BGSU came out Saturday night looking for revenge. Both teams played a physical brand of hockey, tallying up 24 minor penalties over the three periods.

The Lakers provided enough offense to get the win, as goaltender Spencer Craig allowed just one goal.

Although the offense has been clicking for GVSU, the defense and goaltending has led the way. The Lakers have yet to give up more than two goals in a single game.

It is not just one goaltender, however. All three net-minders have shown up this season.

Craig and Jiri Ablere have each played four games, while freshman Jared Maddock has started one game.

Heading into the weekend, Aberle and Craig are both ranked in the top 30 in goals allowed average in the nation for Division II. Craig possesses a 1.33 average, tied for 20th in the nation. Aberle ranks 29th with a 1.67 average.

“We are trying to push ourselves in games and practice,” Aberle said. “I wouldn’t say pressure, it is just good motivation.”

With Aberle and Craig performing among the elite, it is difficult for GVSU head coach Mike Forbes to pick a starting goalie for each game. The thought of pulling either goalie has been nonexistent with an easy schedule to start the season, but as the schedule gets tougher, the goalies may have a shorter leash.

“We have the utmost confidence in both of them,” Forbes said. “As games get more important, (pulling a goalie) may come into play, but I don’t anticipate it.”

The Lakers will look to extend their winning streak to 11 games in a two-game series against the University of Illinois-Edwardsville. Both games will be at home at Georgetown Ice Center on Oct. 23 and 24.