UM-Flint Wolverines Tie with SVSU Cardinals

Whenever Saginaw and Flint meet on the ice, the energy level is upped a notch. Fifty years ago, the Flint Generals literally battled the Saginaw Gears in the old International Hockey League. Today in the Ontario Hockey League, fueled by this history, the intensity level revs when the Flint Thunderbirds meet the Saginaw Spirit.

And this energy spills over to other teams in the area, including UM-Flint’s.

Friday, Dec. 7, the university’s hockey club played against the Saginaw Valley State University Cardinals in American Collegiate Hockey Association action. When the ice chips settled, the end result was a draw, 5-5.

Fans who filled the seats at Crystal Fieldhouse were rewarded with good old time hockey. The action was intense as the glass buckled with a myriad of hits on this Student Appreciation Night, which saw roughly a doubling of attendance from the previous game.  

“SVSU has always been a chippie squad,” said Junior Nicholas Kozoro, a UM-Flint business major from Farmington Hills. “We knew that they would come out strong.

“Once the second period rolled around we got our legs and matched their speed and intensity.  We got our game going but we have to learn to start on time.”

SVSU opened the scoring with two goals in the first seven minutes. UM-Flint Senior Connor Houle scored at the half period mark of the first to cut the deficit to one.

“We were driving the corners, trying to keep the puck in,” said Houle. “Connor Phillips found the puck behind the net. He streaked down and fed me the puck which I was able to put in the back of the net.”

SVSU added one more goal at the 13-minute mark to end the first period with a 3-1 advantage. Then nine minutes into the second period, Kozoro sliced the Wolverines’ deficit to one with a score.

SVSU would regain a two-goal lead shortly thereafter. Then at the halfway mark of the second period, UM-Flint’s Brian Knack brought the Wolverines back within one with an unassisted goal.

In the third period, SVSU regained the two-goal lead but the home team battled back with a goal by Justin Zeiter near the 10-minute mark. Then with five minutes left, Stefano Shippono notched the game at 5-5.

With seconds left SVSU drove the net, forcing Wolverine goalie Adam Bryant to perform acrobatics as he scrambled to keep the puck out. Bryant stopped 39 Cardinal shots to keep the game at a 5-5 tie.

“Starting the game two goals down is always tough,” said Matt Daniels, UM-Flint mechanical engineering sophomore. “But we came back as our energy built and we started getting the pucks deep.

“The support by the crowd was a huge help. The cheers pumped the guys up.”

The Wolverines record rests at 4-9-3 after the tie and a 5-3 defeat to SVSU in a return match.