Even when the opposing fans can’t stand you. In one of his first games at rival Cornell’s famed Lynah Rink (easily one of the best atmospheres in college hockey), fans were throwing toothpaste at the Colgate players. “They’re ruthless, but it’s so much fun,” Kulevich said of the playfully hostile environment. “Those are the kinds of places you want to play — and there’s a lot of them in this league. The crowds are great.”
A 6-foot-3, Kulevich has been working on keeping his stick active and using his reach to take passing lanes away from opposing attackers. He’s also blocked a team-high 25 shots.
“Blocks are huge at this level. I notice that with the puck on my stick at the blue line ... it’s so hard to get shots through, so you want to make it tough on the other guys,” Kulevich said. “Gap control is also huge. You can’t give these players time and space, and you want to get the puck and move it up to our forwards.”
Keeping it simple
Colgate is a relatively young team with only two seniors; the top eight scorers all underclassmen. After a rough start, they’ve come away with points in six of their last eight games, with the lone loss coming to defending national champion Yale.
“It’s a really good group of guys,” said Kulevich. “The whole year will be a learning process. The biggest thing is the margin for error. You have to make hard passes and make sure you’re putting it on the stick. One mistake and the other team’s flying the other way.”
Life in Hamilton, N.Y. has been good for Kulevich so far, though they’ve had snow on the ground for a few weeks and it’s quite cold. Starr Rink is right on campus, which is great for getting students at the games. Kulevich’s dad attends most of the games, and his mom and sisters make it whenever they can, too. He’s looking forward to a trip to Minnesota’s Mariucci Classic in a few weeks, one of the best Christmas tournaments in the country.
“I feel good,” he said. “Classes have been good and as a team we kind of hit our stride in conference play. We want to keep that going, and we’ll do that by working hard every night and controlling what we can control.
“I just have to play a simple game. It’s something they stress at every level — and it’s true.”