FU men’s hockey preps for showdown with No. 2 Adrian
HANCOCK — Opening weekend for the Finlandia Lions men’s hockey team could not have been crueler as the Lions dropped a 5-0 decision to Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) and a 3-0 game against Concordia. However, there were a number of positives that came out of the weekend.
Head coach Joe Burcar was encouraged by the efforts of both his goaltenders. Junior Matt Arnold made 33 saves in the loss to MSOE. Freshman Marcus Gloss made 38 stops against Concordia.
Gloss, a Houghton native, did things in his collegiate debut that caught Burcar attention, like holding on to pucks when he felt his defenders needed a breather.
“For his collegiate start, that was nice to see a local boy, his demeanor, his composure was better than what we expected,” said Burcar. “I think both goalies on both nights gave us a chance [to win].”
Sophomore forward Danny Hill also had a strong weekend for the Lions. Against MSOE, Hil racked up three shots on goal while going 10 for 23 on faceoffs. Saturday, he had just one shot on goal, but he went 15 for 20 on faceoffs, giving the Lions the puck in several key situations.
“He’s an easy kid to coach,” said Burcar. “He’s dedicated to his game. He is a bright spot for our team. He and Alex Rezansoff play well together.”
The efforts of local players like Gloss and Hill, a Hancock native, is especially encouraging as Burcar looks towards the next few years on the recruiting trail.
“I think as this program continues to grow, it is one area we definitely want to recruit in,” said Burcar. “They are easy to coach. They are brought up the right way. They understand the value of hard work.”
Freshman defenseman Phil Garcia took advantage of some extra ice time both nights due to freshman defenseman Adam Wammes missing time due to illness, and the youngster did not disappoint. After a strong effort on Friday, Garcia, who is listed at 5-foot-9, earned the right to start on Saturday and responded with three shots on goal and several near misses.
Garcia showed a penchant for the physical game despite often being smaller than the forwards he was hitting.
“He was excited to come in, a fantastic skater,” said Burcar. “In some ways, he’s got a little bit of Tiger Marcotte in him. He has the ability to move pucks well.”
This weekend, the Lions face the No. 2-ranked Adrian College Bulldogs Friday night and the Trine Thunder on Saturday. The Bulldogs racked up a pair of wins, 5-1 against Lawrence and 5-0 against Marian last weekend. Trine is 0-4 on the season after losing 9-2 to Marian and 6-2 to Lawrence last weekend.
Tonight’s game against the Bulldogs will start at 7:15 p.m. at the Houghton County Arena. Saturday’s game will start at 5 p.m.