SPRINGDALE, Ark – The Arkansas Razorbacks are set to take on the Grand Valley State Lakers. This will mark the first time a Michigan team has ever came to Arkansas.
The Razorbacks (4-3-0) are coming off two big wins against Auburn to open conference play, defeating the Tigers 14-0 and 9-0.
Grand Valley State went 15-14-1 last year and played in the Michigan Collegiate Hockey Conference as well as the American Collegiate Hockey Association (D3). Arkansas Head Coach Brian Gallini knows that the Lakers won’t be an easy task.
“They’re a tremendous program with a lot of good history and so from our standpoint we’re an up and coming program without that history. So, the first challenge is to make sure the guys know that we’re on equal footing with them, regardless of the backgrounds of the two programs.”
When preparing for this game, Coach Gallini focused a lot on starting with goaltending and working from there.
“We talk a lot about building the team from the net out. Brendan [Desjardins] has got to have a huge game for us; we’re not going to steal two from a quality opponent without him being at his best.”
Gallini added, “We need all, not one or two, but all of our blue liners to step up and make sure that they are playing within the lanes and the systems that they’ve been taught, and then from there we need goal scoring and then playing from the net out we can have a full team effort.”
Coach Gallini knows that a pair of wins this weekend can really help the Razorbacks in the short and long term.
“Two solid games against them would give us the momentum that we need to go in to a ranked Nebraska team and then on the road to Missouri State, so in the short term it can give us momentum.” Gallini said. “In the long term, hopefully it will send a message to the rankings committee that we deserve to be right up there in the conversation of top one or two programs in the South.”
Game 1 of 2 will be played Friday, October 14, 2011 at the Jones Center for Families in Springdale, Arkansas. Warm-ups begin at 7:00pm and the puck drops at 7:30pm. Tickets are $6 for adults, $2 for students, and free for kids under 10.