Tag Archives: ccsu hockey

Hockey Humbled by William Paterson

By Brittany Burke

The Blue Devils club hockey team couldn’t hold off the top-ranked William Paterson University on home ice, dropping their second game in a row 8-2.

“The positive is we’re not supposed to beat a team like Willy P and with that being said we’re gonna have to regroup and realize we’re not going to walk over teams, it humbles us a bit, getting beat this bad and hopefully we can learn from it and really play blue collar hockey,” said Ryan Stanley.

Following a loss on the road against the University of New Hampshire last weekend, CCSU came into the game looking to upset the Pioneers. However, with the game 2-0 in WPU’s favor less than two minutes into the first period it was evident the game was going to be an uphill climb.

“It’s always tough when you’re trying to battle uphill especially out of the gate early. It’s one of those that your balloon gets popped real quick and you have to refocus and realize you’re in the middle of a game,” said Head Coach Ben Adams.

Emotions ran high on both sides finally culminating in an entire line brawl with 2:03 left to play in the second period.

With the Pioneers up 5-1, chaos erupted on the ice following a stoppage of play in front of WPU’s net. The fight against WPU involved CCSU’s Conor Stanley, Jon Knobloch, Evan Mink, Mike Joy and Zack Vidmosko.

“I think just the frustration finally boiled over you know we were getting some chances and we just weren’t burying any and we were trying to get to the net and get some good net presence and they took exception to it and one thing leads to another,” said Adams. “…it’s part of the game, it happens. I thought it added some energy to our game. After that we just couldn’t capitalize.”

Everyone on the ice was given time for roughing while some of the athletes, including Mink, were tossed from the game.

While the fight meant having some of the best CCSU players sitting in the box, it seemed to ignite a fire in the Blue Devils coming into the third.

The Blue Devils continued to improve in the attack zone with crisp passing, but they couldn’t bury the puck.

With 11:55 left in the game the Pioneers struck for the seventh time of the game netting a power play goal while Matt Siracusa took a two-minute minor. The goal was the final shot allowed for CCSU goalie John Palmieri, who was pulled and replaced by Ross Mocko. Palmieri allowed for seven goals in 32 attempts while Mocko let in one with eight shots taken.

Penalties proved to be a continual hindrance for the Blue Devils as they have all season with three of the Pioneers’ goals coming when CCSU was on the penalty kill.

“Between the second and third we had a get-together with just the players and we decided we wanted to play really hard and we did for a little bit, but the penalties really killed it for us,” said Ryan Stanley.

Stanley notched the team’s second goal of the game with 10:08 left in the third period from Dustin Rider and his brother, Conor Stanley, but the spark wasn’t enough to catapult the team to a late comeback.

“Our guys did a good job of not quitting,” said Adams. “Our problem was they just didn’t turn it on quick enough. We have a team who can play with anybody, depth and talent but when we don’t get it from the beginning and you’re playing up hill it’s a tough battle regardless of the team you’re playing or the team you have it’s one of those things that you’ve got to kind of own the first five minutes and settle into a game.”

The Blue Devils will be back in Newington on Friday at 9:15 p.m. to try for another win against Bryant. CCSU has a packed weekend; following the game against Bryant the team will play Western Connecticut at home on Saturday and at Marist on Sunday.

Hockey Forwards Given Top Honors

By Brittany Burke

CCSU’s hockey season might have ended last month, but for forwards Jon Knobloch and Ryan Stanley, the season was extended through this past weekend in Philadelphia at the American Collegiate Hockey Association’s All-Star Weekend.

Despite missing their chance at the ACHA nationals Stanley and Knobloch were named to the Super East Collegiate Hockey League’s first and second All-SECHL Teams respectively for their performances throughout the season. As members of the All-SECHL teams, the Blue Devils competed and helped the SECHL team sweep the tournament, 5-0, finally defeating the Mid-America Collegiate Hockey Association, 8-2 for the top spot.

Not only was Stanley named to the first team, he was also named the SECHL Player of the Year. The 2010-2011 season also brought forth another milestone for the sophomore when he notched his 100th point.

