Colonels Hockey to Open Conference Play

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.

PHOTO COURTESY OF CURRY ATHLETICS

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).

Hockey Suffers Another Quarterfinal Exit

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.

Four-Goal Run Sparks Colonels to 6-3 Win over Johnson & Wales

BY STEVEN SOUSA // Dec. 3, 2017 //
The Colonels rode a four-goal run to capture a 6-3 victory over Johnson & Wales University in the fourth annual Teddy Bear Toss.

As a tradition, after the first Curry goal, fans throw teddy bears onto the ice that later get donated to children for Christmas.  The idea originated from Jake Heisinger, a recent Curry alumnus, who wanted to do something for the kids in hospitals around the holiday season.

This year, all of the teddy bears collected will be donated to Christmas In The City, which is a non-profit organization that helps give families near or below the poverty line a holiday that they deserve.

“What makes ours different from a lot of the ones that you see is that it’s completely organized by our players, they don’t just show up and play in the game,” said Colonels’ head coach TJ Manastersky on why the event is so unique.

Six minutes into the opening period, freshman Kasper Kjellkvist buried the puck in the back of the net and the bears finally went flying. The goal seemed to curtail some nerves as well after Curry had given up a goal just two minutes prior to Wildcat forward Ryan Sete.

However, that goal did more than just send teddy bears over the glass; it started a run that changed the game.

Adam Valadao got credit for an assist on Kjellkvist’s goal and did not stop there. He went on to assist Brandon Zajicek and Shane Tracy, who both capitalized on their chances at the end of the first period and five minutes into the second.

Lionel Mauron added an unassisted goal to open the scoring in the middle period and the Colonels held a 4-1 advantage immediately following the bears’ decent to the ice.

Manastersky felt that his team was probably the better team, which was displayed on the scoreboard, but one area they could improve on is their penalties.  Curry racked up 10 penalty minutes on five infractions while giving up a short-handed goal.

“I think it’s just the discipline in playing the way we want to play for a full 60 minutes,” said Manastersky.  “I think we played well in spurts, but if we want to be a good team night in and night out then we need to have more discipline in how we want to play.”

Part of that includes closing out the game.

As Mike Emrick always says, “The cursed goals come in the first minute, and the last,” and that was put on display following a mid-ice turnover. Alan Boozer raced into the Colonels’ zone and put one passed Frank Cundiff with only 45 seconds showing on the clock.

However, by that point, Kjellkvist and Tracy had already lit the lamp again to register a season-high six goals for Curry for the second time this year.

Tracy finished with a pair of goals and a pair of assists, sitting atop the box score with Valadao, who racked up four assists. Those co-captains have also helped the freshman Kjellkvist, their line-mate, ease into this transition and it clearly has been effective.

The trio has registered the most amounts of points on the season with Valadao’s 16 and Tracy’s 15 leading the way before Kjellkvist’s 7 earns him a four-way tie for third.

“He’s a smart, skilled, big offensive player, and he’s going to be a really good Division III player,” said Manastersky.

Saturday’s win secures the season sweep of Johnson & Wales as a 4-2 decision from Thursday in Providence brought the Colonels to .500 in the Commonwealth Coast Conference at 3-3.

Now Curry sits at 5-4-1 overall and 4-3-1 in the CCC and will not return to action until Friday, Dec. 8 when they start their home-and-home series with the Nichols Bison before a three-week long holiday break.

The puck is scheduled to drop at 6:50 p.m. at the Max Ulin Memorial Rink.

Colonels Drop Opener With First-Place Endicott, 4-2

BY STEVEN SOUSA // Nov. 18, 2017 //

The Colonels dropped the first game of their home-and-home series with first-place Endicott College, 4-2.

The Gulls entered Max Ulin Memorial Rink on Friday at 4-1 on the season, and ranked 11th nationally in the Division III hockey poll, proving to be a real test for the young Curry squad.

Two goals in the first period gave Endicott an early lead but the Colonels didn’t quit.  Thirty-three seconds into the second period, Curry answered with one of their own when defenseman Mack Heisinger found the back of the net off a slap shot.

