GVSU men's DII hockey drops weekend series to Trine University
The puck sadly didn’t slide Grand Valley State’s way this weekend.
The undefeated start to the season came to a halt when the GVSU men's club hockey team (Division II) lost to the White Tigers of Trine University 3-2 Friday, Oct. 13, and 4-3 Saturday, Oct. 14.
GVSU didn’t get off to as slow of a start as they did last week, but they seemed to struggle with the mental and technical stuff, and head coach Mike Forbes took notice.
“We started off much better than we did last weekend,” Forbes said. “We just had horrible line changes, and we needed to be better mentally.”
Trine got the scoring going early when Sean Schirripa slapped it in two minutes into the contest. He was assisted on the play by Ellis Freatman.
GVSU kept up with Trine’s speed early on and got a lot of good shots on goal, especially against a solid Trine team. They were able to capitalize on a Trine tripping penalty, allowing Troy Marrett to score on a power play with 8:41 left in the first period. He was assisted by Randy Stoever and Lucas Little.
Size-wise, Trine was a bigger team than the Lakers expected, and they played very physical from the start.
“They were bigger and stronger than us,” Forbes said. “They seemed to have a higher level of talent, and I’m proud of the toughness we played with.”
Trine responded quickly to GVSU’s goal, as Schirripa scored again with six minutes to play in the period and Trine regained a 2-1 lead. He was assisted by Brandon Bomkamp and Michael Rand.
The physical play continued into the second half, and Forbes was not proud of how the Lakers reacted to it. When asked what the team needed to do better in the game, Forbes said GVSU “needs to stay out of the penalty box and stayed disciplined.”
GVSU’s responses to the physicality is what ultimately "did them in" the the second period, as they spent some time in the penalty box. Trine capitalized on those penalties, scoring on a power play with Spencer Johnson tapping it in. He was assisted on the play by Hunter Lagrone and Grant Denton.
After that third goal, the GVSU defense stepped up and played with toughness, not allowing the White Tigers to score the rest of the game.
“We definitely didn’t have a bad night defensively,” Little said. “It’s just that they played really well."
GVSU finally matched the Trine physicality, playing well in the third period. They made the game close with a goal from Reede Burnett to cut the lead to 3-2. Burnett’s goal was assisted by Connor McEvoy and Marrett.
Sadly, the solid effort toward the end of the game was not enough to pull out the win for the Lakers, who almost tied the game up after pulling Jared Maddock and playing one man up in the offensive attack.
Despite the loss, Forbes was impressed with the away his team played from start to finish.
“They were a good team,” Forbes said. “But I’m very proud of our effort throughout the game.”
GVSU struggled again Saturday, Oct. 14, when they lost again at Trine’s home arena. The final score in the weekend finale was 4-3.
The team came out with a fast start on Saturday but again struggled with penalties.
“We were up 1-0 and started off strong, but they took control in the second period,” Forbes said in the recap. “We got into a little bit of penalty problems again, and we ultimately couldn’t finish the game after the hole we put ourselves in.”
Just like Friday night, the Lakers looked strong at the end of the game, coming back against Trine and almost tying the game after pulling Maddock again. But they were unable to recover from Trine’s strong second period.
“It was a situation where we have to start learning from our behaviors and fixing our mistakes,” Forbes said.
GVSU had a very balanced offensive attack, with goals coming from Danny Smith, Stoever and Austin Koleski. Koleski also contributed an assist on the night.
Forbes was impressed with the effort from GVSU.
“They are a big, strong team, and open ice was really hard to find,” he said. “Our speed and determination showed through again late in the game, where I thought we dominated.”
In the record books it may not look like GVSU had a good weekend, but Forbes was still impressed with the effort his team exhibited throughout the weekend.
“We were tested this weekend, and we pushed on,” Forbes said. “Other than some discipline issues, I thought we looked really good these past two games.”
One thing that always seems to develop as the season goes along is team chemistry, and the players on GVSU’s club team think they need to improve that if they want to make a run at the ACHA championship.
“We have seven new guys on the squad and haven’t played a lot together,” Marrett said. “We just need more time to play with one another.”
More time to improve the chemistry on both sides of the ice, along with better discipline, could help get this team to an elite level.
GVSU looks to continue their speed and determination in an effort to get two wins this weekend against Lewis University. They play at 8 p.m. Friday, Oct. 27, and 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 28. Both games will be at the Georgetown Ice Center.