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.

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.

Curry Hockey Set to Start New Season

BY STEVEN SOUSA // Oct. 26, 2017 //

The Curry College men’s ice hockey team is trying to accomplish something it hasn’t done since 2011: put together consecutive winning seasons.

Last year, the Colonels enjoyed a 14-10-2 season, good for fourth place in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) and a home playoff game. However, they were knocked out in the first round of the tournament by the University of New England, a team they beat in both regular-season matchups.

Although it was a bit of a stunning defeat, sixth-year head coach TJ Manastersky said he couldn’t let the team dwell on it for too long.

“The reality is that every team’s season ends disappointingly except for one,” Manastersky explained. “But what you do when the dust settles is try to take positives from it and learn from the things that you need to get better at.”

One area of improvement could be starting off games better, as Curry trailed in 11 of its contests and only came away with three wins.

The Colonels will look a little different this season after losing 11 seniors from a year ago, including top point-scorer Tyler Vankleef, who racked up 15 goals and 15 assists. Jake Heisinger will also be missed after he registered the most assists on the team with 20.

In addition, three-year starter Brett Sinclair leaves the goal posts vacant after carrying a .900 save percentage and a 12-9 record. Although every team goes through turnover year to year, this type of production will be a challenge to replace.

“When you lose a player that scored 15 goals, you’re probably going to feel that at some point. But you’re counting on guys to emerge,” said Manastersky. “There were some guys last year that I think are capable of doing more and we think that they will.”

Junior Lionel Mauron scored the second-most points last season with 25. Seniors Shane Tracy and Adam Valadao were right behind him with 23 apiece.

Valadao faceoff
Adam Valadao (14) will look to add on to his 53 career points for the Colonels // Image credit: Curry Athletics

Another player to keep an eye on this season is junior Zachery White. Although he didn’t have a lot of production last season over 22 games, Manastersky believes he is a player who will be able to create many offensive chances.

It is still unclear who will be the next man up between the pipes for the Colonels. Senior Chris James, junior Spencer Cookson, and freshman Frank Cundiff are all vying for the starting spot, but Cookson was the only one to see time last year, appearing in five games while getting two starts.

Manastersky declined to reveal who will be the starter for Curry’s home opener on Friday.

Naturally, the Colonels will be a young team but Manastersky feels that strong leadership will guide them. Seniors Phil Kiss and Tracy will serve as captains, and classmates Ryan Fitzgerald, Jarret Kup and Valadao will don A patches, serving as assistant captains.

Kiss also
Phil Kiss (22) enters his fourth season with the Colonels, having already played in 69 games // Image Credit: Curry Athletics

The 2017-2018 version of Curry hockey will feature 11 new players, including 10 freshmen. Tracy noted there may be some growing pains early on, but they will have to find a way through them.

“With a lot of new guys, it might take a little while to adjust completely compared to last year, but I think as the season goes on we are going to get stronger,” explained Tracy. “We are going to be playing our best hockey at the end of the season, push into the playoffs, and make a serious run.”

Kiss shares those same playoff aspirations, as his goals for the team are simple.

“Make it to the conference championship, win it, and get into the tournament,” said Kiss. “It’s going to be hard work and we are getting better every day.”

Despite the CCC preseason coaches’ poll ranking the Colonels as only the fifth-best team in the conference, Curry is eager to make a statement.

Shane Tracy
Shane Tracy racked up 19 points in conference play last year // Image credit: Curry Athletics

“We got some freshmen that nobody even knows exist,” Manastersky elaborated. “They’ve been in North America for six weeks; they don’t know what we are playing with.”

This young Curry team has playoffs on its mind, but to get there it’ll have to do something it hasn’t done in six years: finish over .500 for two seasons in a row. However, co-captains Tracy and Kiss have all the faith in the world in their teammates.

“I think with the guys we have, it’s 100-percent possible,” said Kiss.

“Oh, guaranteed,” echoed Tracy.

The 2017-2018 campaign kicks off Friday, Oct. 27, at 6:50 p.m. when UMass-Dartmouth pays a visit to the Max Ulin Memorial Rink in Milton.

14 Curry Hockey Players Honored For Academic Achievement

BY STEVEN SOUSA // Oct. 24, 2017 //

14 players from the 2016-2017 Curry College men’s hockey team have been recognized as “All American Scholars” by the American Hockey Coaches Association.

The honor is bestowed upon student-athletes who maintained a 3.6 GPA for the year and participated in 40-percent of their team’s games.

Last year’s freshmen scholar-athletes included Jordan Williamson, Alec Mono, and Anthony Trujillo while the sophomores were Lionel Mauron and Mack Heisinger. As juniors, Ryan Fitzgerald, Phil Kiss, Jarret Kup, and Shane Tracy were honored.

Graduated seniors Robert Cammalleri, Jake Heisinger, Ellery O’Hara, Brett Sinclair, and Tyler Vankleef all came back to campus to receive their certificate.

Colonels’ head coach TJ Manastersky said in a press release last week that he was very proud of the effort his players put in the classroom.

“Our culture is about building leaders and preparing young men to be successful when they graduate Curry College,” Manastersky said.  “Results like this speak to the commitment and buy-in they have towards our team culture. This is a tremendous honor.”

The Colonels’ 14 representatives make up the most out any other team from the Commonwealth Coast Conference. Johnson & Wales University and Western New England University were not far behind with 11 scholar-athletes each.

Curry had 11 scholar-athletes alone come from foreign countries to excel in American classrooms. 10 of them made the trip downstairs from Canada, but forward Lionel Mauron is the lone representative of Switzerland.

All other CCC teams had no more than four foreign-student-athlete on the list.

61 universities participated in the AHCA’s program, but Curry is one of only four schools to feature a group comprised of over 75-percent foreign-student-athletes.

Those nine remaining scholar-athletes inch closer to their first faceoff of the regular season, which will take place this Friday, Oct. 27. UMass Dartmouth will make the trip for a non-conference tilt starting at 6:50 p.m. at the Max Ulin Memorial Rink.