Category Archives: Club Sports

CCSU Club Hockey End Regular Season Strong

by Nicholas Leahey

After struggling against Eastern Connecticut, the Blue Devils rebounded in a high scoring affair against Bryant over the weekend.

The Central Connecticut Men’s Ice Hockey Club Team closed out the regular season with a doubleheader, including a 5-2 loss to Eastern on Friday, and a 7-6 win over Bryant University on Saturday.

CCSU (9-7-0) started out strong in the first period Friday against Eastern in front of a sizable crowd in attendance, when Dylan Brown made a cross-ice pass to Jack Johnson on a 2-on-2 rush up ice, to beat Eastern goalie Alex Bliesher just 2:35 into the game.

That would be the CCSU’s only goal in the first period, however, with Eastern scoring three unanswered goals within five minutes soon after.

“I think we just got cocky after that first goal, and it blew up in our face,” said CCSU Captain Matthew Lis after the game.

Johnson later scored again on a 2-on-1 rush up ice with Brown at 14:16 of the third period. It wasn’t enough to stop Eastern’s offense though, who solidified their 5-2 victory when forward Christian Keator’s wrist shot beat CCSU goalie Zachary Gosselin high on the glove side late in the third period.

Unofficially, CCSU had 45 shots on goal during the game, while Eastern had 49.

“We just didn’t come ready to play today, and I think it showed,” said Gosselin after the game Friday.

The following night, the Blue Devils came out hard in their last regular season game against Bryant University, holding a 2-1 lead at the end of the first period, and a 5-3 lead after the second period. Despite a Bryant comeback surge in the third period to tie the game 5-5, led by Bryant’s Daniel Congiusta and Garrett Lehan, CCSU’s Frank Pisano and Lis were each able to score, giving the Blue Devils the victory with a final score of 7-6.

CCSU’s Lis, Pisano and Kyle Leyerzapf each scored twice in the game. Lis and Brendon Quirion also had two assists. Unofficially, shots on goal were 56 to 43 in favor of CCSU.

“We didn’t play our best, which I think says a lot about our team when I we say that even though we won,” said Leyerzapf after the game. “Hopefully we can clean things up before the playoffs.”

Despite the loss to Eastern on Friday, ending a five-game winning streak, the Blue Devils are 6-1 in their last seven games, earning themselves a post-season spot as a result.

“We’re going to keep everything the same,” said CCSU Head Coach Joseph Dabkowski. “In post-season games, there is going to be more energy and more emotion, and we’re just going to try to maintain our identity as a team.”

In accordance with the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s (ACHA) post-season competition structure, the Blue Devils will play post-season Super East Conference next week in New Jersey. CCSU’s quest for a national championship however will begin in roughly a week and a half when they will compete in Regional ACHA play. They will play either Friday Feb. 26 or Feb. 27 in Danbury depending on their league ranking.

“We’re just going to practice hard, and stick with each other,” said Leyerzapf. “I think if we stick together, we will do well in the playoffs.”

Sitting Down With The Club Hockey Team

by Nicholas Leahey

When you walk into the locker room of the Central Connecticut Men’s Club Ice Hockey Team (6-6-0), you notice one undeniable fact: it stinks.

Upon closer inspection of the cluttered room, which is filled a mixed smell of men’s deodorant and dirty hockey equipment, you can see ice skates, jerseys, and blue hockey helmets marked “Central” placed neatly in their respective places in each stall.

“We are unlike any other club,” said team captain Matthew Lis. “We put in just as much time and effort as any other sports team.”

The team, which plays their home games at Newington Ice Arena, is a part of the Super East Conference of the American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA). The conference includes other schools such as Siena College, Marist College, New York University, as well as William Paterson University, their self-proclaimed rivals.

“They like to play cheap,” said Club President Patrick Dowd, who plays center forward. “It’s always a good game.”

The team is comprised of players who have all grown up playing the game they love, with some playing since they were five years old. Like all athletes, each player had their own idol growing up.

“I definitely looked up to John Tavares,” said player Brendon Quirion.

Because the entirety of the team is from Connecticut, some players played for rival schools going through middle school and high school, while others played together. Dowd himself played high school hockey with fellow teammates Quirion and Max Maffucci.

