They did just that Wednesday night against the Grand Rapids Flames, with a 13-0 mercy win.
“It’s always nice to get a conference win,” said Grand Haven head coach Keegan Ferris. “That definitely helps us maintain our position in the conference. We were able to work on some things and improve in some areas, as we get ready for our holiday break. Three of our next four games will be conference games, so this will be an important stretch for us coming out of the break.”
Spring Lake’s Isaac Moblo recorded a hat-trick and added one assist to lead the Bucs (4-5), while Grand Haven’s Alex Franczek and Austin Fox each added two goals.
Also tallying points for the Buccaneers were: Trey Bledsoe (one goal, one assist), Trevor Kalis (one goal, one assist), Cooper Fox (one goal, two assists), Alex Weykamp (one assist), Bradley Robertson (one assist), as well as Spring Lake’s Branden Beeler (one goal, two assists), Ethan Pennington (two assists), Lucas Underwood (one goal, one assist), and Connor Tebelman (one goal, one assist).
Finn Bylsma and Mika Byar combined to record the shutout in net.
Photos from Wednesday’s game
“We don’t have one key guy,” Ferris said. “Everyone has to be a key guy out there for us this year. That was the case tonight, too. Everyone played hard and unselfish, and ultimately, we just wanted to score goals and win games.
“I’ve been pretty happy with how quickly some of the younger guys have adjusted to the varsity speed. We’ve got a mix of older and younger players, and we don’t really have many guys that are right in the middle. A lot of these kids are coming from travel leagues, and they’ve never played varsity before.”
Early penalties have been an issue for the Buccaneers this season, so Ferris was happy to see only one trip to the penalty box on Wednesday night.
“We’ve had some penalty issues this year, especially in the first period,” he said. “So I was pretty happy to see only one penalty tonight. We usually get up there in the six, seven, eight range. So it was a definitely a clean game for us, and that’s something we can build on.”
The goal remains the same for the Buccaneers — finish strong and get to tier 2.
“We want to win the conference,” Ferris added. “That’s our goal this year, and that means we have to get better every single day. We got better tonight, and that’s what I care about the most.
“We’ve got some great senior leadership on this team, too. They want to have a winning season. It’s been a few years since Grand Haven has done that. So that’s their goal. They want to have a winning season, win the conference and put Grand Haven back on the map.
“We want to win tier 3 and get back to tier 2. That starts with the seniors and goes down all the way to freshmen.”
Despite the team lighting the lamp 13 times, Ferris was most impressed with the effort level from his club in a game that was decided early on in the first period.
“It doesn’t matter who we are playing,” he added. “We are trying to build a culture around here where if we are on the ice, whether it’s practice or a game, we’re going our hardest.”
The Buccaneers hope Wednesday night’s confidence boost will help them prepare for a tough road test against conference foe Hudsonville (5-3) on Jan. 6 at Georgetown Ice Arena.
“Hudsonville is a tough team,” Ferris said. “They’ve got two or three studs on their roster, and they’ve put together a strong start to the season. We know it’s not going to easy to go in there and win, but we’re going to head into that matchup with a lot of confidence and try and take care of business.”