Tag Archives: CCSU ice hockey

Struggling Club Team Denied SGA Contingency

By Brittany Burke

After much debate and two separate motions, the CCSU ice hockey club was denied its contingency request of $5,000 for unforeseen costs by the Student Government Association with nine votes for and 16 against.

“This club definitely doesn’t have what they need to operate,” said Senator Eric Bergenn. “A point that I’ve made in the past for contingencies is for clubs to raise 10 percent of that contingency money and while we don’t hold any other club to it and they actually are paying for 800 percent of what they are asking for.

“So in terms of sticking by any sort of standard for ourselves I think we need to pass. I understand that we’re in a difficult position and we don’t have a lot of money and we have to really start making some tough choices and say no to people that seemingly deserve money but this is free money, it’s for them, it’s all the student’s money. I think they’re representing us in a national way that most other clubs on campus don’t do,” said Bergenn.

At the end of last semester the CCSU hockey team submitted a request to the SGA for a contingency of $5,000, which is in addition to the club’s initial SGA budget of $5,000. As the final meeting came to an end the request was put on the back burner for the spring semester.

Senator Ashley Foy made a motion for the team’s contingency to be made specifically for rink fees. The amendment was passed and the SGA senators argued whether or not new request fell under the guidelines for an allocated contingency.

While the hockey team is facing $10,000 in unforeseen costs, $8,000 in referee fees and $2,000 for a trainer for visiting teams, the majority of the senators felt as if these costs did not fall under the amended request.

The hockey team’s budget ranked second in top 15 SGA budgets in the 2009-2010 academic year. This year, due to budget cuts the team dropped to number 37 on the list of SGA budgets.

“I was there for the original budget request and when the budget request went through there was a decision made that we basically had a little over 100 and so many thousands of dollars to give out and we felt that it was fair to give them 5,000 because we had to cut every other budget that came through,” said Senator Erika Dawson-Head.

“There’s only so much in the pot and it wasn’t fair that they were getting most of the money every single year for the last few years so the reason was that we wanted all of the clubs to be allowed to have some sort of money in their budget this upcoming year.”

The SGA currently has an estimated $30,000 in funding to disperse according to SGA treasurer Asia Smith. However, during the debate she urged the senators to think wisely because $30,000 isn’t a lot of money given the amount of requests the SGA faces each semester.

The original motion for the hockey team to be allocated $5,000 for rink fees was denied with nine yes votes and 16 no votes, however it was then motioned that the team be granted the same amount flat, meaning it would not have to go to any specific purpose.

The new motion did not hold up against the senators who still felt the contingency an unnecessary cost.

“I understand that it’s an expensive sport and there are a lot of expensive things out there but it doesn’t fall on the SGA to have to fund an activity to its fullest even if it’s say ten times more expensive than a normal club…it is something we’ve already funded, we didn’t deny but we already did give them money so it’s not something I would consider unforeseen. They’re just trying to get something more out of the same title,” Senator Ben Haase of the initial motion.

The hockey club currently has $110 left of its SGA budget received at the start of the fall semester. The club has been able to fundraise, acquire donations and switch rinks to lower costs, while paying $1,500 in dues upfront. The donations and money raised, however, is not enough to alleviate the cost of $62,110.10.

“I know we can’t compare this to our other allocations in the previous semester but if we’re talking about a lot of other clubs asking for contingency and not raising 10 percent of everything and kind of just taking the money, you can see the amount of fundraising the hockey team does,” said Senator Ryan Baldassario. “They may not be as active on campus as we necessarily want them to be but they work for what they have and they have a large budget because unfortunately enough for their sport it requires a large budget and they do a lot of work fundraising like Ashley [Foy] said they’re not only getting the money from us and are like ‘Oh whatever,’ they’re working as hard as they can to get this type of money and I feel like with the amount of effort they deserve to be given at least a little bit more money.”

It was ultimately decided that the hockey team was not in need of the additional $5,000 and the contingency request for the rest of the academic year was denied.

Blue Devils’ Run Falls Short

By Brittany Burke and Kenny Barto

The CCSU club hockey team made history by grabbing the number two spot at the ACHA Division II national tournament the first weekend of spring break.

