GVSU DII hockey sweeps weekend series with Robert Morris



Sean Cauvet, Editorial Intern

Grand Valley State Men’s Divivision II Men’s Hockey team opened up the 2019 season with two wins on Friday, Oct. 4 and Saturday, Oct.5. The Lakers beat Robert Morris University 5-2 at Griff’s Georgetown Arena in Allendale on Friday and won 10-2 on Saturday.

Second-year coach Carl Trosien knows that the team has things they need to work on, but he’s happy with their first performance of the season on Friday night.

“It always feels good to win the first one at home…” Trosien said. “We had spurts where we got pucks deep, we floor checked, we forced turnovers and we played in their end for four or five shifts we were able to change with guys in the zone, so I really think it’s just trying to figure out how our guys figure out exactly how we need to play to be successful. I think we took a step forward in that tonight.”

With so many freshmen on the team, Trosien knows how it is a challenge, but he’s excited for a shift in mentality from last year’s team.

“This group is hungry…” Trosien said. “I think they’re going to learn together and be together for a while, and I think they understand we put them in a tough spot with 15 of them but they’ll be better for it in the end.”

In the next year or so, The GVSU Men’s Hockey team is going to shift from DII to DI, and change comes with that. Trosien is hoping the freshmen are up for the challenge.

“Part of (the decision) was we wanted to bring in a bunch of young kids and see what we have and be prepared for that,” Coach Trosien said. “Some of it was as our program grows and transitions to joining ACHA DI, the commitment level in our room, the amount of practice and the amount of weight room sessions will need to increase to be competitive at that level.”

Going into the 2019 season, Trosien had a lot of players that he is excited for, topped off by the team captains.

“We’ve got three phenomenal goaltenders here right now,” Trosien said. “You saw (Kyle) Konin, (Cody) Dennison and our Swedish goaltender David Johansson will be getting there at some point. Andrew Dundis, big number 17… could’ve played junior hockey, but decided to go to school instead… (Zach) Borchardt is another one — kid has a great shot. Buddy Rose, Derek Becker and Tyler Slabaugh are our captains, our leadership group, and the guys that have really stepped up and are leading the shift in this transition.”

Slabaugh said that as a captain, he knows the team can play better, but is proud of how the team was able to find a way to win.

“I personally think we took way too many penalties, but sometimes you have to find a way to win even you have a bad night,” Slabaugh said. “I think it’s a decent start to the year but we definitely could have played a little bit better in some areas. We’re a young team so we’re going to have problems along the way that we have to fix, so I think it was a good start any time you can get a win.”

Right wing freshman Zach Borchardt, says he likes to keep a relaxed approach to his game.

“My first game at GVSU was the same as any game I approach,” Bordchardt said. “I go out there, try my best, try to make stuff happen and get a win for the team. Whether it’s GVSU, high school or the NHL, I just go out there and try to play my best and the rest will take care of itself.”

Even with many new players from different places joining the team this year, Slabaugh says team chemistry is looking good so far.

“For the start of the year, pretty much everyone is coming from different places, we all have different backgrounds so it’s definitely a good start,” Slabaugh said. “I think there’s some good chemistry going and guys are starting to catch on to how each other plays.”

Going forward in the season, Slabaugh has a few goals that he wants himself and the team reach in order to label this season a success.

“I just want to become a more reliable guy and help the team win in every single situation,” Slabuagh said. “I want everyone on the team to be confident in me whenever I’m out there, whatever situation it is.”

It wasn’t all perfect, however. Borchardt sees some things that the team needs to improve, especially because their talent level.

“I think we played pretty sloppy defensively tonight, especially with the speed we have on the back end and even with our forwards,” Borchardt said. “Our breakouts weren’t the best, we were just trying to do too much sometimes.”

On a positive note, a win is a win, no matter how you get it according to Slabaugh.

“There were a lot of positives tonight,” Slabaugh said. “We came out in the first game and got a win. Even if it wasn’t a blowout or exactly how we wanted it to go down, we still got the win. Moving forward, I think we just have to look to keep winning and get better in every small area we can because we can always get better.”

The team plays the University of Cincinnati at Griff’s Georgetown Friday, Oct. 11 as they try to keep their undefeated season going.