From Grand Valley Lanthorn
By Holly Bihlman
During the weekend, the Grand Valley State University (13-15) men’s DI club hockey team defeated the Western Michigan University Stallions (6-22) for the sixth time this season. With all of the COVID-19 postponements, cancelations and stressors on the league, the convenient 45-minute drive has led these two teams to face off against each other for a few more games than usual.
Coming back from a difficult 5-3 loss against one of GVSU’s longtime rivalries, Davenport University on Jan. 22, the team was looking to increase their overall record in the few games they have left before playoffs.
“(It was) one of those games where you didn’t get a lot of bounces; didn’t get much help,” said coach Carl Trosien. “We scored late to make it 4-3, and then they score one late, so you don’t get a chance to pull the goaltender and try to make things happen, and that was frustrating. I felt like we played a little bit better than the results. We’ve got to get on the right side of the win column on a few more of those during the year.”
Heading into their fifth game against the Stallions on Jan. 28, the Lakers played their usual high-scoring game, coming out of the gates in the first period with five goals. The team was able to keep the pace up for the remaining two periods for a final score of 9-3, scoring nine goals for the third time against Western.
On Jan. 29, the Lakers picked up right where they left off on Friday night with freshman wing Mason Breit scoring an early goal with 17:28 left in the first period. The game had a slower start than usual for the Lakers with that being their only goal scored in the first.
In the second period, junior wing and team captain Zach Borchardt scored his first goal of the night 6:36 minutes in, ramping up the pace of the game. Borchardt hit his 50th career goal on Friday night, adding another four goals total to his tally by the end of Saturday’s game.
Freshman wing Carson Korte added another goal with 9:34 left in the second, followed by Borchardt’s second goal of the night with just two minutes left in the period. The Stallions had yet to put one in the back of the net with the score at 4-0 before the third period.
With tensions rising between the two teams who’ve now played each other plenty this season, junior defender Tyler Hoffman and Western’s Blake Siewersten ended up in the penalty box for fighting midway through the game before the Stallions could avoid a shut-out.
“You get all fired up Friday playing, emotions run high and then you don’t have any real time to cool down,” Borchardt said. “So, then you come in Saturday and it’s kind of the same thing, so you pick up from wherever the heat was at the end of the game on Friday. Overall, at the end of the day we shake hands and nothing is that bad or anything different than a normal hockey game.”
Once the game resumed, twenty seconds into the third, junior center Evan Chomchai scored the Laker’s fifth goal of the night. The Stallions returned the favor with one goal a few minutes later, but the Lakers were nowhere near done for the night.
With just over ten minutes left in the game, junior wing Zack Kippe added another goal to GVSU’s score, followed by Borchardt’s hat trick goal for the game which he followed up with another just 1:30 before time was up.
The crowd was ready to wait out the last minute on the clock before freshman defender Josh Frosyland was able to score his first goal of his college career, hitting the ninth goal of the night for the Lakers with just 22 seconds left. The crowd and the bench erupted in celebration of Frosyland’s accomplishment and their team win.
“It was Frosyland’s first goal of the year and I think he was the last one that hadn’t scored,” Borchardt said. “And it was his first goal at college level at all, so we had been trying the last few games near the end, if it’s been one way to get him out there and get a goal, and it was nice that he was able to do it and just a fun moment.”
With their two wins now stacked on top of their loss against DU, the Lakers look ahead to this upcoming weekend where they will face Michigan State University at home on Feb. 4 and then in East Lansing on Feb. 5.
Having lost to the Spartans earlier in the season, the team is looking at this weekend as an opportunity to up their overall record again.
“I think we kind of took them lightly being an old DII opponent,” Trosien said. “We’re in a situation now where you’re trying to get back over 500 with only four games left, so there’s a lot of things we could do to turn this season around going into the playoffs, so those are big games. We have to come ready to go like we did tonight and understand that regardless of who were lining up against, the game still counts.”
With Borchardt’s 50 career goals along with his teammate Shane Haggerty’s 50th earlier this season, the accomplishment means even more to a team that’s been through one of the youngest rosters in the program’s history.
“(It’s) just a result of playing with good people; that’s it,” Borchardt said. “I mean, it makes my job easy all the time. I play with Lechel and Suzio and we get along well, but you know powerplays different, two years ago it was different people, line changes get messed up; it’s always just a team effort and at the end of the all of them are a result of everyone’s hard work.”
As the team celebrates their success from the past weekend, the Great Lakes Collegiate Hockey League (GLCHL) Conference is right around the corner starting Feb. 24.
(Originally published at https://lanthorn.com/87929/sports/lakers-add-another-two-wins-to-their-record/)