Regardless of prior affiliations, however, all players have learned to work and come together as a team. The result has been a strong comradery among the players that can be seen in a number of ways.

“It’s like a brotherhood,” said Quirion. “It is just a different feeling going out there with the guys.”

The ability to function well as a team has played a big role in the team’s performance and lead to their relative success over the past few years. The team made it to nationals during the 2009-2010 season, and has qualified for the regional tournament several times since.

Individual motivations for choosing to play hockey over other sports vary widely, but it is clear that every player is there for the love for the sport — even if they don’t say it straight to you.

“Isn’t it obvious?” said Jack Johnson jokingly. “It’s for the chicks.”

All members of the team take an immense amount of pride in their play, and have challenged themselves in taking on NCAA registered teams, including a game coming up in late February against Post University. They also say they have staked their claim as the “bad boys of the Super East.”

“We play to win,” said Lis.

Winning is what they hope to accomplish in their next game on Saturday Feb. 6th when they take on rivals William Patterson.

Aside from the ability to drink in the stands, the team says their games are always fun to watch.

“Our games can get out of hand sometimes,” said Dowd. “And that’s what the crowd likes.”

Central Ice Hockey Extends Win Streak

by Brian O’Neill

The Central Connecticut club ice hockey team took on Marist on Friday night, in the first game of a home series against the Red Foxes. The Blue Devils swept Marist and, coming off a 1-1 road trip last week, are now at 5-1-0 on the season.

Friday night marked the return to the Newington Ice Arena for the Blue Devils and a return to the high scoring showdowns the team had a week before.

The scoring started with Marist’s Pat Erstling beating Central’s goalkeeper with 6:48 left in the first period. The 1-0 lead lasted for six minutes until CCSU’s Andrew Mazurkiewicz found defenseman Matt Lis for a slap shot to even the score with 21 seconds left in the first.

The second period opened with an interference penalty 20 seconds in on Central, giving the Red Foxes the one-man advantage. Marist used the power play to go up 2-1, 2:36 minutes into the period. Marist struck on the power play again in the ninth minute, putting the Red Foxes up 3-1.

Just one minute later, after Marist picked up an interference penalty, Mazurkiewicz put the puck under Marist’s Justin Larkin’s leg pads to bring the Blue Devils back within 1. Central tied it up with 3:31 left in the second, with Frank Pisano catching a cross-ice pass and shooting top shelf while on a 5-4 power play. At the end of the second period, both teams had scored twice on the power play, making it 3-3 going into the third.

The scoring started seven minutes in and, again, the goal came on the power play when Central’s Kyle Leyerzapf scored on a rebound coming from Jack Johnson’s shot. Leyerzapf would find himself in the goal column again, with seven minutes left in the third — this one coming off a one timer with the first and second assists going to Mazurkiewicz and Pisano, respectively.

Leyerzapf wasn’t the only Blue Devil with a two-goal night. Lis scored Central’s final goal of the game with 4:30 left in regulation, the first even strength goal since the first period. With the score 6-3, and the Devils in the lead, Marist struck with a defection goal with only 3:27 left, bringing the Red Foxes within two.

With Marist building momentum, Central took two minor penalties with 2:07 left in the game, giving the Red Foxes a 5-on-3 power play (six with the goalie pulled) for all of seven seconds of the game.

Despite Marist doubling the amount of Central penalty killers, the Blue Devil defense and goaltending held strong, ceding no ground and closing the game with a 6-4 win. Statistically, penalties were a huge factor. With 38 minutes total (20 from Central and 18 from Marist) the effectiveness of the penalty killers and power play units ultimately decided the game.

“I think we finally started playing in the third period,” said head coach Ben Adams. “We were a little slow, sluggish to start, and we woke up in the third.”

He added: “It’s always interesting playing home and home. Very rare we play home and home and coming into tomorrow, it’s going to have to be a quick turnaround. Even though we were [penalty] killing, we had a lot of guys willing to sell out and block shots and do what it took to win, and that’s going to pay dividends tomorrow.”

The Blue Devils look to extend their two-game win streak this weekend, facing off against UConn on Friday, Oct. 17 and UMass on Saturday, Oct. 18. Both games are at home at the Newington Ice Arena.

