BIDDEFORD, Maine – The Curry College men's ice hockey team was defeated by the No. 10 University of New England by a 4-3 final on Friday night at the Harold Alfond Forum in Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) action.
The Nor'easters tallied two goals in the opening period to gain the early advantage. Sophomore Jimmy Elser (Verbank, N.Y.) netted the initial marker 7:30 into the frame for UNE off of assists from classmate Austin Morgan (Novi, Mich.) and junior Chris Jones (Seattle, Wash.). The home squad tacked on its second goal with just over two minutes left in the stanza on a finish by senior Liam Neuman (Newmarket, Ontario). The helper was awarded to Jones as the Nor'easters took a 2-0 lead into the first intermission.
The Colonels came out strong in the second period and netted three power-play goals in a span of 8:14 of game time to gain its first lead of the contest. Sophomore Nick Magill-Diaz (Troy, Mich.) got credited with the first goal off of a one-timer shot that beat UNE junior goaltender Ben Churchfield (Newcastle, England). Just 39 seconds later, junior Joseph Thielen (Huntington, Beach, Calif.) capitalized on another power-play and found the back of the net for his second marker of the season. The goal was assisted by junior Michael Snow (Medford, Mass.) and senior Jordan Williamson (Okotoks, Alberta). Snow then gave Curry the 3-2 lead on the third straight power-play score of the period as it was set up by Thielen and Williamson at 11:21.
The Nor'easters rallied in the third, scoring the game-tying goal 4:13 into the frame on a power-play opportunity. Senior Ryan Bloom (Northville, Mich.) netted the equalizer as classmate Dimitris Jones (Seattle, Wash.) and freshman Jared Christy (Tustin, Calif.) were awarded with assists. UNE then tallied the eventual game-winner with 6:54 left in regulation as Neuman played it from behind the Colonels' net, which then made its way over to freshman Chad Merrell (Boca Raton, Fla). Merrell sent a pass up along the boards to find senior Ryan Burr (Toms River, N.J.) at the blue line. Burr ripped a shot which found its way past Curry senior assistant captain Justin Ketola (Cloquet, Minn.). The Colonels were unable to tie the game again as the contest ended in the 4-3 final.
The Nor'easters outshot Curry 42-26 for the game while the Colonels went 3-for-5 on the power-play compared to 1-for-4 for UNE.
Churchfield converted 23 saves for his seventh victory of the season. Ketola registered 38 stops in the setback for Curry.
Curry (8-3-1 overall, 5-2-0 CCC) will next play tomorrow, Saturday, December 7 at home against No. 7 Salve Regina University for a league contest at 4:50. The game will also be the Colonels' sixth annual Teddy Bear Toss. The University of New England (8-2-0 overall, 6-1-0 CCC) travels to Western New England University on Saturday for a 7:00 p.m. puck drop.