GVSU DII hockey tops Davenport on senior night, honors late referee
Feb. 17, 2018, is going to be a day remembered fondly by the Grand Valley State men’s Division II hockey team.
Not only did they blow out crosstown rival Davenport 7-1, but they also honored their five seniors and celebrated the winners of the Dave Rue Scholarship.
Their parents looked on in gratification as seniors Troy Marrett, Tommy Carey, Buck Maynard, Reede Burnett and Lucas Little were celebrated for all they have done in their four years at GVSU.
“It was definitely a bittersweet night,” Carey said. “I’m sad to see my time here coming to an end, but I’m also proud of all my fellow seniors for all we’ve done.”
GVSU head coach Mike Forbes is proud of his graduating players but clearly sad to see his two leading scorers and three starting defensemen leave.
“I’m proud of how these guys played these past four years,” Forbes said. “They always competed and developed into great leaders as the years went along, and I’m sad to see them go.”
The seniors were not the only ones honored last night, as Saturday’s game was the second annual Dave Rue Scholarship game. Several raffles were held, raising funds for the Griffins Youth Foundation (which Rue was heavily involved in) and celebrating a beloved figure in college hockey officiating.
During the second period intermission, the winners of the first Dave Rue Scholarship were honored on the ice. The scholarship is going to fund the trip for high schoolers to USA hockey officiating school to learn the proper skills and techniques of officiating while also having fun in the process.
“Its great to see so many people here to honor Dave,” said Caleb Lardie, a 14-year-old official and one of the scholarship winners. “So many people are willing to help, and it feels great to honor such a great man.”
Rue tragically passed away last year and has clearly left his mark on the rink and in this community.
“He was just a really cool referee, and when I was younger, I only really knew him as a funny official who danced at the intermissions," Lardie said. “As I got older and realized how much he was helping aspiring officials like me, he truly became an inspiration for me.”
This whole event was spearheaded by Marrett, yet another fundraiser event started by the players in the GVSU hockey program. Forbes had nothing but praise to show for the late official.
“Dave was such a great inspiration, and it’s great to see Troy take on a cause like this," he said. "I think it made a big impact. He was a great referee, a great man, and he always had a smile on his face.”
Events like these and big crowds seem to pump up the Lakers, as they blew out the Panthers of Davenport 7-1. The Lakers came out on fire, jumping out to a 4-0 lead in the second period, never taking their foot off the gas pedal.
“I’m happy with how these guys played, and we look ready for the tournament,” Forbes said. “We worked hard on defense and did a great job staying out of the penalty box.”
Goals came from seven different Lakers: Marrett, Carey, Nicholas Beers, Randy Stoever, Austin Koleski, Zach Resnick and Grant Smith.
This win puts their record at 24-3-2, as they sit comfortably in fourth place in the Central Division of the ACHA Division II regionals. With playoffs right around the corner, the Lakers believe they can make a run back to the championship.
“It’s going to be a long road since we have to start in regionals, but I think we can make a run,” Carey said. “We have a team that’s been through a lot, and I’m confident we can make it deep.”
For the Central Division, the single elimination regional tournament starts Thursday, Feb. 22, at Lindenwood University in St. Louis, Missouri. The Lakers don’t know who they are playing in the first game yet, but with this team, it’s safe to say they aren’t scared of anyone.
“We’re ready for this,” Forbes said. “We’re healthy, we can beat anyone in the country and we’re hungry.”