Lopes’ D2 team records thrilling OT win Sunday
“We played well enough to give ourselves a chance to win, but there are still improvements to be made,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Danny Roy.
After a two-week hiatus for Thanksgiving break, the Grand Canyon University Men’s Hockey team suffered back-to-back home losses at AZ Ice Arcadia to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Although losing both games, the Lopes stayed competitive with the No. 4 Rebels throughout the weekend, losing, 3-2, on Friday and 5-2 on Saturday.
Friday: UNLV 3, GCU D1 2
Friday’s match was a back-and-forth affair. The Rebels were the first to strike six minutes into the game before Lopes’ forward Cole Golden responded a minute later with a goal of his own to tie it up. While the Rebels scored again in the second period, the Lopes didn’t collect their second goal until the third when Jacob Cummings broke free and delivered an unassisted strike to the back of the Rebel net.
Rebels’ forward Nick Flounders marched down the ice and notched his own unassisted score with less than seven minutes left in regulation for the game-winner.
Saturday: UNLV 5, GCU D1 2
The Rebels seemed to improve their offensive scheme for the second game. Although the Lopes struck first, the Rebels scored four unanswered goals to take a 4-1 lead after two periods. GCU’s Kolby Donovan scored midway through the last period, but the Lopes got no closer.
“Our team has the caliber to play at the highest level with the best teams in the league,” said Roy. “We also understand that it takes dedication and consistency that we are still working to find.”
Sunday: GCU D2 4, ASU 3 (F/OT)
After narrowly losing, 4-3, Thursday to Arizona State University, GCU was staring at a 3-1 deficit late in the second period of Sunday’s contest. With five minutes left in the period, the Lopes scored to cut the deficit to one going into the final period. Neither team could get an offensive rhythm going in the third, but that set up last-second drama not once, but twice. With seven seconds left in regulation, Lopes’ defender Connor Franco sunk the game-tying goal to send it into overtime, and then with 11 seconds left in the extra period, Lopes’ forward Jack Novack slapped in the game-winning goal to give the Lopes the stunning win.
“It was an eye-opening win for us on Sunday,” said Lopes’ D2 Head Coach Jake Bayer. “We came back stronger and hungrier after Thursday and it worked out for us.”
As the fall semester comes to a close, the Lopes will have to wait until the new year to play again. GCU D1 will kick off the new semester with a home game against Minot State University at 6:30 pm at AZ Ice Arcadia, while the D2 team will travel to Flagstaff to take on Northern Arizona University at 8:30 pm.
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