Club Ice Hockey Shuts Out UMass, Falls to UConn

by Brian O’Neill

Central Connecticut’s club ice hockey home stand continued this weekend with games against UConn on Friday and UMass on Saturday. The Blue Devils split the two, losing to UConn and beating UMass and putting the team at 6-2-0 on the season.

“The main problem is the first 40 minutes we weren’t ready to play,” head coach Ben Adams said, regarding the 5-2 loss to the Huskies Friday night. “Too many unforced errors, too many mental mistakes, too many breakdowns in our zone, and we just weren’t ready to go tonight.”

The loss to UConn was Central’s first at home this season. The first period was controlled by UConn, with the Huskies spending most of the period on the attack. It wasn’t until two minutes left in the period that UConn broke onto the scoreboard, though.

The second period opened with a surge from Central, resulting in a game-tying goal from Central’s Frank Pisano, off a rebound from Andrew Mazurkiewicz. It wasn’t long before UConn responded with a power play goal coming from a scrum in front of the net. With the goal, UConn took back the lead and the momentum, scoring two goals in the last two minutes of the period, bringing the score to 4-1 at the end of the second.

The third period opened with a spark from Central, but the effort wasn’t enough for the Blue Devils, and even Central’s Matt Lis’ power play goal with 8:32 left to bring the game within two points was countered by UConn with a goal at 6:52 that made the final score 5-2.

“We’ll go back through and analyze as coaches and see if there are any changes that need to be made in the line combos. Any systems changes [needed] and we’ll make some adjustments tomorrow,” said Adam’s after the loss on how he planned to prepare for next night’s game.

Saturday night, when Central faced off against the UMass Minutemen, it showed that whatever changes the coaches decided upon worked well with the Blue Devils winning 5-0. The first goal came from Connor Loree, with the assists going to Ross Burton and Matt Lis. The goal was the first of the season for Loree, who joined the this year.

“I came across the blue line, and the puck squirted back to me, and I fired it as hard as I could, and it went in the back of the net,” Loree said, recounting the goal. He went on to talk about the team: “It’s good to join the guys up here. I had a couple friends, Jack Johnson, good to reunite and skate with him again. [It’s] good to be back up north playing hockey again.”

Defensively, the Minutemen didn’t have an answer for Central’s offense, with the Blue Devils scoring five goals in the game from Connor Loree and two each from Jack Johnson and Matt Lis.

Central’s offensive output was matched by the goalie play of both Zach ‘Goose’ Gosselin and Matt Greenwood, posting a shutout while stopping all 41 shots. Greenwood was subbed for Gosselin when a scrum in front of the net 13 minutes into the third period turned ugly and ended with Gosselin and UMass’ Casey Litwack ejected for fighting.

Then, just three minutes later, roughhousing broke out in front of Central’s net again, resulting in more ejections. In the last seven minutes of the game, eight players total — five from UMass and three from Central — had been ejected as a result of the two fights in front of the net, as well as a separate occurrence in the neutral zone.

“Our guys battled hard and emotions get the best of you whether you’re winning or you’re losing,” said Adams of the ejections. “Most of the scrums happened protecting our goalie, which I’m absolutely fine with. If they came somewhere else they’d be a problem.”

“The best part [of the game] was everyone played together,” Adams added. “It was the first team shutout we’ve had in quite a while. That’s what I liked the most out of this game.”

The Blue Devils resume play on Friday, Oct. 24, traveling to Albany to take on Siena before coming back to Newington Ice Arena on Saturday night to play Western Connecticut.

Club Ice Hockey Demolishes Western

by Brian O’Neill

Coming off a 6-3 win over Siena College in Albany the night before, the Central Connecticut club ice hockey team extended their win streak to three games with a 16-3 blow out victory over Western Connecticut, making their record 7-2-0.

“It’s bittersweet. It’s positive that we were able to keep our offense going,” said head coach Ben Adams. “A game like that is never good on either side. You hate to be on the other side of it, but it’s always nice to have one of those kind of games every once and a while.”

The Blue Devils started the first period on the attack and, for the most part of the next 60 minutes, stayed on it.

