Lopes erase three deficits before OT
By Jesse Vineyard/GCU Staff
It may have taken until the third period, but Grand Canyon University Women’s Ice Hockey finally hit their stride and were on track to capturing a big comeback win.
Unfortunately, the hopes for victory came to an abrupt end Sunday afternoon as Colorado State University erased a GCU lead late in the third period to force overtime, then scored 12 seconds into OT to defeat GCU, 6-5.
The loss moves the Lopes to 3-4 on the season, in what was the first game since being nationally ranked (No. 13) for the first time in program history.
GCU fought back from three deficits in the game, including a two-goal comeback in the third. The Lopes trailed, 4-2, heading into the final frame, but GCU rallied when freshman forward Kaitlyn Zaballos put the Lopes within 1 five minutes into the third via a nifty hard-angle pass from Megan Brodfuehrer. Four minutes later, senior forward Hannah Joralmon tied the game with a backhanded goal on the power play.
The game remained tied until the five-minute mark when Lopes freshman forward Marina Tonna finished off a 2-on-1 on a power play with freshman forward Gina Gualtiere, giving the Lopes their first lead of the game, and lighting up the Lopes’ bench.
CSU, though, would dampen the mood with the tying goal with under three minutes remaining, followed by the game-winner 12 seconds into overtime. Both goals came from Kristen Perry – who also scored late in the second period – to complete the hat trick.
“There was a lot of fight,” Lopes Head Coach Natalie Rossi said. “In the first period, we really weren’t the best team that we could have been, but the rest of the game we fought. We weren’t able to finish it, but we had some small wins that we can take away.”
The opening period that Rossi spoke of saw the Rams control the majority of the play. Being faster to any loose puck, CSU turned one of their many offensive rushes into the game’s first goal from Megan Johnston, who cleaned up the rebound off the initial shot from Perry.
Later in the period, Brodfuehrer displayed her speed by going coast-to-coast, banking her shot into the net off the post to tie the game.
The Rams quickly regained the lead early in the second before Joralmon tied the game once again midway into the period. CSU, though, would create their two-goal advantage with goals from Darby Easterday and Perry before the period ended.
“We are a very resilient team,” Rossi said. “We talk a lot about not letting your emotions get too high or too low. We focus on those small wins, and try and turn them into big wins.”
Finding one of those big wins will be the challenge this weekend as the Lopes travel to Fremont, Nebraska for four games in three days, playing twice each against Midland University and Grand Valley State University. GCU will start Thursday, November 8 with Midland, which is ranked No. 7 in the latest American Collegiate Hockey Association poll.
“We’ll be working on a lot of team concepts in practice this week and creating a competitive team atmosphere,” Rossi said. “We’re missing some key players due to injury, so we’re asking some players to step up and fill those roles. But we had a good third period against Colorado State, so hopefully we can take that momentum into Nebraska.”