Lopes Make Progress Towards Season Goals
By David Carter/GCU Staff (Photo Courtesy of Camden Vellom)
The GCU Men’s Ice Hockey team faced off against Weber State University twice this past weekend at AZ Ice Arcadia, tying the Wildcats, 4-4, Saturday night before beating WSU handily, 10-3, Sunday morning. They were GCU’s final competitive games before the winter break.
Saturday: GCU 4, Weber State 4 (F/OT)
GCU quickly went on the offensive, scoring the only goal of the first period courtesy of a power play goal from forward Declan Carter on assists from defenseman Brett Kramer and forward Zach Bennett.
In the second period, after WSU tied the game at 1-1, the Lopes broke out to a 3-1 lead, scoring goals within two minutes of each other midway through the period by forwards Cameron Wojnicki and Jeffrey Payne.
In the third period, after Weber State battled back in the first 11 minutes to tie the game, controversy ensued with just under three minutes left in regulation. GCU scored on what looked like a goal, but the referees ruled otherwise, and let play continue. While the Lopes were celebrating on one end, the Wildcats went on the offensive and scored the tiebreaking goal with 2:26 left.
“We got robbed on that no-goal call that was definitely in the net,” said GCU Men’s Ice Hockey Coach Daniel Roy. “In the time of us celebrating for that, and them realizing that was not a goal, we gave up a goal right off the back of that. That would have been a one-goal lead that turned into a one-goal deficit late in the game.”
The Lopes regained their composure quickly, though, tying the game less than a minute later with a goal from Payne to send the game to overtime tied at 4. Neither team broke through in the extra period to finish in the 4-4 tie. Despite not getting the win, Roy highlighted his team’s momentum.
“A lot of the issues we were dealing with are going away,” said Roy. “We have not necessarily found the fire that drives our determination and drive to compete and finish a game. We are still searching for that in our team, but at least some of it is coming back.
Sunday: GCU 10, Weber State 3
The Lopes dominated Sunday’s game from start to finish, scoring the first five goals of the game and never looking back. Defenseman Sullivan Murphy scored the first goal off of assists from Carter and Bennett, then Payne took over. Payne scored his first two goals of the day within a five-minute spurt in the first period to extend the Lopes lead to 3-0.
Lopes forward Brenden Bouvier’s goal (from Drew Cronin and Gabe Rankin) with 9:21 left gave the Lopes a 4-0 going into the second period.
Nick Marolda would extend the Lopes’ lead to five in the second with a goal off an assist from goalie Michael Barabash.
The Wildcats finally got on the board midway through the 2nd period, but Payne would neutralize that with his third goal of the game with 6:27 left to earn the hat trick. He would score his fourth goal of the day with just over five minutes left in the game. Carter, Callum Tomlin and Bouvier’s second goal of the day finished off the Lopes’ scoring.
“Everyone hopefully had the mindset that this is the last game until a few weeks from now. Let’s all let the energy out now,” said Payne. “My mindset was to shoot the puck, and let the shots go in and score.”
Barabash saved 23 shots for the Lopes in the win.
Since this was the team’s last game of 2018, Roy also discussed the team’s goals for 2019.
“Continue to go uphill,” said Roy. “We have all the pieces to be a nationals-bound team. We have a team that can get an autobid without having to do the regional.”
This Sunday, December 9, the GCU Men’s and Women’s Ice Hockey team will compete in the Arizona High School Hockey Association (AHSHA) Premier Exhibition, facing off against Arizona’s top high school hockey players. The first of the three games begins at 1:30 pm at AZ Ice Arcadia (38th Street and Thomas Road in Phoenix).