Moving through pool play, the Blue Devils defeated Michigan State University on Wednesday, March 17 and Ohio State University on Thursday, March 18, where they locked up their position in the semifinals. They fell to the San Jose State Spartans on Friday. CCSU faced University of Maryland-Baltimore County Saturday morning, but let the championship escape their grasp when Davenport outscored CCSU 3-1 with two streaks of four unanswered goals.

Despite losing the final to Davenport University, this year’s CCSU team made it farther than any other team in CCSU history.

“This is the best team in Central history,” said Head Coach Ben Adams. “There’s only one way to go from here.”

CCSU vs. Davenport Panthers (Finals)

Davenport swept all of their games, winning five in a row to give them their third ACHA Division II title in three years including the 12-4 victory over CCSU.

“This is a team that wins national championships,” said Adams. “It’s tough when you don’t bury your opportunities and you give them second chances.”

The Blue Devils struggled with the high-powered offense of Davenport for the entire game, but had the game tied at the end of the first period thanks to another great performance by freshman Ryan Stanley, who scored nine goals in the tournament.

“This gives me some confidence going forward,” he said. “It’s definitely rewarding because of all the work I put in during the off season.”

CCSU could not keep up with Davenport in the second period, however. The Panthers scored four goals in a row before Thomas Carroll scored on a slap shot from the point with 1:31 left to go in the period. Davenport quickly answered with 11 seconds to go to put the score at 7-3.

Davenport continued to pile on the goals, and with the score at 11-4, the game got out of hand. Goalie Greg Coco froze a Davenport shot with just over three minutes remaining when Panthers defenseman Adam Gillikin got too close for comfort. Blue Devils enforcer Carroll shoved Gillikin away, and both players eventually dropped gloves and fought until all three referees were able to pull them apart.

CCSU’s Rob DiClemente was thrown out for unsportsmanlike-conduct, and both Gillikin and Caroll were thrown out for fighting.

“This is a game that runs on pure emotions,” said coach Adams. “I don’t condone it by any means, but I understand where [Carroll] was coming from.”

Davenport added one more score in the last minute to give them the 12-4 victory.

Even with the loss, two CCSU players brought home individual awards due to strong performances in the tournament. Dabkowski received second team all-tournament honors with three goals and seven assists. Stanley received first team all-tournament with his nine goal, six assist performance; he fell just short in the voting for tournament MVP. The Blue Devils received the title of runner-up for the entire ACHA Division II, which consists of over 180 teams coast-to-coast.

CCSU vs. University of Maryland Baltimore County (Semifinals)

The national championship game was CCSU’s second game in the same day, having faced the University of Maryland-Baltimore County at 8:15 that morning.

“I haven’t played two in one day since pee-wee or bantam,” said Dabkowski. “But, this is what the 7 a.m. practices are for, so we’re ready.”

The Blue Devils came out strong against UMBC, who received the number one ranking based on their pool play performance.

Within the first eight and a half minutes, CCSU scored three goals, one by Butler and one by DiClemente with Stanley assisting on both. Stanley scored the third goal on the power play, assisted by Carroll and DiClemente.

CCSU led 3-0 at the end of the first, and continued to build their momentum. Stanley scored his second of the game with 14 minutes remaining, which was CCSU’s only goal of the period. Coco had no problems with the early morning start, and continued to shut out the UMBC offense through the second period.

UMBC finally buried one of their opportunities early in the second period, and followed up with another four minutes later to bring the game closer to 4-2. CCSU would not roll over, however, as Brett Holmes scored on a beautiful back-door pass from Dabkowski with seven minutes left in the period.

Three minutes later, Stanley scored, and hats rained down from the CCSU crowd for the second time in the tournament.

“Stanley is a horse,” said coach Adams. “He’s blown everyone else out of the water in scoring, and he’s just been great for us.”

With the scoreboard reading 6-2, Carroll forced a turnover in the defensive zone, and passed to Dabkowski at center ice, who started a breakaway giving CCSU their seventh of the game.

“[Stanley and Dabkowski] have been strong all tournament,” said coach Adams. “Those were the guys that we needed to step up, and they definitely did.”