Frank Pisano opened the scoring with a goal in the fourth minute, beating the Colonial’s goalie to the high blocker side. Pisano was in on the action again when he assisted Kyle Leyerzapf with nine minutes left in the period. The third goal came just 40 seconds later, when freshman Daniel Purslow’s slap shot found the back of the net. The goal was Purslow’s first of his CCSU career.

With five minutes left in the first, Leyerzapf scored his second of the night on a power play goal. The last Blue Devil to score in the first period was Jack Johnson, whose shot deflected off a Western defender just 45 seconds after the last goal. With 3:25 left in the period, the Colonial’s finally answered, making it a 5-1 at the end of the first.

The scoring slowed in the second, with Western finding twine first seven minutes in. Central answered 7 seconds later, when Leyerzapf scored his third goal of the game. When asked how he felt about his hat trick performance after the game, he responded with one word and a smile: “Great.” The last goal of the period went to the Colonials, scoring with just eight seconds before the second intermission.

“Western has been in our league for a while and they’ve always been a tough opponent, and we didn’t know what we were coming into,’ said Adams. “Coming into the third [period], 6-3 tight game, our guys just woke up.”

The third and final period was an onslaught of Blue Devil offense, with Central scoring 10 goals. At one point, in an unprecedented move, the Colonials starting goalie, who had been pulled in the first period, was subbed back into the game for his replacement.

Central’s third period scorers were highlighted by two Brendon Quirion goals, his first as a Blue Devil. Adam Mink, Andrew Mazurkiewicz, Matt Lis, Connor Lorre, Kevin San Angelo, Max Maffuci, Johnson and Pisano all scored in the third.

Even with the 13 point win, Adams was already looking forward to the next game, stressing the fundamentals and “…making sure that they [the players] are staying focused. We’ve got a big week of practice this week, getting ready for the first weekend of the second ranking period.”

Looking to build on their three game win streak, the Blue Devils hit the road for the next two weekends, playing Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute on Nov. 1, Montclair State on Nov. 7 and UConn on Nov. 8, before coming back to Newington Ice Arena on Nov. 14 and 15 to take on Boston College and NYU.

Club Hockey Splits Two Heading Into Governor’s Cup

by Brian O’Neill

Central Connecticut club hockey returned to their home ice this weekend, playing Boston College on Friday and New York University on Saturday.

Central split the games with a win and a loss and after their 1-1-1 record on the road in the last two weeks, the Blue Devils now sit at 9-4-1, ranked third in the ACHA Northeast division.

The weekend opened on Friday night, with Central taking on the visiting Boston College Eagles.

From the start Boston played with an edge, controlling the pace of the game and staying on the attack. With 12 minutes left in the first period the Eagles’ attack paid off, scoring off an open puck in front of the net. Boston’s goal was the only one in the period, giving them a 1-0 lead going into the second.

The second period was much of the same, with Boston controlling the attack. 3:28 into the period, Central defenseman Matt Lis was sent to the penalty box for two minutes on a high sticking call. With the man advantage, the Eagles found the net again, making it a 2-0 game with 14:46 left to play.

Only down two, Central came out in the third looking to even the score but couldn’t beat Boston’s keeper, failing to net a goal. On the other side of the puck, Boston College tallied 4 goals in the third period, to make the final score 6-0.

“We had a team meeting, a little heart to heart before the game, to make sure everybody was on the same page,” head coach Ben Adams said of how he got his players ready for Saturday after the loss to Boston College. “[We] recovered our systems to make sure that everyone was mentally focused and knew what we wanted to accomplish in each situation.”

After the big loss to Boston College the night before, the Blue Devils had a tough matchup on Saturday against New York University, ranked second in the ACHA Northeast headed into the game.

The Blue Devils came hot out of the gate, looking for an upset.

Just three minutes in, Central took the lead when Connor Loree’s pass found Ross Burton in the slot, whose shot found the back of the net. At the 12 minute mark New York responded with a power play goal, to tie the game. The 1-1 score would hold till the end of the period.

The second opened with a Central power play that carried over from the end of the first. During the power play, Kyle Leyerzapf scored off a pass from Andrew Mazurkiewicz to make it a 2-1 game. Leyerzapf would score again with 14:34 left in the second; Loree and Brendon Quirion were credited with the assists.

