Lakers blast FSU with 11 goals on Senior Night
GVL / Kevin Sielaff
#17: Senior forward Chad Wilhelm attempting a goal
Six members of the Grand Valley State University men’s club hockey team stood on the ice for a pre-game sendoff on Senior Night at the Georgetown Ice Arena.
Befitting of his jersey number, goaltender Scott Teifenthal was recognized first, and was awarded ACHA All-American honors.
Tim Marney, Bob Penrod, Chad Wilhelm, CJ Pobur, and Nick Heinrich followed in turn, each skating out the blue line to join one another.
Six seniors for the six positions on the ice, never mind that four were defensemen. Befitting, also, that they should enjoy one last win in their home building.
“These kids have been a part of our great success,” GVSU head coach Mike Forbes said. “We’re very proud to have them on the team and they represent the university very well. Their leadership in the locker room just helps us continue to build and build and build so we have that continuity all the time.”
After a scheduling change, the Lakers welcomed Ferris State University on Saturday in GVSU’s final regular season game.
The Lakers opened the game with the throttle on full as the offense bombarded FSU goalie Ruben Medrano early and often. Medrano held strong for the first half of the initial period, but the dynamic first line of the Lakers broke through with a goal courtesy of junior forward Brad Wilhelm.
Minutes later, his older brother sniped a target in the back of the net to put GVSU up 2-0.
Seconds later, forward Alex Ostrowski represented the freshman portion of the roster by wristing a laser off the post and in.
The rout was on.
The sophomore talent came through next as forward Nick Schultz knocked home his own rebound to make it 4-0. His classmate, forward Jake Endicott, then gave the Lakers their fifth tally of the night with eight seconds left in the first period.
The relentless attack resumed in the second when Matt Smartt and the Wilhelm brothers combined to give GVSU a commanding 8-0 lead with plenty of time to play.
FSU managed to show some life before the end of the period, and chalked up four of the game’s next five goals to make it a five-goal deficit.
The Lakers quickly slammed the door shut on any comeback attempt in the third period, however, and were once again firing on all cylinders with a methodical third-period attack before skating away with an 11-5 victory.
The 11 goals were spread through all positions and ages on the team as the Lakers showcased their impressive depth, which led them to a 20-7-1 regular season record.
“It’s what we try to do in building a program,” Forbes said. “You try to build a good class of freshman and you build them through so you’re always turning over and you don’t decimate your team.”
The Lakers appear to have found a way to play together as one cohesive unit, and closed out the regular season with four consecutive wins to go with victories in nine of their last 10 games.
The team will have a more than a month to gear up for the 2014 ACHA Men’s Division Nationals, which will take place from March 21 through March 25 in Marlborough, Mass.
Forbes said he will take a page out of Herb Brooks’ playbook and run the Lakers through high-intensity drills in practice to make sure the team maintains a game-ready edge.
The team may also make some late-season changes to its schedule to help the cause.
“We’re going to be trying to find another game or two,” Pobur said. “We’ve been talking about amping things in practice and we will have to play hard against each other so we’re in prime shape going into nationals.”
Forbes got a healthy look at the entire Laker roster as all three goaltenders — Teifenthal, freshman Ryan Morey and sophomore Dom Juncaj — got a chance between the pipes.
The seniors will certainly be looking to put a cap on their impressive careers with a national title.
“I think it’s kind of cool,” Chad Wilhelm said. “When we brought Teifenthal up to play with the rest of us, we gelled really well.
“It’s just been a great ride and I can’t ask for anything better.”