Dabkowski ended his senior season as the goal and points leader with 24 and 47, while the injured DiClemente lead the team in assists at 33. CCSU ended the season ranked fourth SECHL with a 15-11-2 regular season record, scoring a team total of 335 points.

Pool Play vs. Michigan State University

CCSU came out of pool play 2 for 3, which cemented their position in the semifinals; they won against both Michigan State University and Ohio State University, but lost to San Jose State.

During the first day of the tournament, CCSU defeated Michigan State Spartans 9-7. They came out strong against the MSU, scoring with less than two minutes taken off the clock from Stanley, his first of three in the game, assisted by Dabkowski and Jeff Pease.

CCSU managed to score twice more in the first to give them the 3-1 advantage heading into the locker room. Their second goal came from senior Erich Stoneman with help from Matt Williams and Jonathan Knobloch, followed by an unassisted glove side goal made by Stanley with 53 seconds left to play.

During the second MSU goalie Nick Kuelske allowed for three additional unanswered goals before he was taken out of the game with the score at 6-1.

The final goal of the second for CCSU came from Knobloch and Stoneman with less than a minute to play.

With the five-goal lead CCSU came out in the third flat. They managed to step it up, with two more goals at 15:51 and 14:46 from Dabkowski with the assists from Stanley and Carroll; the second came from Ryan Paglinco and Eric Blewett. MSU came back with four unanswered goals, three coming off a power play.

“It was a mix of comfort and penalties that got us to the final score,” said Adams. “A win is a win as ugly as it gets, but they hung together. They stayed together as a group and even when it was going bad they still managed to find a way to win.”

vs. Ohio State

The Blue Devils entered the game versus Buckeyes looking to carry over the momentum from the win against MSU. With 17:24 left to play Dabkowski scored the one and only CCSU first period goal from Stanley and Pease.

“First time CCSU hockey has ever made it to the semifinals so now after this game we can say we’re one of the top four teams in the country and not many players at any league get to say that at any point in time in their career…and that’s awesome,” said Dabkowski after Thursday’s game.

CCSU managed to outshoot OSU, even though they spent extra time in the box.

Early on in the second CCSU’s Pease put the Blue Devils up by one with a goal from Stanley and Dabkowski. They briefly lost the lead when OSU scored back-to-back with 3:58 and 3:32 left to play, but the Blue Devils came back strong and 25 seconds later Blewett scored from Carroll and Dane Anderson to tie it up at three beginning the third.

CCSU had the four-line attack that they have been honing since the beginning of the second half of the season. Players from every line were stepping up and making the plays, especially in front of Coco. He shut out the Buckeyes in the third, while his team sealed the win with two more goals.

At the end of the third, co-captain Mike DiClemente took a hit on the boards and left the game immediately. His arm was broken in two places.

“The boys did all the work. I just kind of pushed the right buttons you know, I just pushed buttons and hoped they were the right ones,” said Adams. “They laid it on the line, and they played it as a team and that’s all you could ask for.”

vs. San Jose State University

The last day of pool play brought a west-coast opponent in the San Jose State Spartans, and also brought some bad news.

In the game the night before, co-captain Mike DiClemente took a hit on the boards and left the game immediately with a broken arm. Robert DiClemente honored his brother by wearing his jersey, and scored in the second period.

“It was with his brother’s move too,” said coach Adams. “It was bittersweet because [Rob] is upset, but it was a nice goal.”

CCSU lost 4-2, with senior Matt Williams adding the other goal. The Blue Devils offense was out of sync, but they were able to rest up their key players going into the semifinal game.

Hockey Goes to National Tournament

By Brittany Burke

Last weekend the CCSU hockey team competed in the ACHA Northeast Regional Tournament and came out on top of Bryant University and the University of New Hampshire earning their bid to next week’s ACHA National Tournament.

This year’s nationals are being hosted by the Super East Collegiate Hockey League, CCSU’s primary league and are being held at the International Skating Center in Simsbury, Conn. – a mere half hour away from CCSU.

The tournament is being conducted over four days from March 17-20. There are eight games being played Wednesday, Thursday and Friday with the semifinals and finals taking place on Saturday.

The sixteen teams are broken up into four different pools containing one team from each region. The Blue Devils are a part of Pool C with Michigan State, Ohio State and San Jose State.

