Hockey hosts postseason tournament, faces Davenport

Erik Svensson

Nine teams — including three of the country’s top ten — will come to Kent this weekend to compete for the top spot in the Great Lakes Collegiate Hockey League (GLCHL).

The GLCHL playoffs tournament will be hosted at the Kent State Ice Arena and will run from Thursday to Sunday.

Three of the teams participating — Adrian College, Davenport University and the University of Michigan-Dearborn — are ranked among the top ten teams in the American Collegiate Hockey League.

The Kent State hockey club (19-16-0) will play its first game against Davenport on Friday at 8 p.m.

Davenport (26-6-1) is seeded No. 2 for the tournament and is ranked No. 8 in the American Collegiate Hockey League. Kent State is seeded No. 7 in the tournament and is ranked No. 24 in the American Collegiate Hockey League.

The two teams last faced each other at the beginning of the season, when Davenport swept Kent State earlier in the season. The Panthers won by scores of 4-3 and 4-2.

“We’re two very different teams now,” junior forward Jon Buttitta said. “It’s been a full season. We’ve changed a lot since then. I’m sure they’ve changed too.”

Davenport is already guaranteed a spot to the national tournament, which the Flashes will use as motivation.

“We’re a dangerous team because this is our final weekend,” head coach Jim Underwood said. “When we lose, that’s our final game of the year. They’ve still got another week of hockey, but for us there’s no tomorrow.”

Kent players are confident in the work they’re putting in to prepare for the upcoming games.

“I think our skill set will definitely help us,” senior captain Alex Compean said. “We’ve got a lot of forwards who are able to score when they want to. We’ve also been working on our defense – getting the puck out of our zone and find an open guy to get it away from the goal.”

Members of the team are looking forward to the competition with Davenport.

“We’re going to be on home turf,” Buttitta said. “Even though they’re a top ranked team, anything can happen in playoff games. We’re going to have our crowd, we always give Davenport a good game – I think we could come out on top.”

Erik Svensson is the hockey reporter, contact him at @[email protected]