The two goal lead wouldn’t last long, when New York scored another power play goal just 20 seconds after Leyerzapf’s second goal, bringing them within one. With 10:08 left in the period, though, Ross Burton broke into New York’s zone and scored his second of the night, putting Central back up two, with the assists going to Kevin San Angelo and Brendon Quirion.

“Feels great,” Burton said after game when asked about his two goal performance. “[I’ve] been struggling to put the puck in the net all year long, feels good to move out of the slide.”

After winning the ensuing face off and pushing the puck back into the offensive zone, Mazurkiewicz forced a turnover behind the net, and scored an unassisted goal with 9:55 left to play, making it 5-2. With 7:26 left, New York scored their third power play goal to pull within two. After a rebound goal with 5:05 left, New York had made it a 5-4 game going into the third.

The third period was hard fought by both teams, with New York looking to force overtime, and Central looking to preserve the upset. Backed by the stellar goaltending of Zach “Goose” Gosselin, the Blue Devils outlasted New York, winning 5-4.

The Blue Devils return to the Newington Ice Arena next weekend to host the Governor’s Cup, an annual tournament between Central, Western Connecticut, UConn, and the University of New Haven. The first game is Friday, Nov. 21 against Western with the championship game on Saturday.

Governor’s Cup: Central Club Ice Hockey Falls to UConn in Championship Game

by Brian O’Neill

Every year Central, Western Connecticut, the University of New Haven and UConn come to New Britain to compete for the Governor’s Cup. This season the Blue Devils looked to reclaim the cup and dethrone the back to back champions in UConn.

Central faced off against the Western Connecticut Colonials in the first round of the tournament on Friday, Nov. 21. In their last matchup Central defeated Western 16-3, and as always there was no lack of offense between the two teams on Friday.

Matt Lis scored his first goal of the night 6:45 into the first to put the Blue Devils on the scoreboard. Just two minutes later Western scored on a quick breakaway to tie the game at one. With 9:56 left in the period, Central responded when Andrew Mazurkiewicz won an offensive zone faceoff and passed the puck to Lis at the point for a slap shot goal, his second of the night.

Defensemen Brandon Grodzki followed Lis’ second goal by ringing home a one timer soon after with assists going to Connor Loree and Kyle Leyerzapf. The goal is the first for Grodzki this season. Down by two with 7:22 in the first, the Colonials regrouped and scored twice before the period ended to tie the game at 3-3. Throughout the first the Blue Devils looked disjointed, something head coach Ben Adams addressed at the first intermission.

“[I told them] that wasn’t our game; there were a lot of individual efforts going on,” Adams said. “We’re a five man unit that has to play and use everybody to be successful, so they started to play along those lines later in the game.”

The second period opened with Western receiving a double minor penalty three minutes in, giving Central a four minute power play. With the man advantage Central scored twice with one from Lis, his third of the game, with the assist from Leyerzapf. The second came from Mazurkiewicz, with Leyerzapf and Frank Pisano tallying assists.

With 10 minutes left the Blue Devils struck again, when Leyerzapf’s pass set Jack Johnson up for a breakaway goal to make the score 6-3. Western answered with a goal of their own, with eight minutes left in the period to make it a 6-4 game heading into the third.

The Blue Devils blew the game open, though, scoring eight goals in the closing period and shutting down the Colonials offense as well. At the buzzer the final score was 14-4. The Blue Devil goals in the third came from Pisano (who scored the first and last goals of the third), Lis, Johnson, Brenden Quirion, Ross Burton and Kevin San Angelo. After the game Matt Lis talked on his four goal night, saying

“Well it’s not just me it’s my teammates. I couldn’t score four goals without them. They set me up with the puck, I just finished,” said Lis.

“We gotta come together as a team, warm up, get it going early, dump and chase, bang bodies, get the puck in deep, get shots off, test the goalie, and just play our game,” he added of what the team needed to do in the championship game.

And coming off the blow out win, the Blue Devils were ready to do just when they took on reigning champion UConn Huskies. The student section was packed with rowdy fans to support the team and had Newington Ice Arena rocking, but once the puck dropped the Huskies were on the attack, scoring in the first minute on a redirection.

