GVSU DII hockey sweeps Michigan State
Lakers trounce Spartans by comfortable margins
GVL / Emily Frye Forward Nick Schultz breaks away with the puck on Friday Jan. 29, 2016.
The Grand Valley State Division II men’s hockey club swept Michigan State in a two game home-and-away series over the weekend. It marks the first time GVSU has swept Michigan State in more than five years. The Lakers (24-4-1) topped the Spartans 6-1 at home and then 6-3 in East Lansing.
“It was our first sweep of (MSU) for a few years, definitely the past five since I’ve been here,” said GVSU captain Zachary Strain. "That was something to be proud of.”
Game one of the series was held in front of a packed Georgetown Ice Center. After a slow start, the GVSU pep band and full stands of fans were waiting for a reason to erupt. With six minutes left in the first period, the Laker forward Mitch Claggett skated behind the net and found Collin Finkhouse wide open in the slot. Finkhouse ripped a wrist shot into the top-right corner of the net and the place exploded.
“After playing five years, this is probably the biggest crowd I have seen,” said senior Corbin Rainey. “It was exciting and really helped give us the jump we needed right out of the gate.”
Along with the crowd, the Lakers' offense exploded after the first goal. GVSU scored three more times in the second period, one coming from Rainey on a two-on-one breakaway. The Lakers added two more goals in the third, another coming from Rainey to make it a 6-0 lead. Since returning from the American Collegiate Hockey Association Select team, Rainey has been on fire, totaling nine points in six games.
The Laker defense flexed its muscle in the first game, allowing fewer than 10 shots in the two opening periods. The MSU offense never got comfortable in the GVSU zone.
“Our defense is very mobile,” said GVSU head coach Mike Forbes. “When you have players that can get a puck in the corner and skate away from you, it’s really hard to create a forecheck and get any offensive momentum for visiting teams.”
The GVSU forecheck made it difficult for MSU to get the puck in the offensive zone, let alone put points on the scoreboard.
“I didn’t think we committed to the forecheck in the first period,” Forbes said. “I felt we could expose (the MSU) defense with a forecheck and we did a much better job of that in the second.”
Goaltender Jiri Aberle had a relatively quiet night in net. With the defense holding MSU to few scoring opportunities, Aberle had limited action. In the third period when MSU had some chances, he made the saves necessary to keep the game out of reach.
“I think we played great,” Aberle said. “One of the best games of the season, great forecheck, five-on-five, they had no chance.”
In game two of the series, the offense kept rolling. The Lakers scored four goals in the first two periods of action and held the Spartans to only one. Both teams scored two goals each in the third for a final score of 6-3.
GVSU’s Nick Schultz, Ian Hamilton and Alex Ostrowski each scored to give freshman goaltender Jared Maddock a comfortable lead. Maddock has allowed only eight goals in the past five games he has started in net.
“Maddock played well in net and is playing with a lot of confidence right now,” Strain said.
The Lakers will look to keep rolling with a two-game series against Eastern Michigan on Feb. 5 and 6. The game on Feb. 5 will be held at the Georgetown Ice Center at 9 p.m.