BY STEVEN SOUSA // Feb. 18, 2018 //
For the second year in a row, the fourth-seeded Colonels hosted a Commonwealth Coast Conference Quarterfinal and fell to the visiting #5 seed.
Curry limped into the matchup with the Nichols College Bison Saturday night having already split the regular season series.
The game started out favorably for the Colonels, as they jumped out to a two-goal lead after Adam Valadao and Matthew Henderson found the back of the net within a minute of each other.
But soon their lack of depth and fatigue would catch up. With 1:40 left in the first period, Bison forward J.B. Baker capitalized on a Curry penalty to cut the lead in half.
Later in the second frame, forward Matthew Menta tied the game before forward Vincent Crivello buried Nichols’ third unanswered goal to grab a 3-2 lead going into the final stanza.
Colonels’ head coach T.J. Manastersky attributed the lapse to key players being banged up.
“You have to lean a lot on guys so they’re exhausted, they played too much, especially some of our top guys,” said Manastersky. “They played too many minutes but they were still one bounce away from overtime, twice.”
The game started to get chippy towards the end of the second period which usually can be a sign of frustration, but Manastersky felt it was a good thing for his team.
“I actually liked what I saw on the bench because I thought since we were so short and that we were tired, we needed some adrenaline to fire us up and get us going,” explained Manastersky.
It did give Curry a little bit of the spark it needed with five minutes to play when forward Zachary White put the puck in the net to tie the game at three apiece and put the Colonels on the brink of overtime.
However, the Bison had other plans and about a minute later, Menta registered his second goal of the game to grab the lead and the win for the visitors.
“It’s a game of bounces, we didn’t get one or two but that doesn’t change the way we played or our effort in everything we did tonight; I’m really proud of this team,” Manastersky noted. “Resiliency; no one quit, they stuck together, they kept working to the very end.”
Ironically for the seniors, their final season ends the same way their freshman year did, with a one-point, playoff loss to the Bison.
Manastersky feels for the seniors but at the same time, he has an eye on the future, which he considers to be very bright.
“Our seniors have done a great job in terms of leading the way and with thirteen freshmen who got to see that, learn that, and develop this year, it’s incredibly positive for them,” said Manastersky.
“You gotta build on it, but right now you’re in a period of mourning. It’s going to be tough for a couple days but then you slowly come out of it and before you know it, you’re back at it trying to build this team,” Manastersky concluded.