BY STEVEN SOUSA // Oct. 28, 2017 //
The Colonels opened their season on Friday night with a convincing 5-1 win over UMass Dartmouth that featured an impressive 36 save performance from freshman goalie Frank Cundiff.
The scoring started early and often at Max Ulin Memorial Rink when forward Adam Valadao capitalized on a power-play to make it a 1-0 game not even two minutes into the game. A couple minutes later Valadao struck once again on another power-play after defensemen Jarret Kup chased down a loose puck in the corner and found Valadao streaking towards the net.
Then a few minutes later, forward Jordan Williamson scored on a short-handed chance to extend the lead to three.
Penalties were a big factor for both teams as there was one less skater on the ice for each goal in the game besides Colonels’ forward Joseph Dibenedetto’s goal in the second period, his first as a part of the program.
Head coach TJ Manastersky feels if his team gets that many power-play opportunities they are going to make opponents pay.
“If you have a good power play you’re going to score a couple goals a night,” said Manastersky. “They started well and they are going to have some confidence.”
Despite capitalizing on their power-play opportunities, the Colonels actually racked up more penalties with 18 minutes on 9 infractions compared to the Corsairs’ 14 minutes on 7 penalties.
“Well I didn’t agree with a lot of them, that’s the truth,” said Manastersky. “But really the only penalty that is acceptable is one that takes away a scoring chance for the other team and took a lot tonight that did not fit that criteria.”
The unexpected star of the night was freshman goalie Frank Cundiff who only found out on Thursday night that he was going to start.
Cundiff registered 36 saves but lost the shutout in the third period off of a one timer by Corsairs’ forward Mike Sones.
“The defense definitely bailed me out in the first period,” explained Cundiff. “I was a little nervous because I had those first game jitters but they bailed me out, they let me see the puck and I was able to control the game.”
Despite the stellar performance, Manastersky isn’t ready to name Cundiff as the starter moving forward citing that it’s too early to make that decision.
The Colonels will go on the road to take on UMass Boston on Saturday with the puck dropping at 4:00 p.m.