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.

Curry Ties Johnson and Wales in Third Annual Teddy Bear Toss Game

BY TYLER MILLIKEN // Nov. 20, 2016 //

The hockey team took their home ice Saturday afternoon in front of a crowd ready to donate teddy bears to children in need. They only needed to wait about seven minutes.

Intensity was high on both sides once the puck dropped in this Commonwealth Coast Conference matchup with Johnson and Wales University as Curry had been riding a four-game winning streak. Not to mention, the Colonels had some added pressure at the start of this matchup.

With the Teddy Bear Toss taking place, all the bears get thrown onto the ice when the Colonels score their first goal of the game. Due to this being such a highly attended event, it’s no surprise the team wanted to come out firing.

It would only take 7:08 for Curry to score that first goal. Junior forward Adam Valadao sent a scorching slap shot into the back of the net, thanks to a flawless pass from defensemen Jarret Kup. It marked both the third goal for Valadao and the third assist for Kup and sent stuffed teddy bears flying over the boards.

Junior Ryan Fitzgerald said after the game, “Everyone on the bench was ecstatic and jumping up and down giving high fives after the goal. It was just a really special moment for anyone who was a part of the team.”

The Colonels maintained the intensity and senior forward Tyler Vankleef extended the lead with two minutes left in the first frame. Vankleef used his stickhandling skills and placed one past Joey Ballmer for his CCC-best 11th goal of the season. Jake Heisinger and Alec Mono registered the assists that put Curry up 2-0 with 2:14 to go.

By the end of the first period, there were plenty of hits in the corners to keep the players jawing at each other. However, the Colonels retained a 14-8 lead in the shots category after the first 20.

The Wildcats bounced back early in the second, however, tying the game in the first seven minutes. Ben Brouillard, a senior forward, slapped a shot past Curry’s Ben Sinclair for their first goal of the game at the 2:55 mark.

Then, just minutes later, sophomore center Chad Guderian stole the puck and beat two defenders before zipping the puck just over Sinclair’s glove at the end of a Colonel power play.

The comeback wouldn’t shut down Curry, though, as it battled back to retake the lead with only minutes left on the clock.

Mono grabbed his second assist of the game as he found forward Shane Tracy who smacked the puck in the back of the net thanks to a screen in front of Ballmer.

Even though Johnson and Wales outscored the Colonels, Curry again took the shot advantage, this time 19-10.

As the third period rolled around, the Colonels appeared to begin to play it safe. They were no longer playing aggressive and seemed to be playing keep-away from the Wildcats.

Unfortunately, this new strategy failed to work after Tracy ended up in the box for hooking. At the end of that power play, Johnson and Wales tied the game with 11:52 remaining in regulation. Freshman Nicholas Gray netted the goal for the Wildcats after Connor Bates earned his second assist of the game on a pass right in front of the goal.

Johnson and Wales sustained their offensive pressure but Sinclair would come through and keep the game deadlocked at three by the time regulation ran out.

The five-minute overtime was short, but the Colonels had one great chance to win with 3:03 showing on the clock. Vankleef secured a breakaway, but a Wildcat tossed his stick and tripped him as he attempted to score.

Curry was given a penalty shot and Vankleef had the game on his stick.

He eyed up his challenger and took on the task that creates the longest distance between the blue line and the goal. Ballmer made a sliding effort to keep the puck out of the net and the game tied.

Over the final three minutes, neither team could get anything going and the game ended in a 3-3 draw.

Colonel goalie Ben Sinclair totaled 35 saves on the night, while Johnson and Wales’ Joey Ballmer racked up 42 due to Curry outshooting the Wildcats 45-38.

It wasn’t all negative, though, as teddy bears still came on the ice and Vankleef elaborated, “Seeing the bears come down was awesome. It’s what this event is all about. Getting those teddy bears and giving them back to the community and the sick kids in the hospital is a real good feeling.”

When speaking about how the Colonels might bounce back after a tough draw like this, Head Coach T.J. Manastersky explained that “It’s hard to tell. After a game like that, I don’t say much to them…We have the luxury of a week off from games, so it’ll be good to just be together and have some fun at the rink.”

After that week off, the Colonels will have the chance to resume their unbeaten streak Dec. 1 on the road at Endicott College, who is 3-2-2 on the season.

Hockey Team Set To Host Third Annual Teddy Bear Toss

BY TYLER MILLIKEN // Nov. 16, 2016 //

The holiday season is all about giving, and the hockey team here at Curry is ready to get into the spirit.

On Saturday, November 19th, the Colonels will be hosting their third annual Teddy Bear Toss event. The hockey team will be facing off against Johnson and Wales University on the ice, and the puck is scheduled to drop at 4:45 p.m. at the Max Ulin Rink in Milton, Mass.

Over the past two seasons, the Teddy Bear Toss has been one of the biggest games for students and fans to attend. Giving the opportunity for both athletes and supporters of the team to get involved in such a great cause is something nobody wants to miss out on.

“It’s a great community builder, we bring in the Curry students, athletes, and Milton community while hopefully trying to do a lot of good,” Head Coach T.J. Manastersky explained.

In order for this event to come together successfully, the hockey team has been partnering with TEAM Impact. This organization allows children with chronic and possibly life-threatening diseases, to become a member of different sports teams at various Colleges in the area.

Through a draft process, these students are matched with different teams, and they stay connected with them until graduation. It’s a way for the child to get involved, while also having their new teammates join their ever-growing support team.

When the Colonels score their first goal of the game on Saturday, fans will have the chance to throw teddy bears onto the ice. It’s a rare thing to see in sports, but it’s something nobody seems to forget.teddy-bear-toss

Once all the teddy bears hit the ice, they’re collected and then donated to different charities with the help of TEAM Impact.

Spectators in attendance have the option to either bring their own teddy bear to be donated or buy one at the door. Supplies are limited, though, so it’s important to arrive early if you want to contribute to the cause.

Last year’s event totaled somewhere between 300-400 donated teddy bears, so the Colonels will be looking for help to surpass that number this time around.

Sophomore defenseman Mack Heisinger talked a little bit about the experience as a whole, saying, “For us all, it brings a sense of joy, because we’re doing something we love. And at the same time, we’re able to help a bunch of kids out by donating these bears. Having an entire community rally around that on one night is pretty special for us.”

Junior forward Ryan Fitzgerald added, “There’s an extra sense of excitement to know this is something that’s going to happen every year, and the legacy will live on many years after we leave here. There’s something of a rewarding feeling about that that really lives inside all of us.”

Heisinger went on to add that, “As a team, when we come together and find our schedule, the Teddy Bear Toss is one of the games we always circle.”

If you would like to make a contribution before that circled game, members of the hockey team will be selling t-shirts and bracelets from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday in the Student Center. The extra money will be donated from the sales, so it’s another way to get the Curry Community involved ahead of the big game on Saturday.

Make sure to check out the hockey team’s social media pages on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to keep up with the Teddy Bear Toss event over the coming days.