From Shadows to Spotlight
BY BRANDAN BLOM // MARCH 2, 2012 //
(UPDATE: After defeating Nichols College in the ECAC Northeast semifinal earlier this week, 7-2, the Colonels now take on Wentworth this Saturday, March 3, for the ECAC Northeast championship and a spot in the NCAA Division III Tournament. The game starts at 2 p.m. at Matthews Arena in Boston. Curry is providing free shuttle service to the game, with a 1 p.m. departure from the Student Center.)
As a defenseman on the Curry College hockey team, Ryan Barlock has often stood in the shadow of others.
Last season, he played alongside senior Ryan Warsofsky, who was among the nation’s top defensemen in all of Division II and III and has since taken his talents to a professional league in Europe. This season, Barlock has largely played in the shadow of classmate Payden Benning, a senior forward and two-time captain. Benning amassed a team-best 19 goals during the regular season, leading Curry to an 11-3-0 conference record.
But while goals often get most of the attention, someone is usually assisting in the offensive output. And that’s where Barlock shines.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound native of Chicago tallied a team-high 27 assists this season, to go along with 11 goals, in leading the Colonels in points. Moreover, Barlock broke the career 100-point mark this season, a spectacular feat considering he plays from the blue line. He is just the 26th Curry player to score 100 points in his career; teammates Benning and senior forward John Williams also reached the milestone this season.
“It feels pretty good,” said Barlock, 24, who played two years of junior hockey before coming to Curry. “It’s an honor to be in that group, to be with the other players in that club. A lot of hard work was put into it.”
He also just topped another record, becoming the top scoring defenseman in Curry history. Barlock has 33 goals in his college career—he scored 8 goals in both his freshman and sophomore years, along with 6 last season and 11 so far this year. The previous record was 31.
An assistant captain, Barlock attributes his skills to long, hard practice sessions, and also to his teammates. “When players around me make plays, it makes it easier for me,” he said.
Head Coach Rob Davies said it’s often the other way around. “He has always brought that grit to every game,” said Davies, who earned his 200th career victory this season. “He always shows up and gives it his all. His physical play opens up the ice for the other players.
“He’s absolutely a leader,” the coach added. “He is a good player, a good student, and he works hard on and off the ice.”
A management major and two-time member of the ECAC All-Academic squad—“I think my competitive nature transitions well into the world of business,” he said—Barlock wants to continue playing hockey after graduating from Curry this spring. He said his preference would be to play in the United States but is open to playing in Europe. “I definitely will play somewhere,” he said.
For now, Barlock is focused on helping the Curry hockey team reach its goals. The team has struggled out of conference this season with a 2-7-2 record, and ended its regular season on a sour note. The Colonels lost two of its final four games, all in-conference affairs, but the team is working to earn yet another birth in the NCAA Division III tournament.
Curry won the ECAC Northeast title the past two seasons, earning a place in the national tournament, but has failed to win a single game on that stage.
Said Barlock, “We want to take it to the next level.”