Despite the score, head coach TJ Manastersky felt that it was a “fairly even” contest and part of that was the Colonels’ ability to bounce back.

“Our resiliency was good,” Manastersky explained. “There were times in the game when it could’ve gotten out of hand and we kept sticking with it and we were always within striking distance.”

Late in the second period, the Gulls tacked on another goal when an interception at mid-ice created a 2-on-1 breakaway that forward Daniel Kucerovy was able to capitalize on, making it a 3-1 game.  Manastersky said that heading into the contest, one of the things they wanted to limit was Endicott’s odd-man rushes, but ultimately, the Gulls scored on two of them.

“They are a very good team that has a high depth of skill,” said Manastersky.  “Even guys on their fourth line can score given the opportunity, and that was kind of the difference tonight.”

Both special team units played well for the Colonels over the three periods.  They successfully killed off eight minutes of penalties while also scoring on one of their four power-play opportunities.

That goal came with nearly two minutes remaining in the game when Curry’s goaltender Frank Cundiff was pulled giving the Colonels an extra man on the ice. Defenseman Jaret Kup was able to take advantage of that opportunity and score his second goal this year.

However, there was not quite enough time for a full comeback and Curry dropped to 3-3-1 on the season after the final horn. But the Colonels will head to Endicott this afternoon for the second game of the series after a good learning experience for a young team.

“Sometimes when you have a young team facing a really good team, you have to get in the battle,” Manastersky noted. “You gotta throw some punches, take some punches and realize they are normal and just like you.”

The puck is set to drop between Curry and Endicott at 4 p.m. at the Raymond J. Bourque Arena in Beverly, Mass.

Hockey Skates to 2-2 Tie with Western New England in CCC Action

BY STEVEN SOUSA // Nov. 11, 2017 //

Despite dominating the time of possession in the game, Curry hockey finished in a 2-2 tie with the University of Western New England, Friday night.

The game between the two conference rivals got a little extra physical, resulting in a crossing of a line of sorts from the Golden Bears. Junior forward Zachary White had to be helped off the ice after receiving a blow to the head from freshman defenseman Adamo Giacomin, who garnered a five-minute major and an ejection.

White didn’t return for the rest of the game, putting the already short-handed Colonels down to 10 active forwards for the game.  Head coach TJ Manastersky felt his team did a good job of grinding through the injuries, however.

Later on in that middle period, Curry capitalized on the 5-on-4 power play when defenseman Brandon Zajicek scored off of a rebound to give the Colonels a 1-0 lead.

A mere five minutes later, forward and co-captain Shane Tracy intercepted a puck at mid-ice and deked out a defender before dropping the puck off in front of the net to forward Lionel Mauron, who buried the chance to extend the lead to two.

However, WNE responded with a pair of goals of their own in the same period, both of which came off slap shots from the left circle.

The two teams remained deadlocked throughout the third and overtime periods.  Curry outshot the Golden Bears 41-25 but couldn’t finish around the net.

“We could have attacked the net a little better tonight,” Manastersky noted. “We had the puck an awful lot…There’s times where you have to find ways to spin off a guy and get to the net, be willing to shoot and be willing to get in front of the net without the puck.”

In addition to being down to only 10 forwards, the Colonels were also missing co-captain and defenseman, Phil Kiss, who is out with a concussion.

“It affects our lines because he is a top-end defenseman, plays a lot of penalty kill and some power play, so it’s a trickle-down effect,” Manastersky explained.  “You start relying on freshmen defensemen to do a lot of things which is baptism by fire but it’s good for them.”

The tie puts Curry at 2-2-1 overall on the season, but they have a chance to break through the .500 ceiling when the second half of the home-and-home series sends the Colonels to Springfield to faceoff with WNE yet again tomorrow evening.

Instead of spreading out games between two conference opponents throughout the season, the new format has CCC teams play both of their games back-to-back.

“I think it’s awesome,” said Manastersky.  “It’s like a mini-series and sometimes familiarity breeds contempt.”

Curry has no time to waste and gears up for a road trip to western mass with the puck drop set for 6 p.m. at the Olympia Ice Center in West Springfield, Mass.