GVSU D2 hockey loses one game, ties another in first games since Nov. 12

The Lakers were outscored 4-2 in both games combined

By Robbie Triano | 12/4/16 10:26pm

GVL / Luke Holmes - Reede Burnett (12) pokes his stick at the player with possession of the puck. GVSU Men’s D2 Hockey defeated Ferris State University with a score of 8-1 on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2016.
by Luke Holmes and Luke Holmes / The Lanthorn

“Winning means having the will to compete, and that will isn’t very high right now with this group,” said Grand Valley State men's club hockey team head coach Mike Forbes.

The Division II team lost one game and tied another in its two-game weekend series against Miami of Ohio (10-3-2) Friday, Dec. 2 and Saturday, Dec. 3 at Georgetown Ice Center.

The Lakers’ Friday match resulted in a lackadaisical 3-1 loss against the Redhawks. The Saturday game was a completely different contest in terms of effort, but the Lakers could only muster up a 1-1 tie.

Having not played since Saturday, Nov. 12, the Lakers showed apparent rust in its weekend-opener, showcased by difficulties maintaining possession, putting themselves in the penalty and costly turnovers.

GVSU’s lone goal was scored by Derek Simon with 3:27 left in the second period, assisted by Michael Barnes.

Coach Forbes wasn’t shy to criticize Friday’s performance.

“There hasn’t been a lot of excitement in the locker room recently,” Forbes said. “It didn’t seem like the guys were having any fun. Maybe we need to take a look at our practices and drills, but we need to get the malaise out of the locker room.”

Forbes' words must have woken up the team, as the Lakers came out Saturday energized from the opening face-off until the final buzzer. Leading the charge for the Lakers was the second line of Collin Finkhouse, Alex Ostrowski and Matt Sherman, constantly pushing the pace and creating multiple offensive opportunities.

GVSU opened up scoring early in the first period off a breakaway goal by Finkhouse, assisted by Sherman and Ostrowski.

But even at their highest, the second-line couldn’t capitalize on finishing multiple scoring opportunities throughout the contest.

“They’re our most productive line so they have to be the best, and I think they were very close to that,” Forbes said. “They had a much better game (from Friday), but if they don’t advantage of the opportunities in front of them, it’s going to be a long road for us.”

The Lakers came out shooting in the second period, but Redhawk goalie Jake Gerdes kept GVSU silent with 15 saves in the period. Gerdes finished with 34 total saves.

GVSU entered the third with a 1-0 lead, but the Redhawks caught a lucky break after an intended pass deflected off a Laker’s skate into the GVSU goal, tying the game at 1-1.

Both teams couldn’t find the net by the end of the third period, and a five-minute overtime to determine the final result of an 1-1 tie. GVSU goaltender Jared Maddock shined bright for the Lakers with 33 saves, highlighted by 13 third period saves.

Matt Sherman knew the Lakers didn’t play to their expectations this weekend, but Saturday’s game showed promise.

“Once we take advantage of our opportunities and stay out of the box, we’ll have no trouble winning games,” Sherman said.

Forbes agreed with Sherman about finishing opportunities.

“We need to score more than two goals in a weekend if we want to create change in our outcomes,” Forbes said. “We’re going to make tweaks and hopefully that will boost the jump and enthusiasm with this group.”

GVSU (7-4-1) will look to regain its groove on the road against Xavier University (6-6) Friday, Dec. 9.

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