Curry Hockey Dominates UMass Dartmouth, 5-1

BY STEVEN SOUSA // Oct. 28, 2017 //

The Colonels opened their season on Friday night with a convincing 5-1 win over UMass Dartmouth that featured an impressive 36 save performance from freshman goalie Frank Cundiff.

The scoring started early and often at Max Ulin Memorial Rink when forward Adam Valadao capitalized on a power-play to make it a 1-0 game not even two minutes into the game. A couple minutes later Valadao struck once again on another power-play after defensemen Jarret Kup chased down a loose puck in the corner and found Valadao streaking towards the net.

Then a few minutes later, forward Jordan Williamson scored on a short-handed chance to extend the lead to three.

Penalties were a big factor for both teams as there was one less skater on the ice for each goal in the game besides Colonels’ forward Joseph Dibenedetto’s goal in the second period, his first as a part of the program.

Head coach TJ Manastersky feels if his team gets that many power-play opportunities they are going to make opponents pay.

“If you have a good power play you’re going to score a couple goals a night,” said Manastersky. “They started well and they are going to have some confidence.”

Despite capitalizing on their power-play opportunities, the Colonels actually racked up more penalties with 18 minutes on 9 infractions compared to the Corsairs’ 14 minutes on 7 penalties.

“Well I didn’t agree with a lot of them, that’s the truth,” said Manastersky. “But really the only penalty that is acceptable is one that takes away a scoring chance for the other team and took a lot tonight that did not fit that criteria.”

The unexpected star of the night was freshman goalie Frank Cundiff who only found out on Thursday night that he was going to start.

Cundiff registered 36 saves but lost the shutout in the third period off of a one timer by Corsairs’ forward Mike Sones.

“The defense definitely bailed me out in the first period,” explained Cundiff. “I was a little nervous because I had those first game jitters but they bailed me out, they let me see the puck and I was able to control the game.”

Despite the stellar performance, Manastersky isn’t ready to name Cundiff as the starter moving forward citing that it’s too early to make that decision.

The Colonels will go on the road to take on UMass Boston on Saturday with the puck dropping at 4:00 p.m.

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.

Men’s Hockey Falls on Senior Day

BY TYLER MILLIKEN // Feb. 12, 2017 //

The men’s hockey team got set to say goodbye to 11 men skating in the Purple and White for one of the last times Saturday evening at the Max Ulin Rink in Milton.

Endicott College played the part of the visitor in this one, giving time for the Colonel Seniors to be honored for their tenure. The Gulls checked in at #10 in the USCHO.com Poll this week and remained in the second spot in the Commonwealth Coast Conference.

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Curry College Seniors were honored on Senior Night at the Max Ulin Rink. Photo by Tyler Milliken ’20

Prior to the puck dropping, Curry’s 11 seniors were all honored in front of the Colonel faithful and their family. Each graduating member of the team was given a rose and embraced by their teammates before a senior picture was captured on the ice.

It was especially emotional as fifth-year head coach T.J. Manastersky said an early goodbye to his first recruiting class. One member of that group who embraced his time here is Captain Sean Nelson who has accrued 19 points over these 22 games.

In what looks to be his last year of hockey, “to remember tonight with ten other guys that I have played with over the last four years is going to be something I remember for sure,” said Nelson.

Once the first period started, Endicott came out owning the puck and ripping shots on net. Their physicality enhanced their style of play but it wasn’t long after that Curry started to make adjustments.

Around the seven-minute mark, the Colonels drew a boarding penalty and Jarret Kup’s eyes lit up. Senior Tyler Vankleef and sophomore Lionel Mauron played catch and introduced the puck to Kup’s slap shot. Kevin Aldridge couldn’t keep up with it and it blew by his shoulder to light the lamp first for Curry.

However, the lead wouldn’t last very long as four minutes later; the Gulls rang home two goals in 38 seconds, with the latter coming on a power play.

That lead would also not hold up although, it just took until the second period for the Colonels to tie the game back up. Again, they drew a penalty and the special teams came onto the ice and did their job, this time Mack Heisinger found senior Shane Tracy just 3:37 into it.

Endicott pushed back, however, and they did so emphatically. Four straight goals to close out the middle period saw the third period start with Curry in a 6-2 hole.

The Colonels picked up the physicality in the final period and never gave in. Tracy continued to be involved and picked up an assist and a goal in the final frame to pull to a 6-4 score.

Both goals came on power plays again, as senior Adam Valadao put one home just 19 seconds into the third.

There just wasn’t enough time for Curry to climb all the way back and the 6-4 score went final to send its record to 12-8-2 overall and 9-4-2 in the CCC.

Despite the unpromising score, T.J. Manastersky had faith in his men and let the seniors do everything in their final go around. “I didn’t even have to say much after the second period, the seniors said everything. I only had to tell them who’s starting.”

Even with Senior Night coming to an end on Saturday, the Colonels’ season continues on Feb. 16, when the University of New England makes the trip to Milton for a 6:45 p.m. start.