Lopes remain undefeated at home ice
By: Maria Adams/GCU Club Sports Writing Staff
Grand Canyon University Women’s Ice Hockey took down University of Utah both Saturday night and Sunday afternoon at AZ Ice Arcadia. After GCU was victorious in the home opener two weeks ago, this duo of wins extended the Lopes’ home ice winning streak to three, and showcased the strides and improvements the squad has made on the season.
Saturday: GCU 3, Utah
The Lopes got off to a slow start and allowed Utah a 1-0 lead going into the second period.
“Between the first and second period, we just talked about trusting our process and systems,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Natalie Rossi. “We had to remember to battle hard out there.”
GCU finally kickstarted the offense in the second period when Lopes’ freshman Reese Gingrich scored a goal assisted by sophomore Megan Daniele.
The Lopes demonstrated strong defensive efforts in both the second and third period, shutting out the Utes the rest of the way.
GCU managed to steal the lead when Lopes’ freshman Faith Casola scored late in the third period. The Lopes snuck in one last goal with just seconds left in the game when Lopes’ senior Megan Brodfuehrer scored on an empty net after the Utes removed their goalie to create an offensive advantage.
“We definitely dominated the neutral zone,” said Rossi. “It was something we had been working on, and it showed when we came through with speed and took control.”
Sunday: GCU 5, Utah 3
The Lopes stepped out onto the ice ready to take control and secured a 2-0 lead by the end of first period. It was Lopes’ junior Sydney Boucher that scored the second goal of the game, and this moment was icing on the cake, literally, as it was Boucher’s actual birthday.
“I could not be happier,” said Boucher. “We showed more urgency to get to the goal and finish. I am just really proud of this team and the energy we brought.”
After the excitement from the first period, the Lopes allowed Utah to score in Period 2, but still held a 2-1 lead after two periods.
“We got a little bit comfortable in the second period,” said Rossi. “We reminded ourselves why we play, and that we are going to be the team that outworks the opponent. Every player just committed to that mindset, and it showed in our success in the third period.”
The Lopes mindset showed, taking care of business in the third period to pull away.
“It always feels good to sweep a team in the WWCHL,” said Rossi. “Up next, we have Arizona State University, and we are looking for more success at home.”
The Lopes defend their home ice at AZ Ice Arcadia again Dec. 4 at 3:30 pm and Dec. 5 at noon for a two-game series against Arizona State University.
Want to attend a GCU Women’s Ice Hockey game? Take a look at the Lopes’ full schedule here!