From The Grand Valley Lanthorn
By Breanna Hammer
The Grand Valley State University’s Division I men’s hockey club continued their seven-game winning streak against Davenport University this past weekend after two blowout matches that finished 5-1 and 11-1.
Now ranked No. 10 in the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) Men’s 1 division with a record of 22-5 (25-5 overall), Head Coach Matt Sekosan had a lot to say about his upperclassman setting the pace for the winning streak.
“We have a strong class of upperclassmen,” Sekosan said. “They sort of lead the way in terms of self-policing and getting everybody on task; the guys listen to the system that we implement, and do the best they can to play.”
Senior forward Shane Haggerty, one of the team captains, said he believes he and his teammates wouldn’t be so successful if it weren’t for the coaching staff.
“We have to give a lot of credit to our coaching staff, they implement a system, but then let us get creative,” Haggerty said.
The Jan. 20 match-up between the Lakers and the Panthers quickly showed just how effective these systems are when executed correctly, with Haggerty and senior forward/captain Zach Borchardt leading the way.
In the first period, Haggerty scored the first goal in a power play (12:32), assisted by senior defenseman Andrew Dundas and Borchardt to put GVSU up 1-0 on the scoreboard. Less than a minute later, Borchardt answered with a goal of his own (13:15) to put the Lakers ahead two goals as the remainder of the period went scoreless.
The majority of the second period saw little action until just over five minutes remained when GVSU began to ramp up the aggression, taking shot after shot on goal. Eventually, junior forward Gage Thrall was able to find the back of the net (5:46) with an assist from freshman defenseman Enzo Tarducci and sophomore forward Joshua Suzio, ending period two with a score of 3-0 in favor of the Lakers.
Considering how hot GVSU has been in their win streak, it was no surprise to see their momentum continue in the third period.
Answering again in a power play, Haggerty scored his second goal of the night (1:37) with a second assist from Borchardt and senior forward Zachary Kippe (4-0).
Having previously scored and now providing his second assist to Haggerty for the night, Borchardt said that it’s of course a good feeling to provide scoring for your team, but an even better moment when he is able to set up his teammate(s) for success.
“Even though it’s fun to see the puck go in for you, it’s even more fun to see your buddy doing it,” Borchardt said.
DU finally managed to secure a goal early in the third and final period (2:57) to finally get on the scoreboard, 4-1. However, the scoring didn’t stop there as the game’s final goal came from Kippe (11:09) assisted by Tarducci and Haggerty to secure the 5-1 win for the Lakers.
Reflecting not only on the goals and assists that Haggerty and Borchardt were able to contribute in the win, Sekosan also said leadership of these two captains has impacted their effective streak and the season overall so far.
“They both have Cs on their chests for a reason,” Sekosan said. “They know what it takes to win, they take their job(s) seriously and lead by example – that’s what makes the team follow suit.”
As captains, both Haggerty and Borchardt have agreed that it has been an honor to wear a “C,” but according to Borchardt, it’s bigger than just the two of them.
“We have a core that has been together for four years,” Borchardt said. “We are all leaders and captains, and I think that is what makes this team so successful.”
The Lakers would expand on their momentum in a second matchup against the Panthers the following day (Jan. 21); this time blowing DU out of the arena with a statement 11-1 win.
Freshman forward Tristan Avoletta would lead his team with a hat trick as his three goals would be the most scored on the night. GVSU’s next two matches will be back-to-back against Aquinas College Jan. 27-28 on the road.
(Originally published at https://lanthorn.com/96260/sports/mens-di-hockey-club-ices-davenport-extends-win-streak-to-seven/)