BY CHRIS ARNAUDO // Feb. 16, 2017 //
After a wild loss to Endicott on Saturday, the Curry College men’s hockey team will look to solidify their spot as one of the top teams in the conference Thursday night.
“We’re in a position where we want to be,” said head coach T.J. Manastersky during a press conference Tuesday afternoon. “We’re hoping to finish in the top four [of the Commonwealth Coast Conference] so we can host a playoff game.”
The University of New England will make the trip down from Maine for a 6:45 p.m. start Thursday night. The Nor’easters are just four points behind Curry in the standings, which makes this a pivotal game for both teams who have only three games remaining in the regular season.
If the Colonels were to fall (completely hypothetically), UNE would climb two points closer to that all-important #4 seed. That lack of space would surely weigh a little heavier on the way to top-ranked Nichols College Saturday afternoon, especially with an 8-4 win in their pocket over these Nor’easters.
In that meeting when Curry handed UNE an 8-4 loss, the Colonels were able to hold the top three forwards of the Nor’easters to just two goals. This was a huge contribution to Curry’s victory as the top line of senior Trevor Fleurent and sophomores Brady Fleurent and Dylan Bengston had been responsible for 102 of the teams’ 258 total points.
While the Colonels were able to shut down UNE’s top line, the Nor’easters struggled in doing the same. Senior Tyler Vankleef, whose 13 goals and 26 points lead the team, netted two power-play goals in the 3rd period that put the game out of reach.
When asked how they will handle their top line this time around, Manastersky noted, “You gotta make sure you have the right players on the ice.” On top of that, he added that those players will have to play as mistake-free as possible when they are out there.
Although he hasn’t decided which of his players will stack up against them shift-for-shift, he liked the thought of his line of sophomore Lionel Mauron and seniors Jake Heisinger and Vankleef out there simply because of their puck control. “If they have the puck, then the other team’s not scoring,” said Manastersky simply.
It all starts at 6:45 p.m. with the puck drop at the Max Ulin Rink in Milton.