Club Hockey: Building tradition with first annual Spirit Cup vs. Northwood

Despite being named in an article by the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA), the Saginaw Bay Ice Arena or “Death Valley” will not play home to the Cardinals on Saturday.

Starting this season, the SVSU men’s hockey club and the Northwood University hockey team will start an annual tradition of playing at the Dow Event Center for the Spirit Cup.  The first game will be at 3:30 p.m., Saturday, Dec. 7.

For $12, fans can get into both the game between SVSU and Northwood, and the Saginaw Spirit and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds.  Team captain Scott Walter said fans of hockey and supporters of the hockey club should make it out to the Dow to support the team on and off the ice.

“This game is really good for both us and Northwood,” Walter said.  “For every ticket we sell, we are getting $5 back to help us as a club, so people should come out and see us and the Spirit.

“It’s really a great deal, especially if you just like watching hockey.”

Walter said fans can go to the SVSU Hockey Facebook page to find more information on the deal.

Over the weekend, the men’s hockey team competed in the Great Lakes Showcase tournament hosted by the University of Michigan – Dearborn.

Against Eastern Michigan’s Division-I team, the Cardinals fell, 7-0.  On Saturday, SVSU beat Division-II Toledo in overtime, 5-4, before losing on Sunday to Central Michigan’s Division-II team, 3-1.

Being the only Division-III team in the tournament, Walter said his team made huge strides playing against tougher competition.

“Our guys got a ton of good experience and played great this weekend,” Walter said.  “Against Eastern Michigan, who made it to the tournament finals, we outshot them, but kind of broke down late and we outshot Central Michigan 50 to 39 despite losing 3-1.

“Both teams had unbelievable defense and our guys played very well.”

Overall, Walter said if the team continues making the strides its making, the rest of the schedule should be manageable.

“If we play the way we played this weekend, we should be good against the rest of the league,” Walter said.  “Especially if teams have to come play at our place.”

In an article posted by the ACHA, the Saginaw Bay Ice Arena was named one of the toughest places to play in the league, stating that “Death Valley” as some fans call it routinely brings in close to 1,500 people who make it difficult for opposing teams to win.

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