The momentum remained with the Huskies as they stayed in Central’s zone, scoring again four minutes into the period. Just a minute later, 5:29 into the period, Central’s Max Maffuci scored an unassisted goal to bring Central within one. For the rest of the period both teams fought to pull ahead, but the score stayed at 2-1 until the end of the period.

The second period Central came out aggressive, taking the body and checking anyone in a blue jersey when there was a chance. Seven minutes in, Lis caught a pass from Kyle Block and beat UConn’s goalie to tie the game. With the score even and the crowd roaring the Blue Devils had captured the momentum, but just 10 seconds later UConn’s Kenny Kochiss was checked into the boards and injured.

Because it was a spinal injury, the medical staff had to wait for an EMT unit to come and take Kochiss off the ice safely. After approximately 25 minutes they arrived and took Kochiss for further medical attention, but according to the trainers he’s expected to make a full recovery.

Coming off the injury UConn had a five minute power play and a rallying point to push off. The Huskies scored one goal on the five minute penalty and another off a turnover to make the score 4-2 UConn going into the third. In the final period UConn found the back of the net three more times, with the final score 7-2, and for the third year in a row UConn took home the Governor’s Cup.

With the Governor’s Cup over, Central club ice hockey is finished in Newington Ice Arena for the semester. On the schedule in December are four road games against Western, Boston College, NYU, and Endicott. The next home game will be Jan. 16 against the College of New Jersey.

Blue Devil Club Hockey Opens Season with Pair of Wins

by Brian O’Neill

Central’s club hockey team opened up their 2014-15 season with a two game home stand over the weekend, playing Eastern Connecticut and Westfield State. The Blue Devils won both games, starting their season with a 2-0-0 record.

The first game of the weekend against the Eastern Connecticut Warriors was an offensive showcase. The scoring started early, with Central’s Pat Dowd finding the twine three minutes into the game, with the first and second assists going to Kyle Leyerzapf and Max Maffucci. The second goal of the period came with three minutes left, when Jack Johnson’s shot rebounded to Arron August, who gave the Blue Devils a 2-0 lead.

While Central had posted a shutout throughout one period, it wasn’t long until Eastern broke onto the scoreboard.

Just over 30 seconds into the second period, Eastern’s Jeremy Proto scored off an assist from Joey Harvey to bring the Warriors within one. Two minutes later Central answered when Leyerzapf’s shot beat Eastern’s goalie, on a pass from Adam Mink, to put the score at 3-1.

With 13:52 left in the period, the Warriors scored their second goal, coming from J.R Paretti with the assist going to Angus Deane, making it a 3-2 game. It only stayed that way for about seven minutes.

With 7:22 left August scored his second of the game, with the first and second assists going to Matt Lis and Maffucci. The last goal of the period came with 5:13 left, from Eastern’s Chris Paquette, taking advantage of a power play opportunity. When the buzzer sounded at the end of the second period, five total goals had been scored, and Central led 4-3.

The third period saw both teams taking penalties and alternating between having the man advantage to having the man in the box. Five minutes into the period a scrum broke out near the Eastern goal, with Blue Devil forward Ross Burton and Eastern’s Connor Walsh in the middle of the commotion.

Walsh was given a two-minute minor for roughing, but Burton received a five-minute major for facewashing and was ejected from the game. Burton wouldn’t be the only player ejected from the game however.

With 5:34 left in the period Wash laid a vicious hit along the boards on August. Walsh was assessed a five-minute major for head contact and ejected. This proved to be a rallying point for the Blue Devils, who went on to score four goals in the last five minutes of the game. Three came during the five minute power play and one came shorthanded in the last minute. Scoring the four goals for the Devils were Lis, Leyerzapf, August, and Frank Pisano. The final score of the game was 8-3, Central, with August recording a hat trick.

The second game of the weekend was against the Westfield State Owls on Saturday. Unlike the night before, this was a game of defense, goalies, and missed opportunities for both teams.

Four minutes into the first period, Central’s Jack Johnson made it a 1-0 game, when he found the back of the net on a pass from Arron August. The Owls tied it up with four minutes left in the period when Tyler Reopel redirected Ryan Garvey’s shot from the blue line. That would be the last goal for the next 44 minutes, with both goalies stopping anything thrown their way.

