Team ties Chippewas 3-3 in weekend play

GVL / Archive
Junior Jacob Endicott

GVL / Archive Junior Jacob Endicott

Adam Knorr

After a long playoff run in 2012, the Grand Valley State University Division II men’s club hockey team is carving up the ice again, looking to take care of the business it left unfinished after last season.

Following a 4-3 start, the Lakers attempted to turn on the burners against Central Michigan University (3-2-1) on Saturday afternoon. The sluggish start to the season continued for the Lakers as they allowed an early lead to slip away in a 3-3 tie against the Chippewas.

“We played a little lackluster today,” GVSU head coach Mike Forbes said. “We didn’t have a play with a lot of confidence. They played hard and we didn’t play particularly well … We still haven’t learned how to close out a game.”

GVSU (4-3-1), succeeding a 2012-2013 season that resulted in a strong national playoff run, stumbled out of the gate this year, failing to get off to the same dominant start as it has in years past.

The Lakers quickly took a 3-0 lead, directing the flow of the game for the first two periods. However, in the final 20 minutes, the ice began to tilt towards the Chippewas, as CMU staged a late comeback, netting the game-tying goal late in the third period.

Despite holding command of the puck for the majority of the overtime period, the Lakers were unable to score and were forced to leave Mount Pleasant with a tie.

The junior class put on a show for GVSU, as a trio of them scored for the Lakers. Forward Brad Wilhem notched his team-leading 10th goal of the season as classmates Matt Smartt and Corbin Rainey both put home their second of the 2013 campaign. Senior goaltender Scott Tiefenthal kept his .500 record for the season—coming up with save after save—but he was unable to keep the Chips off the board long enough for GVSU to record its fifth win.

“We got a little bit content and took our foot off the gas pedal,” said Smartt, who also chalked up an assist. “We need to work on playing a full 60-minute game, getting cleaner breakouts and getting the puck deeper.”

The Lakers—coming off a solid 5-2 victory over Pennsylvania State University—have had trouble grinding out games this year, coming out flat late in the game more than once. Injuries have riddled GVSU since day one as captain defenseman CJ Pobur, blue-line mate Tim Marney, and junior forward Jake Endicott have all missed action.

Although the Lakers have certainly been missing their injured upperclassmen, assistant captain Chad Wilhelm said he believes the team has enough skill to succeed without them.

“The sicknesses and the injuries can’t be an excuse,” Wilhelm said. “We’re happy the injuries are sooner rather than later. We still have strong depth, and once we get back to health, we’ll start to click better.”

GVSU will have plenty of time to find fresh legs and work out the flaws as a three=week layoff looms before the team travels to Missouri to take on Lindenwood University.

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