Lopes score 16 goals in two-game series
By Jesse Vineyard and David Carter/GCU Staff
Coming off a 7-1 loss to No. 16 ranked University of Arizona last weekend, Grand Canyon University Men’s Ice Hockey quickly regrouped and secured two statement wins against Arizona State University’s Division II American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) team this weekend.
GCU skated away with wins of 8-4 Friday night and 8-3 Saturday night.
“It’s a good positive to build off what we had last week,” Lopes Head Coach Danny Roy said. “We do still have some work to do, but it’s a good start to get two wins in our first DII games of the year coming off a tough home opener.”
On Saturday night, the Lopes went straight to work to continue their momentum from the night before. GCU’s defense limited chances for ASU, while the offense peppered ASU goaltender Jeremiah Levitt with 18 shots in the first period. The game remained scoreless until the Lopes finally broke through with 4:22 remaining in the opening period when freshman forward Brendan Bouvier cleaned up a loose rebound in the slot for his first goal of the year. Two minutes later, sophomore forward Joseph Duca finished off a rush up ice, sliding a soft shot underneath the pads of Levitt to score his first of the season, giving the Lopes a 2-0 lead.
The Sun Devils scored shorthanded with a minute left in the period to get back in the game, but like Friday night, the Lopes used a big second period to put their stamp on the game. Sophomore defenseman Sullivan Murphy and Bouvier scored three minutes apart early in the second, then junior forward Cameron Wojnicki cleaned up his own rebound with 30 seconds to go in the period, putting GCU up, 5-1, after two periods.
Freshman forward Andrei Yanovich and Murphy added two power play goals within 40 seconds of each other midway through the third, then freshman forward Declan Carter officially sealed the win with his fourth goal of the year with 1:35 left in the game.
With Yanovich’s and Murphy’s power play goals, GCU now has scored at least one power play in each game this year, giving them eight total. Freshman goaltender Gabriel Lepper made 20 saves in first start of the season. The Lopes outshot the Sun Devils, 52-23.
“Right now, we have guys who know how to move off the puck,” Roy said about the power play unit. “We still need to make it a little quicker, but overall, the power play was solid.”
Friday night, GCU came firing from all cylinders in the first period, but were unable to find the back of the net early on. ASU’s Alexander Altman’s goal six minutes into the game would stand until his teammate Dylon Adams gave ASU a 2-0 lead a minute into the second period.
Forty seconds after Adams’ goal, freshman forward Callum Tomlin put GCU on the board with assists from Yanovich and freshman forward Zach Bennett. GCU came roaring back and continued scoring at a rapid rate to take a commanding lead. Sophomore forward Jeffrey Payne, Wojnicki and Bennett each added a goal within the next seven minutes after Tomlin’s tally to put GCU up, 4-2.
ASU would get one back later in the period, but Bennett’s power play goal with a minute left in the period gave the Lopes a 5-3 lead after two periods.
Not to outdo himself, Bennett scored his third of the game two minutes into the third period. Sophomore defenseman Nick Marolda tallied an insurance goal 15 seconds later, then Carter’s power play goal minutes afterward helped secure the victory for the Lopes.
GCU fired a season-high 54 shots on net. Lopes junior goaltender Michael Norris made 26 saves in his first start and win of the year.
On each of Bennett’s three goals, Carter was the primary assist. Bennett after the game spoke about the confidence and trust the two linemates have in one another.
“We just work hard in practice,” Bennett said of his confidence in his linemate, Carter. “We are just trying to get some chemistry going, and we have the confidence out here to try that stuff. He passes the puck pretty well, and I am taking advantage of the chances I get.”
The Lopes go back on the road next weekend when they travel to Flagstaff to face Northern Arizona University Friday and Saturday night. The Lopes’ next home game at AZ Ice Arcadia is October 13 at 6:30 pm against the Titans of California State University-Fullerton.
Division III Lopes fall in season opener
The Lopes’ DIII Men’s Ice Hockey team couldn’t sustain an early lead as they fell to the Colorado School of Mines Orediggers, 7-3, Sunday morning at AZ Ice Arcadia.
Freshman defenseman Teddy Havener put GCU on the board halfway into the opening period, then sophomore forward Connor Hansen doubled the lead with two minutes to go in the first.
Mines would take over from there, scoring the next five goals (four in the second period), then adding two empty net goals late in the third period. Havener added his second of the game with 12 minutes left in the game.
GCU sophomore goaltender Travis Green faced 38 shots, making 33 saves in the loss.