With three periods in the books and a tie game the Blue Devils and the Owls lined up for a five-minute sudden death overtime. With 2:20 left to play, Central’s Jack Johnson scored the game winner.

“[Brendon] Quirion blocked the shot and shoveled it up to me.” Johnson said, describing the goal, “It was a 2 or 3 on 1 and Kyle [Leyerzapf] drew the defensemen off me, and I took a shot and it trickled in.”

The Blue Devils look to keep their winning streak going next weekend on the road, when they play the College of New Jersey on Oct. 3 and William Patterson University on the Oct. 4.

Ultimate Frisbee Offers Another Option

by Navindra Persaud

CCSU’s club sports program continuously gives students the chance to participate in a sport outside of the university’s athletic department. Sometimes this can be one outside the mainstream sports the casual fan is aware of: like Central’s ultimate Frisbee club team.

Ultimate Frisbee is a non-contact sport played by two teams of seven players. The field is approximately 70 yards long and 40 yards wide with two 20-yard end zones. A goal is scored when a player catches any legal pass in the end zone that the player is attacking.

A player must remain stationary while holding the disc, which is advanced by passing it to other players. Any time a pass is incomplete a turnover occurs, resulting in an immediate change of possession.

Through RECentral, CCSU supports its own ultimate Frisbee team, which travels around New England and the northeast to other schools to compete in the sport.

“We mainly compete in organized tournaments, usually hosted by other college teams or organizations,” said club president Eric Renkewith. “This year we will be travelling to New Jersey for two tournaments and to another tournament just north of Boston.”

Tournament sizes range anywhere from 16 to 64 teams. Teams will often play three to four full games a day; from six to eight over a tournament weekend. Games are played until the first team scores 15 goals and usually last about 90 minutes. Renkewith stated that most teams will get a bye for one of the rounds on Saturday, but it is not uncommon for teams to play all four of their Saturday games in a row.

“I think the sport represents the spirit of CCSU because you learn a lot and grow a lot as a person from playing,” said Renkewith. “Sportsmanship is very important and you are responsible for your own actions and you have to be willing to listen to and negotiate with others. The same qualities and actions you learn and apply in the game can be used as a student and as a part of society.”

Teamwork is one of the most important elements of ultimate Frisbee. Offensively, a team can only move the disc and score by passing it to teammate, meaning it is a complete team effort in order to win. On defense, players must have trust in their teammates on the field.

“For example, if a team is running a zone defense, every one of those seven players will have their own specific responsibility, and if one person is out of position then the whole thing can fall apart and result in the other team scoring with relative ease,” said Renkewith.

There is also communication from the players who are on the sideline to players on the field to help so even when players are not on the field they are constantly helping out their defense or keeping players on the field motivated.

Ultimate Frisbee differs from other club sports mainly because of the lack of referees. Players call fouls and settle disputes amongst themselves. All participants are expected to play within the rules and sportsmanship and mutual respect amongst competitors are valued higher than winning at all costs, an idea which is scarcely seen in any of the major sports watched on television or in person.

CCSU is part of the Hudson Valley Conference, which is part of the Metro East Region. The Hudson Valley Conference includes CCSU, Yale, SUNY-Albany, SUNY-New Paltz and UConn.

The team was founded about five years ago by a few friends. They started out only playing pick-up games on Vance Lawn but soon saw numbers grow and began traveling to tournaments. The club has grown to include both a men’s and women’s team who are highly competitive within the region.

Renkewith believes that fun, fitness, teamwork, competition and respect for your opponents are all important for both the club and for ultimate Frisbee as a whole.

“I really enjoy being part of a team working towards a shared goal. It’s an awesome sport that gives you an opportunity to meet people from your school and to travel and get to know people from other schools,” said Renkewith.

The men’s team is coached by Alex Morrone. Morrone volunteers a good amount of his time to help the team develop skills on the field. According to Renkewith, Morrone has played on several elite level teams and is very involved in the ultimate Frisbee community in Connecticut.

The sport does not cost much to play for students interested. The budget covers tournament fees and hotels so the only cost to players is for their own jerseys. Team members are also expected to pay for their own food and gas money on tournament weekends. Other than those costs, the only equipment really required is a disc and a pair of cleats.

