Heading into the week, the Grand Valley State University men’s DI club hockey team was originally scheduled to take on Roosevelt University on Jan. 20 and 21. After a series of cancellations and rescheduling, they instead played conference foe Davenport University on Jan. 20 and 22. The Lakers were unable to pick up a win as they lost 6-1 at home Thursday, Jan. 20, followed by a 5-3 loss when they went on the road Saturday, Jan. 22.
After the tough loss on Thursday, GVSU came into Saturday’s game in a much better place. The Lakers got the action started early in the first period when sophomore wing Sam Lechel scored off an assist from freshman wing Josh Suzio. Shortly after, Davenport was able to pick up a goal to tie the score at one apiece.
Later in the first period, Lechel scored his second goal off assists from Suzio and junior wing Zach Borchardt to give the Lakers a 2-1 lead. With only two minutes left in the first period, Davenport added a goal of their own and tied the game at 2-2.
In the second period, Davenport got their first lead of the night after a power-play score. This was one of the three power-play opportunities Davenport had during the second period.
Davenport was able to score off another power play halfway through the third period, pushing the score to 4-2 in Davenport’s favor. The game was not over yet as junior wing Zach Kippe added a goal for GVSU off of an assist from Borchardt. During the Lakers comeback attempt, Davenport added one last goal and won by a final score of 5-3.
Despite the loss, GVSU played much better in comparison to their Thursday performance and almost walked away with a victory.
“I think we played really well,” said junior defenseman Tyler Hofmann. “We responded really well after Thursday night, came out with a lot of effort and just got back to basics and played the right way. I think we showed up tonight and we definitely put in the effort that could have won that game.”
This two-game series provided the Lakers with a unique opportunity to have a day of practice in between games. Usually, the Lakers play two or three games in a row but the cancellation of Friday’s game against Roosevelt allowed for a day of practice before returning to competition.
“We practiced for about 45 minutes (Friday),” said coach Carl Trosien. “It gave us some time to make some adjustments and I thought the boys, for the most part, did a pretty good job of making those adjustments.”
The improvements largely stemmed from refocusing and fixing some mistakes made from game one.
“I didn’t like our D-zone on Thursday,” Trosien said. “It was just sitting down and making some changes there and going over that.”
Trosien also mentioned that the team won more corner and net-front battles after taking time in practice to work on those areas. On top of the strategic adjustments, GVSU played with an attitude that helped keep them in the game.
“No one really got down at any point,”’ Borchardt said. “Even when we had a few bounces that didn’t go our way, everyone stayed really positive and kept working.”
For GVSU, they have a busy next couple of weeks. At the moment, they have eight games left on their regular-season schedule and are trying to reschedule two games against Calvin as well. These games will all take place before the Great Lakes Collegiate Hockey League (GLCHL) conference tournament that starts on Feb. 24.
The team will return to action next weekend as they take on Western Michigan University Friday, Jan. 28 and Saturday, Jan. 29.