BY MEGHAN RIVERA AND JOE TAFT // NOV. 1, 2018 //
The Curry College men’s hockey team opens conference play tomorrow night when it travels to Worcester, Mass., to face Becker College. The Colonels and Hawks will have little time to rest after the game, with a rematch Saturday night at the Ulin Rink in Milton.
Curry freshman Vladimir Cibulka will get his first collegiate start in goal. The Colonels enter Friday’s contest 1-0-1, having won the Buffalo State Tournament in New York last weekend, with junior goalie Justin Ketola earning the tie and sophomore goalie Cody Murch getting the title-game win.
“We have three goalies that we are confident in, so that’s a strength for sure,” said Curry coach T.J. Manastersky.
Three seniors lead this year’s team, with Zach White serving as captain and Lionel Mauron and Mack Heisinger as assistant captains. White was among the team’s leading scorers last year, with 17 goals and 15 assists. Mauron added 30 points, including 20 assists, and Heisinger had 16 points as a defenseman.
The Colonels’ roster features a lot of diversity this year, with players from seven different countries. Manastersky said preseason captains’ practices and the recent trip to upstate New York definitely brought the players more together.
The diversity, “it’s incredibly positive. I think it’s fun,” said the coach, now in his seventh season at Curry. “It opens up everyone’s eyes and you learn about other people, cultures, countries, and ways of playing hockey. The challenges come back to the communication…You’ve gotta check for comprehension.”
Becker enters Friday’s game 0-2, including an 8-1 blowout against Assumption College. But even though the Hawks are predicted to finish last in the Commonwealth Coast Conference, according to the preseason coaches poll — Curry was ranked fifth out of eight teams — the Colonels aren’t planning for an easy few days.
“Any given night you can lose to anyone and you can beat anyone,” said Heisinger, “so it really doesn’t matter what their record is.”
“They’re aggressive, they’re fast, and they play up-tempo,” added Manastersky. “We have to stay disciplined, but we also have to be ready to match their intensity.”
Senior forward Corey Schafer leads Becker in goals thus far with two, while freshman forward Caleb Labrie and sophomore defenseman Christian Leon each have two assists on the young season. The Colonels should get plenty of chances to find the back of the net, as the Hawks defense has allowed a whopping 107 shots through just two games.
Curry’s offense has been well balanced thus far, with five different players scoring goals. Freshman center Michael Curran, who co-leads the team with two points (1 goal, 1 assist), was recently named conference rookie of the week.
- Curry students in need of a ride to the Ulin Rink in Milton Saturday night can catch a free lift on the “fan-wagon.” It leaves the Student Center at 4 p.m., and the game begins at 4:50.
- Friday night’s game at the Worcester Ice Arena begins at 7 p.m. The game can be watched online through a live video stream.
- Curry finished last season 17-8-1 (11-6-1 CCC), while Becker finished 5-18-1 and came in last place in the CCC (3-15).