BY CHRIS ARNAUDO // Feb. 17, 2017 //
Curry Hockey skated to a season-sweep of the University of New England while also locking in a home playoff game for the Commonwealth Coast Conference Tournament with a 3-2 victory.
However, head coach T.J. Manastersky wasn’t getting too far ahead of himself, saying, “Immediately you’re thinking, holy smokes we might have to play them again.”
A big reason the Colonels earned the two points was thanks to the play of senior defensemen Ellery O’Hara and Mike Apreda. Manastersky made sure the pair looked right into the teeth of the top line for the Nor’easters every time a Bloom and two Fleurents spilled over the boards.
Freshman Ryan Bloom, sophomore Brady Fleurent, and senior Trevor Fleurent entered the game being responsible for 116 of UNE’s 260 points on the season. Last night, they were held to just one, which didn’t even come until a third-period power play.
Despite not having much production from their top guys, the Nor’easters still managed to draw first blood with 30 seconds left in the opening period. However, about seven minutes later, freshman Thomas Brejcha changed that narrative.
“I have to work hard, hit bodies and do the dirty job for them,” the Prague-native remarked, crediting his junior linemates, Shane Tracy and Adam Valadao. “It works. We’ve scored a lot of goals the last three-four games.”
That goal changed the momentum and shifted the winds as Curry was getting out-shot and out-worked prior to his play. It also opened the floodgates for his buddy Tracy, as well as senior Tyler Vankleef.
Another seven minutes into the third period, Tracy and Vankleef scored back-to-back goals, allowing only 88 seconds to elapse. Vankleef’s goal was the third unanswered for the Colonels and left only 11 minutes for UNE to score three goals…which wasn’t going to happen with senior Brett Sinclair between the pipes.
Sinclair stopped 18 shots on 20 tries in the winning effort and Manastersky added he’s “number 1 in my heart” after the game. He noted that Sinclair had an outstanding night, coming up big when they needed it most.
Manastersky also credited the referees for doing their job, saying, “The officials called the goals that went over the line, and waved off the ones that didn’t go over the line.”
Coach was alluding to Saturday night’s 6-4 loss to Endicott, where film allegedly showed two Gull goals never actually went into the net.
Curry will now travel to Nichols College, who sits atop the CCC, for a 4:40 p.m. start on Saturday. The Bison have already notched a 4-1 win over the Colonels last month.