“Obviously it’s a big accomplishment and I’m proud of myself for doing it, but also my teammates, and Jon Knobs had a lot to do with it because he’s a great player,” said Stanley. “We were on the same line for most of the year and I think it’s more like a team thing because at the beginning of the season we didn’t have very many expectations and towards the end of the season we started playing better. I played better, everyone sort of stepped up and it’s a good personal accomplishment but also a team accomplishment I think as well.”

Only in his third semester as a Blue Devil hockey player, Stanley entered the new season as a veteran amongst the new crop of freshmen, and quickly stepped into a role as offensive leader.

“He definitely deserves it [SECHL Player of the Year] he was a major part of our offense on the ice and off the ice, said Head Coach Ben Adams. “He contributed to the locker room readiness and pushing a lot of the kids not necessarily in the lineup all the time on a regular basis to get better and it’s great for him and great for the team and it certainly represents what we want to represent with all of our players.”

The on-ice success in the new season came as no surprise following his role in the team’s national run in Simsbury. Stanley transferred to CCSU in the spring semester, following a stint at the Division III School, Saint Anselm.

After realizing that D-III wasn’t for him, and wasn’t worth the sacrifices he was making, he chose to move back to Connecticut, and attend CCSU.

“Playing there, it was a grind because you have to wake up at 6:30, go to school, go to practice for two hours at night, try to fit in your homework and it was just a lot for our talent level, because we were Division III not Division I, all going into the NHL, and it just took a toll on your body and it just wasn’t really for me,” said Stanley.

“I still talk to some of the guys on my former team and I personally feel like I’m having more fun than them and I attribute that to my teammates and the camaraderie of our team because like I said I think hockey’s about having fun and sometimes coaches and programs get caught up in trying to be the best and here it’s very relaxed but at the same time it’s competitive.”

Following in his older brother’s path of playing university club hockey, Stanley made CCSU’s team. Knowing forward Jeff Pease from his days at South Windsor was his in to the club. He finished the regular season with 13 points in 13 games, finding ice time from the beginning, adding to the Blue Devils’ four line tandem. At the start of the new season it was evident that he would help fill the void left by the previous year’s graduating seniors.

“People get a misconception that club hockey isn’t competitive or it’s just you drink beers and go out and play, because I thought it was that way when I first got to college, then I transferred here and I realized it was very serious and it’s great because you can get every aspect you like of hockey,” he said. “It’s competitive, but at the same time it’s not life and death and you can still have a good time at school.”

As a 20-year old freshman, Stanley had attended Loomis Chaffee, the prep school in Windsor, Conn., for a year before attending Saint Anselm, and making the decision to attend CCSU rather than UConn, like other members of his family.

Toward the end of the season it was unclear of whether or not he was going to return to CCSU or transfer again, but in the end of the love for the game, which he has been playing since he was five because of the Mighty Ducks, won out.

“I had a lot of discussions with Coach Adams this year and with myself and my parents and just figured it would be the best to stay here. I’ve tried the Division III level and I’ve got no complaints, I love playing here at CCSU.”

Despite leading the team in points, Stanley is still looking to improve next season, specifically with his plus/minus percentage and his team presence.

“Personally I want to have a better year than I did this year as far as all the stats go and as far as being a team player,” he said. “On a team level I know everyone wants to make regionals because we didn’t make regionals this year and then nationals as well and I think an autobid is ultimately what we strive for as a team. And personally one of the things I want to work on is making everyone around me better, making my linemates better and making the whole offensive better as a unit.”

Stanley will have plenty of time to hone is game, returning to the ice as a Blue Devil for his junior and senior seasons.

William Paterson Ends CCSU Hockey Season

By Brittany Burke

Splitting last weekend in a single elimination tournament, the Blue Devils’ hockey season came to an end until next October.

The reigning second-ranked team in the Division II fought against the grain all season and finished the year with no trophy, no title, but hope to improve next year.

