Division II hockey sweeps Indiana
Lakers make the most of new lines in tight weekend games
GVL / Emily Frye Sophomore Buck Maynard on Jan. 15th.
In a weekend full of slow starts, the Division II Grand Valley State men’s hockey team escaped with two wins in a series against Indiana University. The Lakers (22-4-1) topped the Hoosiers 4-1 on Friday and then again on Saturday 3-1.
In Friday’s contest, forward Spencer Godin scored early in the third period to give GVSU a comfortable three-goal lead. But after GVSU gave up a power play goal minutes later, the Hoosiers found themselves within striking distance to mount a comeback. The Lakers quickly crushed those notions, killing a penalty with six minutes left in the game and adding an insurance goal with three minutes to play.
Jiri Aberle was the netminder for GVSU on Friday night. He nearly pitched a shutout, making 20 saves on 21 shots.
Saturday night’s game had a much different feel. After a scoreless first period, Indiana scored late in the second period on a three-on-two breakaway. GVSU went into the locker room after the second period down a goal, but the team never lost hope.
“We stayed positive in the locker room,” said junior Alex Ostrowski. “We knew that we were going to score eventually.”
Just when it looked like the Hoosiers were going to leave Saturday with an upset win, the Lakers found the back of the net on a power play with seven minutes left in the third period. Lucas Little fired a slap shot, and forward Corbin Rainey deflected the puck in front of the net, leaving the Indiana goalie with no chance to make the save.
The Lakers' power play unit, which was unsuccessful in five previous attempts, came up big when the team needed a goal the most. But the Lakers weren’t done.
Just three minutes later, Rainey gave the Lakers the lead. He buried a shot from right in front of the net after taking a centering pass from Ostrowski, who was set up behind the net.
“Oz (Ostrowski) makes a lot of plays and I was just fortunate enough to be on the other end scoring the goals,” Rainey said.
GVSU tacked on one more goal to secure a 3-1 victory. Although it wasn’t pretty, the Lakers completed the comeback and finished the weekend with a sweep.
“They had great belief that they could come back and win,” said GVSU head coach Mike Forbes.
Freshman goaltender Jared Maddock kept the Lakers in the game, allowing only one goal while making 27 saves.
GVSU gave the Hoosiers a different look than previous weeks. Forbes shuffled the lines around for the weekend series. He swapped out Mitch Claggett for Rainey in the Ostrowski and Nick Schultz line. The switch paid off, with Rainey scoring the game-tying and game-winning goals on Saturday.
“You try to find combinations that work,” Forbes said. “You try to find people that contribute and play consistently every night.”
The three new linemates were able to find compatibility in a short period of time, but that was no surprise to Ostrowski.
"Me, Corbin and Schultz have been playing for three years now and we have some really good chemistry,” Ostrowski said.
The Lakers' next contest will come against Michigan State in a home-and-home series on Jan. 29 and 30. GVSU will look to keep a firm hold on second place in the Central Region of the American Collegiate Hockey Association with a sweep of MSU. The top two seeds of the region receive an automatic bid to the national tournament, making the final games down the stretch crucial for the Lakers.