SPRINGDALE, Ark- The Arkansas Razorbacks topped the Grand Valley State Lakers in a 6-5 shootout thriller; splitting the weekend series at 1 apiece with.
The win comes against a former National Champion, as Grand Valley has been a power in the DIII north for several years.
The Lakers started out the scoring when forward David Stone netted one 8:01 in to the game. But Arkansas would tie the game back up with 9:21 left in the game with a goal by Martin Sundstedt, leaving the score at 1-1 at the end of the first.
Grand Valley State was quick to jump on top with a goal 37 seconds in by Evan Olds. Connor Crumblish of the Razorbacks would knot the game back up at 2 though with 8:51 left to play in the second. But the Lakers were determined to reclaim their lead as Ryan Luke and Parker Host both scored towards the end of the period giving the Lakers a 4-2 lead heading in to the third.
In the third frame the Ice Hogs would look to bring this game up back to even as defenseman Collin Hesse scored 4:13 in to the period inching the Razorbacks closer to tying the game again. With 10:51 left to play in the game Easton Oliver would score to bring Arkansas back even with the Lakers, but forward Bryce Derry was quick to put the Razorbacks ahead scoring 1:26 later giving the Ice Hogs a 5-4 lead.
As the clock dwindled down the Lakers pulled their goalie and with 1:25 left to play in regulation defenseman Aaron Mascarello took a shot from the point, scoring to even the game back up at 5-5 at the end of regulation.
Goaltenders Brendan Desjardins and Pete Herman stayed sharp between the pipes in overtime, letting nothing through to send this game in to a shootout.
Every shooter was denied by each goalie, until the eighth shooter for the Razorbacks, sophomore Jimmy Nemeth put one past the Laker goaltender to give Arkansas the win. “It was great, coming in I just tried to put everything out of my mind and just pretend like it was practice and do what I do,” said Nemeth.
Goaltender Brendan Desjardins stayed sharp throughout the shootout letting nothing go by to help lead the Razorbacks to victory, “Honestly, shootouts are my favorite things. We do them every Thursday and we play a game called apple, lemon, and orange, where the winner gets an apple, the loser has to eat a lemon, and the winning goaltender gets an orange, so it’s pretty much muscle memory for me.”
This weekend marked the first time a Michigan team made a visit to Arkansas, and forward Jimmy Nemeth knows that a win against a team like Grand Valley State is a big deal, “Coach has been talking us up about this team for the past two weeks now that it’s the first Michigan team that has come down here to play Arkansas, southern hockey, so it was big.”
Next weekend Arkansas will hit the road to take on Nebraska, and Brendan knows there are things that need to be worked on with the team, “We need to stay focused for all 60 minutes of the game, last night we fell asleep for 2 minutes and that cost us the game pretty much, and tonight was the same thing, we fell asleep for 2 minutes and we were down 4-2 so just being consistent and working hard all 60 minutes is something we need to work on.”