GVSU men's club hockey (D3) starts season with win over UMich-Flint
The Grand Valley State men’s club hockey team (Division III) opened up its 2017 season against University of Michigan-Flint at the Georgetown Ice Center Friday, Sept. 22.
The Lakers were able start off their season on a high note, pulling out a decisive 5-0 win.
Coach Charlie Link discussed what they were looking for as the team went into its first game.
“The most we were looking for was consistency, which we got for a while,” Link said. “We were very happy with the way it turned out.”
GVSU scored the first goal of the game early in the first period, and the offense never looked back after that. The first goal was scored on a wrist shot by forward Mitchell Lawton. The goal was scored with 14:11 left in the first period.
The skill advantage stood out early on for the Lakers. They were stronger and faster, and they used that to their advantage, which allowed them to keep the puck in their offensive zone for most of the period.
However, the first period wasn’t all good for GVSU, as the Lakers had a pair of sloppy penalties that led to them playing shorthanded for four minutes in the period. The Lakers were able to fend off the power play of UM-Flint each time. GVSU took a 1-0 lead into the second period.
The second period started off the same as the previous period, with the Laker offense scoring another goal, this one off of a rebound by Alexander Bjork with 18:44 remaining in the period.
The Lakers were able to earn a couple power plays of their own but did not score while having the advantage. GVSU did manage to score another goal in the second by Brody Vanderlinde with 13:12 remaining in the period.
GVSU had three more penalties called on them and at one point had to play with a 5-3 player disadvantage. However, the Lakers managed to kill those penalties and took a 3-0 lead into the final period.
Bjork scored his second goal of the night with 19:22 left in the third period. Reidar Burgeson scored the final goal of the game with 5:06 left in the game and sealed the 5-0 win in the opener.
Bjork, who is also the captain of the team, was pleased with how his team performed in their opener.
“It was overall a good team effort,” Bjork said. “Everybody contributed, and everybody did a good job taking care of our zone. That’s what was most important.”
Link talked about what his team needed to improve on moving forward in the season.
"Puck movement and reading what’s going on on the ice," Link said. "We have a lot of new guys, and we have difficult systems to learn. We are going to try to get everyone into games early on to get them some experience.”
Defenseman Charlie Reed was also pleased with how the youth came out and performed.
“I thought a lot of our young guys stepped up to the plate," Reed said. "They skated hard, and they played hard for us.”
This big-win opening night built some confidence for the Laker team. Bjork talked about the goals for the team moving forward.
“We could be a No. 2 seed in the national tournament if we play up to our capabilities," he said. "More importantly, we need to take it game by game first. We can’t just look ahead to that.”