The Official Website of Grand Canyon University Club Sports.

Grand Canyon University Club Sports

GCU Women’s Ice Hockey Returns from Colorado Undefeated

women's hockey player
November 4, 2021

Lopes earn 2 victories, 2 ties in competitive weekend

By: Maria Adams/GCU Club Sports Writing Staff

One Colorado weekend. Four games.

For the first time ever? Zero losses.

Grand Canyon University Women’s Ice Hockey went to Colorado last weekend where they recorded back-to-back ties against University of Colorado, followed by two straight wins over Colorado State University. It was the fourth time in the five-year history of the program the Lopes travelled to the Centennial State during the fall and packed four games at multiple cities into a 48-hour span, but this was the first time they had ever returned to Phoenix without a loss.

Friday: GCU 1, Colorado 1 (F/OT)

Despite being the first out-of-state road game in almost two years, the Lopes competed well right out of the gate. Lopes’ freshman Reese Gingrich did not waste any time, scoring a goal early in the first period.

The second period came – and went – without any additions to the scoreboard from either team, but Colorado did score in the third period to send the game to overtime. In OT, neither the Lopes or the Buffaloes found the back of the net, and the tie stuck.

“We battled the best in the first period,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Natalie Rossi. “We need to do a better job carrying that into all three periods.”

Saturday: GCU 1, Colorado 1 (F/OT)

A bit of déjà vu.

In the second faceoff with the Buffaloes, yet again, the game ended in 1-1 tie after overtime. Again, it was Lopes’ freshman Reese Gingrich that scored the GCU’s goal. Despite the eerie similarities, Rossi saw several positive changes.

“The second game against Colorado showed huge progress for our team,” said Rossi. “We were able to outbattle them, focus on communication, and our back checking was much better which that made a huge difference.”

Saturday: GCU 4, CSU 0

GCU then made the 75-minute bus ride from Boulder to Fort Collins, yet immediately took control of the game against CSU, taking a 2-0 lead into the third period. By the time Lopes’ freshman Elaine Richardson scored her first goal as a Lope in the third, it was clear GCU was in a groove and working together.

“Scoring my first collegiate goal was a super thrilling experience,” said Richardson. “The whole team was cheering and that felt so good, but what was even better was knowing that my team and I worked hard together to make that goal happen.”

Richardson later scored another goal in the third period add to the Lopes’ lead. The four total goals – combined with GCU’s relentless defensive efforts – resulted in the squad’s first shutout victory of the year.

“Our team chemistry definitely played an important role in the success,” said Lopes’ goalie Elsa Kurtz. “We put all our effort into every pass and play. We really gave 110%.”

Sunday: GCU 3, CSU 1

This time around, CSU showed some pushback and finally found some offensive success with a goal in the first period. The Lopes, however, did not let up and Period 1 ended with the Lopes leading, 2-1. GCU’s sophomore Annabelle Koethe scored the final goal of the weekend in the third period to cushion the 3-1 win.

“After opening with two ties, our team truly came together with a grit mentality,” said Lopes’ junior Marina Tonna. “We dug deep, kept up our energy, and had a positive mindset throughout. Of course, we were tired from our other games, but we did not travel all that way to lose.”

Going undefeated is a triumphant weekend by any standards, but there are some measures of success that go beyond the squad’s record.

“We truly played as a team,” said Tonna. “We were not just playing with each other but playing for each other. We stepped onto the ice each time with a purpose and represented GCU well.”

The Lopes will finally have the home ice advantage at AZ Ice Arcadia (38th Street and Thomas Road in Phoenix) when they take on Air Force Academy Saturday Nov. 6 at noon.

Want to support GCU Women’s Hockey at their home games? Check out the full schedule here!