BY TYLER MILLIKEN // Feb. 12, 2017 //
The men’s hockey team got set to say goodbye to 11 men skating in the Purple and White for one of the last times Saturday evening at the Max Ulin Rink in Milton.
Endicott College played the part of the visitor in this one, giving time for the Colonel Seniors to be honored for their tenure. The Gulls checked in at #10 in the USCHO.com Poll this week and remained in the second spot in the Commonwealth Coast Conference.
Prior to the puck dropping, Curry’s 11 seniors were all honored in front of the Colonel faithful and their family. Each graduating member of the team was given a rose and embraced by their teammates before a senior picture was captured on the ice.
It was especially emotional as fifth-year head coach T.J. Manastersky said an early goodbye to his first recruiting class. One member of that group who embraced his time here is Captain Sean Nelson who has accrued 19 points over these 22 games.
In what looks to be his last year of hockey, “to remember tonight with ten other guys that I have played with over the last four years is going to be something I remember for sure,” said Nelson.
Once the first period started, Endicott came out owning the puck and ripping shots on net. Their physicality enhanced their style of play but it wasn’t long after that Curry started to make adjustments.
Around the seven-minute mark, the Colonels drew a boarding penalty and Jarret Kup’s eyes lit up. Senior Tyler Vankleef and sophomore Lionel Mauron played catch and introduced the puck to Kup’s slap shot. Kevin Aldridge couldn’t keep up with it and it blew by his shoulder to light the lamp first for Curry.
However, the lead wouldn’t last very long as four minutes later; the Gulls rang home two goals in 38 seconds, with the latter coming on a power play.
That lead would also not hold up although, it just took until the second period for the Colonels to tie the game back up. Again, they drew a penalty and the special teams came onto the ice and did their job, this time Mack Heisinger found senior Shane Tracy just 3:37 into it.
Endicott pushed back, however, and they did so emphatically. Four straight goals to close out the middle period saw the third period start with Curry in a 6-2 hole.
The Colonels picked up the physicality in the final period and never gave in. Tracy continued to be involved and picked up an assist and a goal in the final frame to pull to a 6-4 score.
Both goals came on power plays again, as senior Adam Valadao put one home just 19 seconds into the third.
There just wasn’t enough time for Curry to climb all the way back and the 6-4 score went final to send its record to 12-8-2 overall and 9-4-2 in the CCC.
Despite the unpromising score, T.J. Manastersky had faith in his men and let the seniors do everything in their final go around. “I didn’t even have to say much after the second period, the seniors said everything. I only had to tell them who’s starting.”
Even with Senior Night coming to an end on Saturday, the Colonels’ season continues on Feb. 16, when the University of New England makes the trip to Milton for a 6:45 p.m. start.