Hockey comes to UDM

The UDM club hockey team began its inaugural season, splitting a pair of games against Lake Superior State University over the weekend at City Sports Center in Detroit. The team's first-ever victory came Friday night with a 6-5 win over the Lakers. Lake Superior regrouped Saturday, however, and defeated UDM 5-4.

For co-captain Alex Kolpacke, the weekend was about more than just the games.

"We are excited to have a new sport to represent the school in a new way," he said. "We want to make hockey known at UDM."

In order to do that, Kolpacke and co-captain Vince Recchia had to build the team from scratch.

According to Kolpecke, Recchia had the idea to start a club team, and began drafting a constitution in early 2009.

One semester and $20,000 later, the team took the ice under head coach Sam Spurlin as part of the American Collegiate Hockey Association.

Before the team's first game, Spurlin stressed the importance of starting aggressively, and the players seemed to listen. Less than four minutes into the opening period, Kolpacke found the back of the net for UDM's first goal.

Kolpacke scored again at the seven-minute mark, extending UDM's lead to 2-0.

"It was huge," Spurlin said of the fast start. "Especially with a new team like this, you need to get out there quick and set yourself. You don't have a reputation that the other team is aware of so you have to come out and create a reputation from scratch and I think we did that in a big way."

UDM also flexed its defensive muscles in the first period, stopping multiple five-on-three Laker power plays.

"Anytime you can kill a five-on-three, it's a huge momentum boost for your team," Spurlin said. "The guys really stepped up."

Lake Superior responded in the second period, tying the score at 2-2 within the first nine minutes. Kolpacke answered with his third goal to put UDM ahead in the 10th minute of the game.

Deno Brockert scored less than two minutes later for a 4-2 lead, before State responded.

UDM kept up its offensive attack in the third period with goals by Manny Maniaci and Kevin VanBuskivic. The Lakers scored with 59 seconds left to cut the lead to 6-5, but UDM held on to earn its first victory in club history.

After the game, Spurlin praised the efforts of the entire team, including Kolpacke and his three-goal performance.

"You see why he is wearing the 'C,' " he said. "He was a machine out there. He gave a very aggressive effort today."

Despite an impressive performance on Friday, Detroit could not carry the momentum into Saturday's game. The Lakers struck early, taking a 2-0 lead into the second period.

VanBuskivic kept Detroit in the contest, scoring twice within a minute to tie the game.

Lake Superior added two more goals in the period's final minutes, and added one early in the third to take a 5-2 lead. UDM continued to battle, as Kolpacke scored twice in the third to move Detroit within one.

Despite a five-on-three power play late in the game, UDM could not capitalize and lost 5-4.

"Our first period was not very good at all," said Spurlin. "We came out in the second and third periods like we did yesterday. I don't know what team came out in the first. We had a really hard time getting established in the offensive zone."

Despite the loss, Spurlin saw a few positives to take from the game.

"The guys didn't get down on themselves," he said. "I thought we came out with good intensity in the second period. If you can put the past behind you and come out and play better, that's the sign of a good team.