With the 5-4 defeat of UNH, CCSU (20-10-2-1) enters the nationals ranked third and will face the second ranked Michigan State Spartans (17-7-0-2) at 7 p.m. on the opening day of the tournament. Thursday the Blue Devils find themselves playing the Ohio State Buckeyes (23-4-02) at 7 p.m. and end with the San Jose State Spartans (27-10-0-0) on Friday at 6 p.m.

The CCSU team has worked hard to get their bid in this year’s tournament and with the games being held in our own back yard it is imperative that the CCSU community come out and show the athletes their support.

The Blue Devils team is offering students and faculty a special ticket price of $10 for a four day tournament pass or $5 for an individual day pass, which is good for every single game. To purchase tickets you can contact team captain Joe Dabkowski at dabkowskijoc@ccsu.edu.

CCSU Schedule

Wednesday, 3/17                                7 p.m. v Michigan State

Thursday, 3/18                                    7 p.m. v Ohio State

Friday, 3/19                                         6 p.m. v San Jose State

Saturday, 3/20                         Semi Finals & Championship

Seeing Double: DiClementes Assist Hockey Team

By Brittany Burke

At first glance it’s hard to tell who is who. And if it wasn’t for the blue 12 and 18 printed across their CCSU hockey uniforms you may never be able to tell the difference. But for senior forwards Mike and Rob DiClemente, the twin thing can only work to their advantage on the ice.

“We find each other on the ice a lot better than we do other people. It’s kind of weird with that twin mentality we know where each other’s going to be so it’s fun,” said Mike DiClemente.

After five years on the CCSU hockey team the DiClementes are playing their last season for the Blue Devils, which has taken them to Nationals, but after eighteen years hockey becomes less of a hobby and more of a lifestyle.

“They’ve been playing since they were four and this is the end and it’s really sad,” said their mother, Annette DiClemente. “It’s really sad for us, we’ve made great friends, we have lifetime friends and even the boys have lifetime friends.”

It’s been eighteen years of early morning practices and hard work, but the brothers always had someone there for support, someone who wasn’t afraid to tell them off when need be, but would back them up if they ever got into any trouble.

At the last game of the ACHA Regionals their mother Annette DiClemente was reminiscing with the other hockey moms about the time her and her husband got to a game five minutes late only to find both of their boys dressed and ejected from the game. One of the boys had gotten into a fight, and his brother was there to back him up, which caused them both to get thrown out.

“We’re not afraid to tell each other how we feel so we argue a lot, but it’s fine, that’s how we communicate. There’s no real down side to playing together,” Rob DiClemente said.

The brothers even have eerily similar thoughts about their relationship proving that the twin mentality works on and off the ice. “It’s been great. I don’t know, we don’t hesitate to yell at each other,” Mike DiClemente said. It seemed as if their no holds barred form of communication with each other has become as much a part of the team dynamic as the two boys themselves.

“It’s funny because hearing them in the locker room going after each other. It’s kind of the brotherly love type deal, and they don’t like to admit it, but if anyone of them would get in trouble with anybody the other one would be right behind him, but they won’t admit that,” said fellow senior Joe Dabkowski.

Dabkowski and the DiClemente brothers have been playing together since the days of midget and junior hockey, where the twins opted to play for the Connecticut Lazers instead of their town’s combined team. They are three of 11 seniors leaving the team at the end of the season, and it is that group’s camaraderie that both brothers said they would miss the most.

“I’m gonna miss the family atmosphere, I’m gonna miss the 7 a.m. practices, it’s all gonna be missed terribly,” Mike DiClemente said. “All the guys, it’s been great, we’ve been growing up with them. A lot of the guys we’ve been playing with before this, before we made the Central hockey team…so we’re a close bunch of guys.”

“All the guys, we’ve gotten so close to all the seniors that are on the team. Now we do everything together, and that’s pretty much a big part of it and waking up in the morning and practicing, pretty much the whole game because we love playing it and nothing makes us happier,” said Rob DiClemente.

It is the little things about not playing hockey anymore that the whole DiClemente family will have to get used to once the boys hang up their skates. For the twins it’s the funny team rituals like teammate Erich Stoneman screaming to get everyone pumped up before a game or having to wear a pink helmet in practice if you’re last to score in a shoot out.

