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.