Lopes head home from Missouri with 3 losses, 1 tie
By: Maria Adams/GCU Club Sports Writing Staff
In a whirlwind weekend that saw them play four games against three of the top-10 ranked teams in the nation over a 41-hour span, the Grand Canyon University Women’s Ice Hockey team battled to a 2-2 tie with No. 10 Maryville University, while losing once each to Maryville, No. 4 Lindenwood University and No. 5 McKendree University. Despite the losses, the Lopes viewed the trip (all the games were played in St. Louis, Missouri) as an incredible opportunity to play high-level hockey.
Lindenwood 3, GCU 1
GCU kicked off the weekend with a big game, as Lindenwood was the highest-ranked team, in the current ACHA Women’s D1 Rankings, that the Lopes had encountered yet.
“Going into the weekend, Lindenwood was ranked No. 4,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Natalie Rossi. “We were ranked No. 16 on that same list, so battling for a close 3-1 loss was actually a beautiful game for us.”
Trailing, 2-0, after Lindenwood scored a goal in each of the first two periods, Lopes’ sophomore Micah Summer scored an unassisted goal in the third period to put GCU on the scoreboard. Lindenwood kept their trend of scoring in each period, securing their final goal in the third period to put the game away.
“Our defensive zone coverage was really strong,” said Rossi. “The girls bought into our systems, they worked hard, and they won their battles.”
McKendree 8, GCU 2
The long travel and quick turnaround finally caught up to GCU in the Saturday morning matchup against McKendree.
“It was a tough game,” said Rossi. “We were a little bit tired from our first game, and we let the travel get to us.”
Lopes’ juniors Faith Casola and Annabelle Koethe each found some offensive success for GCU and scored one unassisted goal apiece.
GCU 2, Maryville 2 (F/OT)
The Lopes did not dwell on the first two losses of the weekend when they hit the ice Saturday night against Maryville.
“We gathered ourselves a little more for this game,” said Rossi. “There were a few moments that we could have capitalized on more, but it was a close battle.”
With just minutes left in the game, Lopes’ junior Annabelle Koethe scored a goal to tie it up and send the game into overtime.
Despite the extra time, no additional goals were scored on either side, and the game ended in a draw.
Maryville 4, GCU 0
The Lopes had one more shot at a victory over Maryville the following morning.
“There were a few adjustments we needed to make to come out with a win in the second game,” said Rossi. “We just weren’t able to execute those changes.”
Though the Lopes concluded the weekend with a shutout loss, the squad gained insight into what areas they need to work on.
“We need to commit to being the best that we can be,” said Rossi. “We need to rely on our systems. We need to start executing. A big focus for the team now is making in-game adjustments. That is a part of college hockey and we need to implement that.”
The Lopes return to their home ice, AZ Ice Arcadia, for a two-game series against University of Utah, beginning with a 7 pm puck drop on Saturday Nov. 20, followed by a noon game on Sunday.
Interested in talking with Lopes’ Head Coach Natalie Rossi about how to get involved in GCU Women’s Ice Hockey? Contact her here!