GVSU men's DII club hockey manages 1-1 tie against Aquinas despite injury
After a strong 3-2 victory Friday, Oct. 6, the Grand Valley State men's club hockey team (Division II) looked to complete the weekend sweep on the road Saturday, Oct. 7.
However, the Lakers had to settle for a 1-1 tie against a tough Aquinas College team on the road.
Despite the team struggling with some injury concerns, GVSU was able to come through and tie the game up in the end. Unlike Friday’s game, GVSU started off the game well, holding the Saints scoreless in the first period.
“We started off pretty well,” said forward Evan Newel. “We had a couple guys not feeling 100 percent, but we pulled through at the very end.”
It was a physical game from the moment the puck dropped, but the Lakers responded well to the adversity. Forward Cameron Dyde left the game early, but GVSU rallied to play hard.
Newel also missed some time after he was clipped in the end, and forward Tommy Carey may have injured his wrist after it was slashed on Saturday.
“Our guys did get banged up and abused a little bit,” said head coach Mike Forbes. "But we fought through the injuries and survived a physical game."
After a scoreless first period, the physicality and the strong defensive performance from both teams continued. Aquinas did end up scoring with four minutes left in the second period off a shot from right wing Austin Kuch. He was assisted on the play by forward Kyle Traux.
GVSU didn’t allow Aquinas to score the rest of the game due to the strong defense and another solid performance in goal from Jared Maddock. He only allowed one goal on the night and had 29 saves.
"(Maddock) played well in both games this weekend,” Newel said. “He really helped us get the win on Friday and the tie on Saturday, so I feel he absolutely deserves the MVP (of the weekend)."
As the game wound down, it looked as if GVSU’s first loss of the season was looming as the offense struggled in the defensive showdown.
But a late goal tied up the game for the Lakers when forward Troy Marrett slapped in the puck on a power play with just four minutes left in the game. He was assisted by forward Ryan Hein and defensemen Reede Burnett.
The defense proved to be a major factor in the comeback, as they hindered the offensive attack, especially against Aquinas’ seven power plays.
Not allowing the Saints to capitalize on those opportunities was key to the win.
“To play 15 minutes shorthanded and still play well shows a lot of character,” Forbes said of the way the team played Saturday.
At this point in the season, the improvement of the hockey team is what will be key for their future success, and improving is exactly what they are doing.
“We played well all weekend,” Hein said. “We dominated the whole games, as we controlled the puck and played dominantly for most of the game.”
Hein isn’t the only one who thinks like the team is improving, as Newel is also noticing the team coming together.
“I think we’re slowly getting better day to day, and we’re slowly starting to build some chemistry,” Newel said.
GVSU looks to keep up their undefeated season next weekend in their two matchups with Trine University. They play at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 13, at the Georgetown Ice Center and at Trine University at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 14.
“If we keep doing what we’re doing and improving in practice, I think we’ll be just fine," Hein said.