By: Garrett Osterode/GCU Staff
The Grand Canyon University Men’s Ice Hockey Division II team started their season in what can only be described as hot-and-cold. The Lopes headed north this past weekend to battle the IceJacks of Northern Arizona University only to see the Lopes return to Phoenix with varied results: a blowout 5-0 win on Friday, and an unexpected 6-2 loss on Saturday. Lopes’ Head Coach Scott Baglien was pleased with his team’s effort despite the mixed bag of results.
“We put out the lineup we wanted to see on Friday and they performed the way we hoped,” said Baglien. “On Saturday, we didn’t get the desired outcome, but it was great to see some of our young guys out on the ice for the first time.”
The Lopes executed their game plan to perfection in Game 1, displaying efficiency and precision on both ends of the ice.
“The top two lines came together nicely in the first two periods on Friday,” said Baglien. “We made our forecheck happen, and our passing was excellent. It really was five hard working goals.”
Though the Lopes tallied five goals on Friday, the star of the game was Lopes’ sophomore goalie Gabe Lepper, who secured 39 saves en route to the shutout.
“It was an all-around stellar performance, and a huge game for him,” said Baglien. “I couldn’t be more excited to see what he can do moving forward.”
Though the Lopes can be satisfied with one win this weekend, they certainly know the areas where they can improve.
“We need more production in the powerplay,” said Baglien. “0-for-5 on Friday and 0-for-6 on Saturday is not going to get it done. If we convert just two or three of those opportunities Saturday, it is a whole new game.”
GCU Team 2 returns to action on Oct. 10 and 11 when they take on the rival Sun Devils of Arizona State University. The two-game series will allow each team to host a game on their ice. GCU Team 2 will be in Tempe to play ASU on the 10th, but then welcomes ASU on the 11th at 6:30 pm at AZ Ice Arcadia (38th Street and Thomas; building is behind the Sprint store).
“ASU is bringing back a pretty power-packed team,” said Baglien. “I am hoping to see some competitive games – especially on our home ice.”
General admission at the door is $8, and GCU students and faculty get in free with a valid ID.
Interested in joining GCU Ice Hockey? Contact the coach for the men’s ice hockey team to learn more!