Fiery passion for hockey freshmen on and off the ice

May puts in a shift during the Lions’ upset of Kutztown. (Julie Kayzerman / Nation & World Editor)

It’s a feeling that’ll never be forgotten for all athletes who have ever cared about their sport. The final two minutes of their last high school game on their home field — being told that there are bigger and better things to come, but all the while knowing that the moments of an athletic career’s glory days might be scarce in the future.

To some it’s not a big deal, as they’ve already committed  to continue play for their college. But to others, club sports can be the savior that provides four more years of the game they love while also highlighting the skills of the most talented players.

This semester, the Lions’ ice hockey team welcomed freshmen forwards Will Sulpizio and Luke May to the ice, and they have benefited greatly in the process.

With a combined total of 56 points for the team this season — Sulpizio contributing 29 and May with 27 — the two freshmen have been consistent point getters, proving themselves worthy of minutes on the ice.

“It’s been good to be able to go out each and every game (and) have the chance to make a difference and be able to help the team in any way possible,” May said.

The chemistry of the two players is undeniable, as they’ve comprised their points almost equally between goals and assists, while boasting seasoned stickhandling skills, powerful skating and sharp awareness of the puck on the ice.

“Playing with Will has been good so far,” May said. “We do a good job of supporting each other and working together. We have good chemistry and it’s been fun playing together.”

Coming in as freshmen with a lot to prove to a bunch of older boys who have already played together can sometimes be a challenge, but the rookies have handled it with confidence and composure — playing with fire, passion and hard work — while undoubtedly earning them the respect from their new teammates.

But putting the points and obvious talent aside, it’s the clear camaraderie of the team that is so special.

Sulpizio works on building chemistry with May. (Julie Kayzerman / Nation & World Editor)

“Everyone on the team gets along and works well together,” Sulpizio said. “It’s been a great experience. I’ve had a lot of fun getting to know everyone.”

On the ice, everyone has the same goal in mind. But it’s not often to find a team such as this group of boys where the members support each other off the ice as well, regardless of differences in their ages.

“The upperclassmen have been great,” May said. “They do a great job making sure everyone feels comfortable on the team but also keep everyone in line (to) make sure they get the job done.”

Sulpizio added that the upperclassmen help with off-ice advice about classes and schoolwork, too.

Regardless of what sport or level you are playing in, when you have two freshmen separately saying that their favorite parts about playing hockey at the College are “hanging out with the team” and “having a great group of guys to hang out with,” there’s definitely something special going on.

As a group of college boys has come together in the name of a sport, it’s obvious they’ve formed stronger bonds than just teammates — and while winning on the ice is great, they’re definitely winning in more ways than one.

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