“They all worked extremely hard,” said Head Coach Ben Adams. “They all put in the maximum amount of effort I think that they should have, and we’ll take this year as a growing and learning curve, so to speak, and really be ready for next year.”

Entering the new season, the Blue Devils (15-18-2) were fully aware that this was going to be a year of rebuilding. With 12 seniors gone, many of which comprised the top two lines, the Blue Devils were forced to rely on one-year veterans and 14 freshmen.

“Some of the kids that I really did not have pegged to be major contributors really stepped up and contributed to the success of not only the offense, but the defense as well,” said Adams. “Coming in this year I really thought that our biggest issue was going to be struggling to score. In some cases it was, but for the most part, in the back end of the stretch, we were getting contributions from all the lines, which is great.”

The team still had a lot of growing to do and progress to make, which was evident as the year drew on. CCSU managed to find its chemistry on the ice in time to get the crucial wins, especially against the second ranked and reigning SECHL Champions William Paterson.

“Definitely, after losing all our seniors last year, it was a big season coming up, and no one really knew how we were going to do, and I think we fought through and played well,” said forward Jon Knobloch. “Granted, we didn’t make it to regionals, but we had a great season none the less.”

Knobloch finished the tournament with a single goal and two assists, while he finished out the season second on the team in points with 62, behind linemate Ryan Stanley.

After having to move to Simsbury from the Newington rink for the season, obstacles kept coming for the team, the most crucial being the forfeiture of three wins because of an ineligible player.

Due to the ineligibility of a transfer student, CCSU was forced to give up wins against the second, fourth and sixth-ranked teams. Aside from the loss of three outright wins, the Blue Devils were also struggling with other issues, such as the denial of contingency from the Student Government Association. Things only progressively got worse for the team when it was decided that it would not get a bid into regionals, killing all hopes for a run at the national title.

Despite everything else, the club team was able to find the chemistry amongst multiple lines, something that the team used to its advantage last season in time for the Super East Collegiate Hockey League’s post season tournament. The team had two goals heading into the tournament: win the title and prove that the Blue Devils should have gone to regionals in Danbury.

This year’s tournament played out much the same as last year’s. CCSU managed to take down the University of New Hampshire 5-2, only to lose to top-ranked William Paterson of New Jersey, who eventually went on to take the title.

“It’s just really disappointing that we ended up losing,” said Ross Mocko, one of the team’s two goalies. “We thought we had a really solid team going in it, but we’ll get them next year, we’re not too concerned. We have the same core guys returning, maybe lose a few, but that’s about it.”

Instead of getting beat handedly, as the team did last year against William Paterson, the Blue Devils managed to keep up with a scrummy team, inevitably losing 4-1. In the end, the team couldn’t play from the penalty box and were eliminated.

“They kept it clean in the UNH game and then there were some incidences on ice where my players defended themselves and rightly so,” said Adams. “The refs should have taken a little bit more control of the game, but all in all I thought that they played hard. Obviously losing in the semis wasn’t the outcome we were hoping for, but it was kind of a good way to role in a fuel the fire for next season.”

With hockey season through for the Blue Devils, the team is able to look forward to next season, with the majority of the team returning to the lineup.

“I think it was good, it was more of a rebuilding year, and now we all just have our role on the team, and next year it’s just going to be like clockwork,” said forward Evan Mink. Mink closed out the season with 24 points and 36 penalty minutes.

A major goal for the next regular season would be to get the team back into Newington, however things are already beginning to look up.

Last week, the SGA granted the team close to $3,000 in contingencies as a reimbursement for the expenses needed to travel to the SECHL tournament.

Hockey Preps for Sole Post Season Appearance

By Brittany Burke

The Central Connecticut State University club hockey team may currently be ranked second in the nation in Division II American Collegiate Hockey Association hockey, but that title will not hold ground for much longer after failing to make ACHA Regionals this season.

After the forfeiture of six games, the hockey team was unable to recover in time to get back within the ranking bracket for the regionals in Danbury, cutting their season short and dashing the hopes of making the tournament in San Jose, CA.

“We’re just going in and we absolutely know that these are the only playoffs we have this year and we want to show that we should’ve been the regionals contender this year,” said CCSU hockey player Evan Mink.

