By Shane Lydon, Sports Editor
Photos courtesy of aqsaints.com
It’s been a good season for the men’s ice-hockey season so far and that form has continued on in to the new year. Since the holidays, the Saints have gone on a 5-2 win record including double victories against Grand Valley and Michigan State.
The Saints started off the new year with a convincing 5-0 victory against Grand Valley. Mike Curran was the man to get things rolling as he netted the first two goals for Aquinas. He was to be joined on the score sheet by Kyle Traux, Brandon Rozema and Trent Kulczyk.
In the return game at the Byron Center, Aquinas continued where they left off; this time registering a 3-0 victory against their local rivals. Curran and Kulcyzk, again, scored for Aquinas, but not before Steven Gustafson had given the home side a valuable lead in the first period.
A defeat to Davenport divided the two double headers as Aquinas went toe-to-toe against Michigan State. In the first contest, held at the Byron Center, Aquinas took the victory in style, wrapping up a 4-1 victory. It was a tense start with no goals scored in the first period but Aquinas quickly found their form in the second, netting three times, courtesy of Gustafson, Kukcyzk and Russell Shengullette. Michigan State pulled one back early in the third period before Shengullette rounded off the scoring to seal the victory.
The return encounter in Lansing was not as straight forward. State took an early lead but Aquinas responded in style. Goals from Nick Stockert, Spencer Graham and Curran turned the deficit into a commanding 3-1 lead at the end of the first period. Traux added to Aquinas’ lead early in the second period before State looked to mount a comeback. The Spartans netted twice to bring the game back into the balance at 4-3 before Aquinas sealed victory with goals from Kulcyzk and another for Traux to leave the final scoreline 6-3 in AQ’s favor.
In their third double header since the New Year, Aquinas took on Adrian College. The first game, at home, couldn’t have gone better with Aquinas taking the victory on a 5-1 scoreline. Despite an uneventful first period, Aquinas stormed their opponents in the second period with three goals coming from Kulcyzk, Curran and Mason Stewart. Greg McQuade and Gustafson added to the lead in the third period before Adrian pulled back a consolation goal late on.
In the return game at Adrian, Aquinas came up just short, losing out 5-3 in a tense affair. Despite taking an early lead through Traux, Adrian responded to score the next three and put them in a comfortable lead. However, Aquinas showed resilience to bounce back and level the game through another from Traux and Ryan Wolfe. Adrian netted two more before the end to close out the victory.
February brings more important games as the Saints play double-headers against Trine University and Grand Valley. The first Grand Valley contest is being hosted at Van Andel arena on February 15th and will give players from both sides a chance to showcase their abilities in front of a busy arena.
With Regionals starting in March, Aquinas will hope to continue their good form and head into the championships in positive form.