The Pioneers (16-4) proved to be too much for the Lakers (9-9), as they came away with a 16-2 victory to advance to the quarterfinals.
Spring Lake hung with the Pioneers early on, trailing 4-0 after the first quarter, but East Grand Rapids would flex their scoring muscles after that to jump ahead 11-0 at halftime and 16-0 after three quarters of play.
Spring Lake would score two goals in the fourth to salvage the day, but it would ultimately be too late for a comeback.
“I thought we matched up fairly well with them heading into the game,” said Spring Lake head coach Doug Sharp. “I thought we got off to a good start, but we gave up a couple easy goals in the first. We had some good offensive possessions and we were matching them for the most part, as far as shots on net, and we were showing patience out there.
“We got into the second quarter, and they steamrolled us a little bit. They went on some quick runs and we couldn’t answer them. They have the ability to score three or four goals on you in no time, and you have to be able to weather the storm and match them. They outshot us 8-6 after the first quarter, but none of our shots went in. That’s just how it goes sometimes.”
Colby Brown scored both of the Laker goals.
“This was definitely a huge step for our program,” added Sharp. “Anytime you are playing for a regional championship, you’re doing something right. To advance this far for the first time in program history, winning two dramatic games along the way, it’s something all of these guys should be proud of.
“We’re going to graduate a lot of veteran players from this team, but we’re also going to have 22 kids coming back who have a better understanding of what it takes to be successful in the postseason. We’ll celebrate our seniors tomorrow and the rest of the week, but then we’ll start planning for next year.”