For their parents it’s not traveling to the games, something that has tacked on 165,000 miles on their 2005 car, and spending their weekends at a hockey rink.

“It’s very hard because I’ve made it to almost all of their games,” said Mrs. DiClemente. “It’s been a great experience, I can’t say enough about hockey.”

While the idea of trading in the skates for a job is daunting, the brothers will have a combined 36 years of memories, which includes winning the state tournament in their Bantam days and the many years playing for the CCSU Blue Devils.

CCSU Ice Hockey Heads to Nationals

By Brittany Burke

DANBURY, Conn.- The CCSU hockey team swept the ACHA Northeast Regionals this weekend, placing them as the number three seed headed into nationals being held in Simsbury, CT March 17-20.

In a single elimination tournament, the Blue Devils were able to defeat the Bryant Bulldogs, 8-4 and the University of New Hampshire Wildcats, 5-4 in order to advance to the nationals.

“For us seniors this is our second go around so it’s pretty special going out on a high note,” said Sunday night’s starting goalie, Carmine Vetrano.

CCSU got off to a fast start Saturday against the Bulldogs scoring three goals in less than two minutes in the first. The goals, coming from Ryan Paglinco, Jeff Pease and Sam Holl on a breakaway gave the Blue Devils the early advantage.

“They were fired up. There’s a lot of seniors who have a lot of things to play for right now, and they were fired up coming into it, and they got off to a great start,” said Head Coach Ben Adams.

Offensively CCSU maintained good puck control throughout most of the match up and repeatedly attacked the net until they heard the whistle blow. That type of drive led to CCSU’s fourth goal of the game with 11:51 to play by Michael Joy from Ryan Stanley.

CCSU out shot Bryant 10 shots on goal to nine, while making 40 percent of their shots, which gave them the lead going into the first intermission.

“We started strong in the first period, which helped,” said senior Mike DiClemente. “We got three goals in a row, which really set us towards a full game.”

The Blue Devils got the second period off to a quick start when the combination of Joe Dabkowski from Stanley led to the fifth straight goal for CCSU. The positives kept building for CCSU as Jonathan Knobloch made his first of three goals in the tournament, capitalizing on their second power play in the period with the assist from Thomas Carroll.

With the 6-0 advantage CCSU began to get comfortable towards the end of the second. The comfortable feeling led to two back to back penalties and two Bryant goals late in the period.

At the beginning of the third Bryant came out and scored with 17:32 left in regulation, shortening CCSU’s lead to three.

Despite the Blue Devil’s minor lull beginning the in the third Knobloch, a freshman was able to propel the Blue Devils’ momentum once again when he scored an unassisted goal.

Dabkowski’s goal from Ryan Beaulieu with only 3:55 left sealed the win for the Blue Devils, keeping their season alive for at least one more game.

“We came out strong, kind of had a little bit of a lull in the second into the third period and kind of sat back a little bit, but overall I think it went really well,” said Dabkowski. “We rolled four lines throughout the whole game; we had production from the top line seniors to the freshmen who were in the lineup.”

The Blue Devils spent the second half of the season honing the depth of their lines, adding to the team’s overall versatility and dimension. With new players in the line up the team was able to hide their major playmakers and build winning combinations using the entire roster.

In past games the ability to spread out the lines has worn down the opponents, who possess less depth, and that same strategy worked well against the Bulldogs. Thirteen different players had a hand in scoring against the Bulldogs, three of which came from the freshmen in the lineup.

Despite the win the Blue Devils still had that period of time where they would score multiple goals and then go into a period of hibernation and sit back in their comfort zone. While they had three productive periods they weren’t consistent enough, and entered Sunday’s game looking to play a full game.


The game against UNH brought on a new line up for CCSU. Instead of starting goalie Greg Coco, who aided the win against Bryant, the Blue Devils played veteran Vetrano.

CCSU struggled a bit in the first keeping constant control of the puck, but stepped up defensively in front of Vetrano and helped to deflect the shots to keep the score down.