While the Blue Devils’ ACHA expectations for a run at the national title may have expired, their season continues for one more weekend at the Super East Collegiate Hockey League’s tournament held March 4 through 6, in Albany, at the Albany County Hockey Facility.

This year’s playoffs are set to be hosted by Siena College, long time rival of the Blue Devils, and the third seed going into the playoffs. Siena and CCSU have a long, lopsided history, which was snapped this year in CCSU’s 2-1 defeat on Siena’s home ice.

Having been successful in the recent trip to New York, the Blue Devils are looking to make a statement in this year’s playoffs.

“The tension of playing in that rink, I think, went out with the graduating class last year because we’re all new guys on the team,” said Mink. “I was only a freshman last year, I didn’t have the same kind of, ‘We can’t win in this rink’ so now that we beat them down there it’s just another hockey game.”

The Blue Devils will take on the fourth ranked University of New Hampshire Wild Cats in the first round. This season the Blue Devils and Wild Cats have met twice in each school’s rinks, respectively.

First time around, the two teams drew at five, while the Blue Devils took the second game at home, routing the Wild Cats 7-3.

UNH may be ranked a spot above CCSU, but the players remain confident in their abilities to read the Wild Cats’ game plan and oust the team in the first round, much like the way they were able to in the first round of last season’s SECHL playoffs.

If CCSU does in fact make it to the next round, the Blue Devils will have to play the first seed, William Patterson.

“Just play the same kind of in your face style; throw the body around because they don’t like that. We beat them last game because they kept putting themselves in the box. The goalie got that penalty for five minutes and we were able to score two goals on them; so just put the pucks on net,” said Mink of the team’s plan for the Pioneers.

CCSU was knocked from last year’s tournament by William Patterson, but was able to split games with the team this season. After a 9-5 loss to the Pioneers at the beginning of the season, the Blue Devils managed to scrape out a 6-5 win on home ice.

CCSU will have to take it one game at a time if the team plans on making it to the championship round and work on the issues that have been plaguing the players all season, such as defensive zone coverage. However, the players know that this is the only chance they have to make a statement in the league, and the last chance they have to play hockey until next season.

CCSU Hockey Beats In-State Rivals

By Brittany Burke

It was a clash of two state schools as the Blue Devils club hockey team took on the Western Connecticut State University Colonials over the weekend, leading to a 4-3 victory for CCSU.

In a rivalry match, following a losing weekend at Florida Gulf Coast University, the Colonials didn’t hold back, and the Blue Devils worked hard to ensure the much needed win.

The WCSU Colonials have a history and reputation for being a chippy team, and as the athletes took to the ice it was apparent that the third match up of the season for the two teams wasn’t going to be any different.

“They’re really chippy and those games are sometimes fun, but not when we need wins. I played some of those guys in high school and it really is that beef we still have together and it’s never going to die,” said Evan Mink.

Prior to the win for CCSU, the Blue Devils and the Colonials had split, with CCSU taking the first game and WCSU the second, both on WCSU’s home ice in Danbury.

Two goals made by Mink late in the first and early in the second gave CCSU the quick two goal advantage over the Colonials.

“I think he had one of the best games he’s had in a long time. He had some great shifts not just offensively but defensively tracking down pucks, back checking hard even playing the body and the two goals for him were just icing on the cake,” said Head Coach Ben Adams. “We were trying to get him the third toward the end but he just didn’t get that lucky tonight but he just threw pucks at the net and they went in.”

WCSU’s chippiness was the downfall in their loss as the Blue Devils managed to capitalize on more than one of its power play opportunities.

With a Colonial serving time in the box, Mink was able to net the first goal of the night with less than six minutes to play in the period. Mink took a backhanded shot and struck again with the assist from Jon Knobloch with 13:16 to play in the second. The second shot came when CCSU’s Zack Vidmosko was serving a two minute penalty for hitting from behind.

