By: Taylor Browne/GCU Staff
“We are proud of ourselves, but we are not satisfied,” said Lopes’ Head Coach Natalie Rossi.
Any season finale is supposed to be bittersweet, and this past weekend was no different for the Grand Canyon University Women’s Ice Hockey team. The Lopes traveled up to Las Vegas for the Western Women’s Collegiate Hockey League Playoffs at City National Arena, and concluded their season with an overall record of 4-15 after being swept by No. 6 University of Colorado, 8-0, and Arizona State University, 4-0, in the two games.
Future Lopes and recruits are taking notice to Rossi’s team – regardless of scores.
“I had a few recruits reach out to me this weekend,” said Rossi. “They saw our scores, but they continued to tell me how excited they were to join the team. It’s something to say about our culture and our team that our recruits coming in already know that we have lost games by large margins, but we are not satisfied with just going to playoffs. We are not satisfied with the fact that we were there, and we want to make sure we go there and win next year.”
In Friday night’s matchup, the Buffaloes jumped out ahead to a 4-0 lead after the first period, and never looked back in the dominating 8-0 win, putting up 43 shots on goal.
“We did a good job staying positive the entire game,” said Rossi. “It’s hard to play when you are down, to keep your spirits high, and go out there every shift and work hard, but that’s what we did. It was something that – as a coach – you have to be proud of.”
Saturday night, the Lopes were given the opportunity for redemption against ASU, but had trouble finding the grit they needed to avoid ending their WWCHL Playoff journey.
“You have to give your hats off to (ASU) goalie Jordan (Nash-Boulden),” said Rossi. “She’s an incredible goalie, and was able to make a lot of stops against us. We played well against ASU, and Haylee (Gannaway) had great saves that kept us in the game. Overall, we played with them. The score doesn’t reflect that, but we did.”
Seventeen of the Lopes’ 19 games were played against nationally ranked opponents, and three of GCU’s wins were against ranked teams in the ACHA poll.
Players like GCU goaltender Haylee Gannaway stood out on a national scale. Gannaway played in all 19 games this season, and averaged 37 saves per game (701 total saves), which ranked third in American Collegiate Hockey Association Women’s Division I.
Megan Brodfuehrer: WWCHL All-Tournament and All-Conference
During the weekend, the WWCHL honored Lopes’ freshman defenseman Megan Brodfuehrer with a WWCHL All-Tournament and All-Conference selection.
“Megan didn’t have as many points as some of the other players that won that award,” said Rossi. “However, every coach recognized that she makes an impact in every game she’s in.”
This season, the Lopes accumulated 26 goals – 10 more than last season. Brodfuehrer was GCU’s leading scorer and point producer with seven goals and eight points this season.
“There were a number of our players that were also talked about in those meetings,” Rossi said. “It wasn’t just Megan. It was Shilo (Cederberg), it was Haylee and our team overall. It was about our team’s overall grit that everyone kept bringing up. As a coach, that is something I can be proud about.”
And next year?
“We are coming into next year with a chip on our shoulder,” said Rossi. “We know we are good enough to be here now. Let’s make sure we continue to prove that.”