Michigan State gets the better of top ranked GVSU
With the American Collegiate Hockey Association National Tournament starting to come into focus, the Grand Valley State University Division II men’s club hockey team put their No. 1 central region ranking on the line against Michigan State University this past weekend.
Unfortunately for GVSU, the outcome wasn’t the one they were anticipating, as the Lakers dropped a 3-2 decision on Saturday, and managed a 2-2 tie on Friday.
The Lakers fell behind early Saturday after giving up a goal on a 5-on-3 penalty kill. Senior goaltender Scott Tiefenthal made a terrific toe save stretching his leg out going post-to-post denying the MSU forward a sure goal. A carbon copy of the same play seconds late, left Tiefenthal unable to make another miraculous save.
“I thought we looked real tight and nervous, gripping the stick a little to hard,” said head Coach Mike Forbes. “We weren’t playing with a great deal of flow, or the same jump we normally do, and I think that comes down to nerves.”
As the second period started, Michigan State added another goal to their early lead when senior Craig Marrett went down to block a shot from the slot that beat Tiefenthal on the high stick side. Sophomore Brad Wilhelm got the Lakers on the board after skating the puck into the offensive zone, letting a wrist shot go towards the net, beating the goaltender on the low stick side.
With some precision passing, Michigan State was able to add an insurance goal in the third period on a power play. Senior Jeremy Christopher scored in the final minute of play, cutting the deficit to one. With the goaltender pulled for the extra attacker, the Lakers were unable to complete the comeback and force overtime for the second straight game.
“Credit MSU, they played like a desperate team,” Forbes said. “We had our destiny in our own hands and let it slip away.”
Friday afternoon’s action started to heat up right away in the second period when freshman Tyler Stroller scored a power play goal inside the first minute, giving the Lakers a great start. Sophomore Jacob Endicott didn’t waste the opportunity of a wide open net, slamming the puck home for a two goal lead after Michigan State’s goaltender gave up the puck from behind his own net. However, with two minutes left to go in the period, things started to go downhill for the Lakers.
Michigan State scored on the power play after a wrist shot whipped passed Tiefenthal’s glove from a shot just above the left faceoff dot.
“We had an opportunity to get the puck deep, we waited and waited, took a penalty and they took advantage,” senior captain Craig Marrett said. “On the next shift we needed a (defensive) change but got caught out there, (Michigan State) made a good pass and with a good move, they buried it.”
With less than 30 seconds to go, Tiefenthal was beaten again, this time on a two-on-one with a nifty backhand to forehand deke by the Michigan State forward giving them a 2-2 tie and all the momentum.
From the outset of the third period the Lakers showed great determination getting continuous pressure in the offensive zone. A scary moment left the crowd gasping as an arid shot was lost in Tiefenthals feet and the puck rested unguarded on the goal line before the Lakers were able to recover keeping the game tied.
“I lost (the puck) when it went up in the air before getting knocked down,” Tiefenthal said. “It’s a tough, scary position to be in, not knowing where the puck is. I just tried to fall on it without knocking it in.”
During overtime, the Lakers kept up on the offensive pressure, but were unable to solve Michigan State to get the win, settling for the one point in the standings after the 2-2 tie.
“We put a lot of stock in this weekend, as we should have,” Forbes said. “If we would have swept the weekend, we would have held on to our number one ranking, now it’s a toss up who gets it. Hopefully we can take away some positives from this weekend even with the disappointing outcome.”
The Lakers will start the final month of the regular season with a matchup against Adrian College Saturday Feb. 2 at Georgetown Ice Arena.