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.

Men’s Hockey comes up short in CCC Quarterfinal

BY CHRIS ARNAUDO // Feb. 26, 2017 //

The Curry Colonels’ men’s hockey season came to a bitter end last night at the hands of the University of New England. However, the 4-2 tally does not tell the story of this slow demise.

Curry came in with high hopes as the #4 seed in the Commonwealth Coast Conference tournament, earning the right to host the #5 seed Nor’easters. The Colonels also already registered 8-4 and 3-2 victories over UNE this regular season.

However, the Nor’easters probably had that in the back of their minds too and came out fast on their way to outshooting Curry 10-4 in the opening period. “We couldn’t find the start we wanted to,” senior Tyler Vankleef said postgame.

Just thirteen minutes into the game, senior Chris Harlow netted the games’ first goal. The Colonels we’re only down 1-0, but their body language suggested a much larger deficit.

“Sometimes there’s games where all the effort is there, but it doesn’t look like it,” said head coach T.J. Manastersky about his team’s energy.

Things went from bad to worse in the second period when UNE added a trio of goals. Two of them came on power plays from sophomore defenseman Tucker Ross. CCC Player of the year and First Team All-CCC member Brady Fleurent registered the fourth goal sandwiched in between Ross’ goals.

Sophomore Lionel Mauron finally formulated a response and put Curry on the board three minutes before the period ended.

However, during the intermission, a few Colonels sat outside of the locker room. None of them had their heads down, but all showed signs of defeat.

What would be the final period of Curry’s 2016-17 season lacked intensity and sense of urgency. It took over 12 minutes, and a 5-on-3 power play for the Colonels to claw back to within 2 goals. Mauron was credited with the goal again with assists from Vankleef and senior Jake Heisinger.

With two minutes still showing on the clock, senior goaltender Brett Sinclair was pulled from the net to provide an extra attacker. The Nor’easters didn’t give up any good looks, though, despite four forwards loading the slot with one pressuring the puck carrier. The clock bled down to zero before the Colonels could ring another one home.

Curry ends the season with a 14-10-2 record overall and despite the tough end; Manastersky had only positive things to say about his first recruit class ending their Colonel Careers.

“I told them that I love them and I’m gonna miss [all 11 of them]. They’ve set such a great foundation for this program,” said coach Manastersky.

We wish all the best to the graduating members of the Curry Hockey team and thank them for their time gracing our campus and the Max Ulin Rink.

Men’s hockey picks up 13th win with 3-2 decision over conference foe UNE

BY CHRIS ARNAUDO // Feb. 17, 2017 //

Curry Hockey skated to a season-sweep of the University of New England while also locking in a home playoff game for the Commonwealth Coast Conference Tournament with a 3-2 victory.

However, head coach T.J. Manastersky wasn’t getting too far ahead of himself, saying, “Immediately you’re thinking, holy smokes we might have to play them again.”

A big reason the Colonels earned the two points was thanks to the play of senior defensemen Ellery O’Hara and Mike Apreda. Manastersky made sure the pair looked right into the teeth of the top line for the Nor’easters every time a Bloom and two Fleurents spilled over the boards.

Freshman Ryan Bloom, sophomore Brady Fleurent, and senior Trevor Fleurent entered the game being responsible for 116 of UNE’s 260 points on the season. Last night, they were held to just one, which didn’t even come until a third-period power play.

Despite not having much production from their top guys, the Nor’easters still managed to draw first blood with 30 seconds left in the opening period. However, about seven minutes later, freshman Thomas Brejcha changed that narrative.

“I have to work hard, hit bodies and do the dirty job for them,” the Prague-native remarked, crediting his junior linemates, Shane Tracy and Adam Valadao. “It works. We’ve scored a lot of goals the last three-four games.”

That goal changed the momentum and shifted the winds as Curry was getting out-shot and out-worked prior to his play. It also opened the floodgates for his buddy Tracy, as well as senior Tyler Vankleef.

Another seven minutes into the third period, Tracy and Vankleef scored back-to-back goals, allowing only 88 seconds to elapse. Vankleef’s goal was the third unanswered for the Colonels and left only 11 minutes for UNE to score three goals…which wasn’t going to happen with senior Brett Sinclair between the pipes.

Sinclair stopped 18 shots on 20 tries in the winning effort and Manastersky added he’s “number 1 in my heart” after the game. He noted that Sinclair had an outstanding night, coming up big when they needed it most.

Manastersky also credited the referees for doing their job, saying, “The officials called the goals that went over the line, and waved off the ones that didn’t go over the line.”

Coach was alluding to Saturday night’s 6-4 loss to Endicott, where film allegedly showed two Gull goals never actually went into the net.

Curry will now travel to Nichols College, who sits atop the CCC, for a 4:40 p.m. start on Saturday. The Bison have already notched a 4-1 win over the Colonels last month.

Hockey hosts UNE in Home Finale

BY CHRIS ARNAUDO // Feb. 16, 2017 //

After a wild loss to Endicott on Saturday, the Curry College men’s hockey team will look to solidify their spot as one of the top teams in the conference Thursday night.

“We’re in a position where we want to be,” said head coach T.J. Manastersky during a press conference Tuesday afternoon. “We’re hoping to finish in the top four [of the Commonwealth Coast Conference] so we can host a playoff game.”

The University of New England will make the trip down from Maine for a 6:45 p.m. start Thursday night. The Nor’easters are just four points behind Curry in the standings, which makes this a pivotal game for both teams who have only three games remaining in the regular season.

If the Colonels were to fall (completely hypothetically), UNE would climb two points closer to that all-important #4 seed. That lack of space would surely weigh a little heavier on the way to top-ranked Nichols College Saturday afternoon, especially with an 8-4 win in their pocket over these Nor’easters.

In that meeting when Curry handed UNE an 8-4 loss, the Colonels were able to hold the top three forwards of the Nor’easters to just two goals. This was a huge contribution to Curry’s victory as the top line of senior Trevor Fleurent and sophomores Brady Fleurent and Dylan Bengston had been responsible for 102 of the teams’ 258 total points.

While the Colonels were able to shut down UNE’s top line, the Nor’easters struggled in doing the same. Senior Tyler Vankleef, whose 13 goals and 26 points lead the team, netted two power-play goals in the 3rd period that put the game out of reach.

When asked how they will handle their top line this time around, Manastersky noted, “You gotta make sure you have the right players on the ice.” On top of that, he added that those players will have to play as mistake-free as possible when they are out there.

Although he hasn’t decided which of his players will stack up against them shift-for-shift, he liked the thought of his line of sophomore Lionel Mauron and seniors Jake Heisinger and Vankleef out there simply because of their puck control. “If they have the puck, then the other team’s not scoring,” said Manastersky simply.

It all starts at 6:45 p.m. with the puck drop at the Max Ulin Rink in Milton.