CCSU strived on the power play and penalty kills, uncovering the Colonial’s weakness. Playing well in the attacking zone, CCSU came out with the second power play goal of the game and third unanswered shot, made by Knobloch from Tom Carroll.

“We played a great game, switched up the lines a little bit and a rookie on my line, [Dan] Vasquez had a great game; [Evan] Mink had a great game,” said Knobloch. “We just worked hard and the other lines did the same thing just went out there; tried our best and it paid off.”

WCSU goalie allowed for a fourth and final CCSU goal, made by Eric Blewett to get past him early in the last period.

As Blewett took the shot from Matt Siracusa and Ryan Stanley, the puck sailed past the net minder and between the pipes, resulting in a goal that the goaltender wishes he could get back.

Despite the three goal lead, WCSU refused to finish without a fight. A quick power play goal at 5:08 and another with the man advantage led to the Colonial’s cutting down the Blue Devils’ lead to one with time still remaining.

“I thought they played well. Definitely gave them a little too many chances off of loose pucks, but I think, all in all, we played pretty hard, generated a lot of offense and unfortunately I don’t think the score shows just how lopsided I think the game really was,” said Adams.

The Blue Devils hung on in the final minute to take the win, but that didn’t stop the frustrations from running high on both squads. WCSU’s Michael Espejo broke his stick out of anger for a two minute elbowing call while Knobloch was given a two minute minor for high sticking and a 10 minute misconduct, which led to the Colonials’ final goal of the game.

CCSU plays its final home game next Saturday against NYU following an away game against inner league rival Siena on Friday.

“They’re [Siena] a strong team,” said Mink. “I say they’re a defense first hockey, rolling out three lines so we’re all just going to have to play good. If we win there’s no tomorrow, so we all know that now.”

Hockey Will Not Participate in Whalers Hockey Fest

By Brittany Burke

The CCSU club hockey team has been forced to cancel its game against the UConn club team as part of the Hockey Fest on Feb. 19.

“We will not participate in the Whaler Fest, CCSU has released the game due to poor communication with the company that is running the Whaler Fest,” said Head Coach Ben Adams.

The 2011 Hockey Fest is the first of its kind and is set to make Connecticut hockey history. For two weeks in Feb. Whalers Sports and Entertainment, the management company of the American Hockey League’s CT Whale, is turning Rentschler Field, home of the UConn Huskies football team, into an outdoor hockey rink.

The Blue Devils were scheduled to play UConn in a non-regulation game following the CT Whale game against the Providence Bruins; however, miscommunication between the teams and Whalers Sports has lead to the game’s cancellation.

To play on the outdoor rink the teams would have had to pay a rink rental fee upward of $7,000, an amount that the hockey team does not have in its budget.

“We have backed out of the outdoor game, the Whaler Bowl, Hockey Fest, whatever you want to call it and that’s kind of frustrating and again that’s because we don’t have the money,” said hockey club treasurer, Kevin Leaver. “It costs $7,000 per team apparently to play in the outdoor game, and along with management change in Whalers Sports, we weren’t able to buy our time slot.”

As a way to ease the cost, the teams were offered by Whalers Sports the opportunity to sell passes and tickets, which would eventually pay for the rental fee. However, a change in leadership amongst the Whalers Sports organization caused a lack of communication between the company and two teams.

“In December, the management company of the Whaler Fest had changed. Since that change I have not been able to communicate with the new management team until this past week.  They wanted $7000 for the ice slot with no ticket sales.  They said we could have sold tickets to reduce the cost, however my argument has been that they did not give us the ability to sell the tickets with enough time to generate the amount of sold tickets they wanted,” said Adams.

As a result of the lack of communication, the teams were not given the opportunity to sell tickets to the student community. With no tickets and the lack of sufficient funding, the ice time could not be rented.

The Huskies were the first to pull out of the slot, followed by the CCSU Blue Devils. The game was an additional game out of the ranking period, which means it will not be made up and will not affect the Blue Devils’ standing in the American Collegiate Hockey Association.

“I am saddened by this, as this would be a great experience for the kids and a lot of fun for everyone involved.  UConn did drop the game first.”