“I think our team is a very important community within CCSU and we have a very diverse group of people who make up our team,” said Renkewith.

Club Hockey Serves the Students

by Navindra Persaud

Blue Devil pride at Central Connecticut State University is always well represented by its athletic department and the various teams that compete.

However, RECentral, the department which promotes recreational activities and fitness, has also provided students who want to compete at a collegiate level with their Club Sports program, which features a more diverse range of sports for students to choose from.

Rather than competing within the university like the intramural program, these club sports teams are able to compete on an intercollegiate level, to give the players a chance to showcase their ability in sports that don’t receive funding through the athletic department; sports such as CCSU’s ice hockey club team.

“CCSU hockey has cemented itself as a premier American Collegiate Hockey Association hockey club for over 30 years,” said ice hockey club president Evan Mink by email. “It was founded like any other club: by a group of students with a common interest.”

The American Collegiate Hockey Association (ACHA) is the governing body within which the ice hockey club team competes. The ACHA is broken up into four geographic regions, each of which is competing for bids to the regional tournament and, ultimately, the national championship.

The ice hockey club team competes in the ACHA Division II Super East conference, consisting of other colleges and universities from around the Northeast.

Conference opponents such as Marist College, Siena College, William Paterson University, Montclair State University and New York University come from the New York/New Jersey area. The team also competes in-conference against other New England schools represented by the University of New Hampshire and Western Connecticut State University.

Mink stated that CCSU often competes in out-of-conference games as well and has developed recent rivalries against both UConn and the University of New Haven and even competed against Trinity College’s NCAA Division III men’s hockey team last year.

The team has seen success in recent years. The Blue Devils made it to the ACHA Division II national championship game in 2009-10 where they fell to then two-time defending champions Davenport.

The team was also the 2011 Governors’ Cup Champions, defeating defending champion UConn. The Governor’s Cup is a yearly two-day tournament featuring club hockey teams from four Connecticut schools

Within the ACHA, teams are ranked by committees comprised of coaches, with the various schools ranked according to wins and losses along with strength of schedule and other factors similar to the NCAA standards and regulations of competition.

The team generally has two games per week with the majority of them being on Friday or Saturday nights. Mink added that this allows the players ample time for education and team obligations, similar to the student-athletes competing on standard collegiate athletic teams like football and basketball.

“We will also practice two to three times per week,” added Mink, “with off-ice physical training mixed in occasionally as our coaching staff sees fit.”

The team is currently coached by second-year man Ben Adams, who has been part of the coaching team for the last four seasons. Adams is also the head coach of Kingswood-Oxford Prep School in west Hartford.

The ice hockey club has built a respectable name in the state of Connecticut, which has created a buzz for the team and the school itself. The club hopes to promote the game of college hockey in the central Connecticut region as well as promoting the CCSU Blue Devils.

“I’d say our club differs from other clubs simply due to the high level at which we compete and the level of exposure the club brings to the university,” said Mink, “We’re able to compete against other universities in an effort to represent Central Connecticut State University across the Northeast and beyond.”

Unlike most other club sports, ice hockey requires participating players to pay a yearly fee of $1,700 to participate. The fee covers costs that include all aspects of a college hockey season—from ice time at Newington Arena (where the team hosts home games) for games and practices to travel expenses to equipment such as uniforms and team warm-up suits.

According to Mink, the club is always open to new members as it looks to promote both the sport of hockey as well as Central Connecticut. The club team allows Central to have a presence in a sport played widely around the Northeast.

“Hockey is important because it promotes physical activity, competition, teamwork, resilience, and a lot of hard work,” said Mink. “With no team competing at the NCAA level for CCSU, this club is all that the university has in the very crucial New England college hockey market. The club represents everything that is the spirit of the Blue Devils and CCSU: hard work, sportsmanship, and learning. We love representing CCSU.”

The team’s current overall record is 11-12-3, with their next home game scheduled for Feb. 7 at 9 p.m. against Bryant University. The ice hockey team is only one of the over 20 club sports that CCSU has to offer and serves as another outlet for talented athletes to get involved, not only with sports but to become closer to the CCSU community as well.