GVSU Division III hockey blows out Purdue

GVL/Luke Holmes
Danny Smith (3) battles to get around his defender to reach the puck. Grand Valley D3 Mens Hockey had a victory over Adrian College Saturday, Jan. 30, 2015.

GVL/Luke Holmes Danny Smith (3) battles to get around his defender to reach the puck. Grand Valley D3 Men’s Hockey had a victory over Adrian College Saturday, Jan. 30, 2015.

Alex Eisen

Nestled deep within the pages of the unwritten sports rule book is an age-old guideline that says ‘thou shall not celebrate excessively after your team scores again in a blowout.’

The Grand Valley State Division III men’s hockey club deliberately broke that rule Friday night when junior defenseman Ryan Marshall scored on a slap shot from the blue line halfway through the third period to push the Laker lead to 11-4 over Purdue.

GVSU’s bench erupted and emphatically began banging their sticks against the boards. For those who were unaware, the celebration could have been perceived as unsportsmanlike, but in this singular moment their reaction was warranted. It was Marshall’s first collegiate goal.

“(Their reaction) means everything. These guys are like family to me,” Marshall said. “It’s been an amazing season. To everyone that comes here, they make sure you’re welcomed and they really make it feel like home.”

The close-knit Lakers skated past Purdue in back-to-back home games inside Georgetown Ice Center with a 12-4 thrashing on Feb. 5 and a 6-2 win on Feb. 6.

The pair of victories comes at an ideal time with the league playoffs a week away.

“That’s the hardest part is keeping everyone focused and keep playing the systems like we are supposed to,” said GVSU head coach Charlie Link. “Once you start to get ahead like that, guys get out of position and start running around. And that’s what we are trying to avoid, especially with playoffs starting next week.”

Minutes into the first contest on Friday, senior Blaine Marney (4:07) ignited GVSU’s scoring outburst with a redirect in front of the goal on the power play. The Lakers’ quickness, speed and pinpoint passes consistently broke down Purdue’s defense, and after 20 minutes, GVSU held a dominant 4-0 lead.

“We figured if we jumped on them quick, they aren’t as deep as we are,” Link said.

The team’s depth was on full display as 11 different Lakers hit the back of the net.

Following GVSU’s fifth goal by freshman Mitch Lawton, Purdue got on the scoreboard unconventionally with a short-handed goal 4:59 into the second period.

The let-up was a wake-up call. The Lakers stuck back with three goals in a span of five minutes.

But Purdue wasn’t going to go away lightly, as the Boilermakers put in pair of goals near the end of the second period to shift momentum, and then carried its newly found success into the third to pull within four at 8-4.

GVSU responded by unleashing yet another four-goal period. Three of its four goals in the third period came on the power play, scored by Mitch Kahl (4:12), Michael Cavataio (9:00) and Marshall (10:54).

“Getting the puck up the ice quick is what we do the best,” Marshall said. “Then getting into the zone and setting up like we did tonight is what we have been doing all year. We’ve been playing well and it showed tonight on the scoreboard.”

Sophomore defenseman Henry Mikesell slotted home goal No. 12 – a regular season team-high – with 5:21 remaining, but didn’t get nearly the same bench reaction that fellow defensemen Marshall received minutes prior.

Less than 12 hours later, a drained Laker squad took to the ice at noon on Saturday for the second game against the Boilermakers.

Dominic Juncaj, former GVSU Division II goaltender from 2013-14, stopped 28 shots in first start at the Division III level. His teammates fired 43 shots on net and capitalized on four power play opportunities to get Juncaj the victory, 6-2.

Junior Tyler Stoller became the team leader in points (36) over the weekend with three goals and three assists. Freshman Scott Schueneman only trails Stoller by a point, and remains the team’s top goal-scorer (20) with a goal in both games.

Over the two games, more than half of GVSU’s roster got on the scoresheet with 20 Lakers registering at least a point.

The Lakers will face Michigan State in the league playoffs on Feb. 12 at 8:30 p.m. The game will be played at Calvin College’s Eagles Ice Center.