The Manitowoc United hockey team returned to the varsity level on Friday against De Pere after a three-year hiatus, falling at home 15-0.
“It was a rough start,” said United coach Mark Persaud. “It was our first game so we were excited and a little nervous. We haven’t been at this level so it was a good measuring stick for the program.”
One of the area’s Manitowoc experimented in was at goaltender, where Evan Brandt and Ian Herzog split time for United. Brandt allowed six goals playing in the first and third periods while Herzog allowed nine in the second.
“We wanted to see where Evan and Ian were at playing at this speed,” Persaud said in his decision to split time between the two goalies.”
Pesaud has been the coach for three years and is excited to be playing at the varsity level with a team comprised of players from across Manitowoc County.
“The program was in rough shape when I took over so it’s great to be at the varsity level again,” Persaud said. “Realistically, there’s some things we need to do yet. We need to get our legs underneath us.
“The bigger programs weed out their players but we need to develop them which is a lot harder to do. I’m not judging success by the final score but by how our players continue to grow both on and off the ice. Hockey is a tool for success, everything you need to succeed in life can be found in hockey.”
Persaud knows there’s a lot of work ahead of him and his program but doesn’t shy away from the challenges ahead.
“It’s about time we’re at this level,” Persaud said. “We have the talent to compete. Tonight we simply beat ourselves, we didn’t skate to our potential.”
Next up for United will be a trip to visit Notre Dame on Monday at 8 p.m.