Lopes Snap Eight-Game Winless Streak
By David Carter/GCU Staff
GCU Men’s Ice Hockey finished with an impressive 2-1-1 record at the Beehive Showcase in Northern Utah, racking up crucial wins to snap their eight-game winless streak.
GCU began the weekend with back-to-back wins over Utah Valley University and 8th-ranked Williston State College (ND), dropped a close one to No. 6 Dakota College (ND), then nearly pulled off an upset of top-ranked University of Mary (ND) before settling for an overtime tie.
“It was the best overall showing we have had at the Beehive Showcase,” said Lopes’ Men’s Hockey Head Coach Daniel Roy. “We had good wins against Utah Valley and Williston State, and tied with #1 ranked University of Mary. Having only one loss from the weekend is a good overall showing.”
Utah Valley University
The Lopes outshot Utah Valley University with 52-12 shots on goal en route to a 6-0 shutout win. The Lopes scored two goals in each of the three periods. Forwards Joseph Duca and Malik Lamotte-Stokes quickly scored two goals for the Lopes to give them a 2-0 lead after the first period-courtesy of a pair of assists from forward Luke Stephenson.
In the second period, forwards Jeffrey Payne and Declan Carter scored from assists by forwards Zach Bennett and Callum Tomlin to take a 4-0 lead into the third.
In the third period, the Lopes continued to improve their lead with two goals from sophomore forward Noah Cascio on assists from forwards Gabe Rankin and Brenden Bouvier.
Lopes’ junior goalie Michael Norris recorded the shutout in goal for the Lopes to help snag their first win in eight matches.
Williston State College
The Lopes kept the momentum going Friday with a 6-3 win over No. 8 Williston State College of North Dakota.
Neither team scored in the first period, but Williston State scored 29 seconds into the second period to take a 1-0 lead. GCU bounced back as Bennett scored with 15:56 remaining assisted by Carter and Payne, then took the lead with 7:51 remaining as Cascio scored from an assist by Bennett. However, WSC tied the game with 6 minutes remaining to tie it at 2-2 heading into the final period.
In the third, Bennett asserted himself with two goals within the first six minutes of the third period to give GCU a 4-2 edge.
Williston State cut the deficit in half with a goal with 10:57 left, but the Lopes put it out of reach with goals from sophomore defenseman Nick Marolda and Stephenson.
Lopes sophomore goalie Michael Barabash was a big reason for the success, saving 40 of 43 shots on goal to help give the Lopes the win.
The Lopes’ only loss of the weekend was a 5-2 loss to Dakota College of North Dakota Saturday.
Dakota College scored with 15:18 left in the first to take a 1-0 lead, but GCU tied the game with 9:09 left from a goal by Payne on assists from sophomore defenseman Sullivan Murphy and Marolda.
In the second period, Dakota College took the lead back with 14:40 left, then scored less than two minutes later to take a 3-1 edge into the intermission.
DC put it out of reach with a goal with 8:42 remaining. Cascio scored the Lopes’ last goal of the night.
University of Mary
The Lopes nearly came home with a stunning upset, settling for a 3-3 overtime tie Sunday against #1 ranked University of Mary of North Dakota.
GCU faced a stern test with University of Mary, going toe-to-toe in a defensive first period before UM scored with a minute left to take a 1-0 edge.
In the second period, University of Mary took a 2-0 lead with 16:33 left. The Lopes bounced back as Murphy scored with 4:36 left on assists from Stephenson and Duca to cut the deficit to 2-1 after two periods.
In the third and final period of the weekend, UM scored just a minute into the period, but the Lopes stormed back to tie, scoring goals in the first half of the period by Brenden Bouvier and Bennett, and sending the game to what would prove to be a scoreless overtime, ending the game in a 3-3 tie. Barabash maintained a strong effort throughout the game in goal, saving 45 of the 48 shots that came his way.
“The team showed good morale from the bench,” said Roy. “The guys battled and played tough against the toughest opponent.”
Coming off a successful weekend at the Beehive Showcase, the Lopes will look to continue to build on their momentum as they face off against Weber State University at AZ Ice Arcadia on December 1 and 2.