GVSU finishes strong, ready for ACHL Championships
Sometimes you just need to shake things up.
The Grand Valley State University men’s Division II club hockey team capped off their regular season with an emphatic winning streak, scoring 25 goals in three games.
After a 9-4 win over Western Michigan University, GVSU (24-5-3) took care of business against Robert Morris University with a pair of back to back victories, winning 7-1 on Friday and 9-4 on Saturday.
GVSU head coach Mike Forbes said the offensive outburst came after he decided to make some changes to his forward lines.
“It’s like Moneyball,” Forbes said. “From a statistical standpoint, we realized that our top seven guys were scoring all of our points. We decided to move some players around and it has really raised the level of play offensively.”
A balanced attack has made the team almost impossible to defend against this season, as the team has scored more than 5.3 goals per game. Two particular players have been finding the back of the net on a consistent basis, forwards sophomore Brad Wilhelm and junior Chad Wilhelm.
The Wilhelm brothers teamed up to light the lamp 55 times this season, as Brad finished first on the team with 23 goals (48 points) outdoing his older brother who finished with 22 (37 points).
“Chad has been stepping up lately,” said GVSU senior Jeremy Christopher said. “That’s big for us. He’s really come through since Christmas and that’s a good sign for our team.”
Christopher was also a big part of the team’s offense this season, finishing third in both goals (17) and points (37).
The team hopes their momentum will carry into the ACHL Men’s Division II National Championships.
“The tournament is basically a five game season and you need to win all five,” Christopher said. “We’re going to leave it all out there on the ice, playing every game like it’s our last.”
The Lakers have had the luxury of playing with a lead for most of the season behind their offense, but their defense was stellar when it had to be.
GVSU goalie senior Scott Tiefenthal posted a 2.56 goals against average this season, with a .911 save percentage and an overall record of 13-5-3.
“Our defense has stepped up their game all season long,” Tiefenthal said. “I have a lot of confidence in our team. We’ve proven time and time again that we are one of the best in the nation.”
With all phases of the game together at the right time, the team feels they are capable of defeating any opponent that stands in their way.
“We’re firing on all cylinders and trending in the right direction.” Forbes said. “We’ve still got some work to do, but hopefully we’ll play well.”
The ACHL Championships will begin on Mar. 15in Chesterfield, Mo. The first round opponent is yet to be announced.