“The guys did a good job in front me, blocking shots and clearing the puck,” said Vetrano. “Yea I mean a couple got through, just a couple breakdowns, but games in the past that would’ve came back and haunted us; knock the wind out of our sails, but we knew what was on the line so we just stepped it up after.”

CCSU had the lead when the clock ran down in the first, following a goal made by Knobloch from Erich Stoneman and Joy after fighting in front of the net to earn the advantage.

The Blue Devils outshot the Wildcats in the first and were the first to score in the second. Holl got the stick side goal off a pass from Joy and put the Blue Devils at two with 14:43 left.

Once they had the lead both CCSU and UNH were given two minute minors, CCSU for roughing and UNH for hitting from behind.

Shortly after the two minutes of four on four CCSU lapsed and allowed for two goals to be scored by UNH, tying the teams at two apiece.

With the scored tied the Blue Devils managed to get another stick side goal, Holl’s second from Mike DiClemente and Dabkowski. Less than two minutes later, following suit of scoring multiple goals at once, Carroll scored an unassisted goal putting them ahead by two with 5:25 left in the period.

Dabkowski managed to take advantage of the power play early in the third, but then allowed for two additional UNH goals, shortening the lead to just one with fewer than two to play. As the clock wound down UNH pulled their goalie for the extra man, but CCSU held on.

As the buzzer sounded for the end of the game the Blue Devils bench erupted into a fury of emotion and the entire team rushed to the ice to join their teammates.

“I didn’t want it to end. I did not want it to end, and this lets it go a little further,” said DiClemente of his senior season and the bid to Nationals.

CCSU is able to revel in their win for a short time before going back to work with their eyes set on the SECHL tournament in Albany March 5-7.

Hockey Rallies in the Third for the Win

Hockey vs. Bryant

By Brittany Burke

The Blue Devils entered Saturday night’s home game looking to improve their weekend record to 2-0 overall after defeating New York University on the road 7-6, beginning the fourth and final ranking period undefeated.

Despite the NYU win, the game itself wasn’t one of the Blue Devils’ best, starting out slow only to have to play catch up in the final period.

“We didn’t have a very good game [Friday] for about a period, two periods and a half,” said senior Matt Williams. “And again we turned it on close to the end of the third yesterday and just popped in a couple of goals.”

The Blue Devils seemed to be following suit as they took the ice against the Bryant Bulldogs: slow to warm up, only to turn it around in the third.

CCSU took the ice looking more sloppy and tired than precise and energetic. The team came out flat and remained that way through the entire first period. Goalie Greg Coco was coming up with big saves, but let the puck get past him with 4:14 left to play in the first.

The Bulldogs’ goalie was on top of his game Saturday, shutting out the Blue Devils in the first period giving Bryant the one-goal lead heading into the first intermission.

“I still think there was some residual from the previous night down at NYU. We obviously didn’t play our best game, whether they weren’t prepared or it was the big lights of the city getting down there. I don’t know what it was, but I think tonight they came out flat,” said Head Coach Ben Adams.

The Bulldogs continued to shut down the Blue Devils through most of the second period. In spite of CCSU’s multiple power play opportunities they couldn’t connect with the goal. The momentum changed when Joe Dabkowski scored a rebounded, unassisted goal sixteen minutes into the second, tying the score at one a piece.

The good mood didn’t last long. Dabkowski was given time in the box shortly after his goal for roughing at 3:36. A minute and 24 seconds later Eric Blewett was called on contact to the head, presenting the Bulldogs with the power play, which they turned into a one goal lead. Again CCSU had to head into the locker room down a goal.

The third period began with a bang, recharging the Blue Devils. With 18:13 left to play Williams, assisted by Brian Fay was able to tie the score at two when he took a chance and made a shot from the top of the circles.

“I think it definitely boosted the morale of the team a little bit, and it seems like whenever we get a lead we put the foot on the pedal and keep on going,” said Williams, in regards to his goal which sparked the rest of the team.

From that point on CCSU was attacking the net, making shots and stepping up on the defense. Williams’ goal was the start of their come from behind win. Less than three minutes after the initial goal, Dabkowski scored on the power play with help from the DiClemente brothers, Rob and Mike. Dabkowski’s second goal for the night put the Blue Devils ahead for the first time in the game.

The fourth CCSU goal and final goal of the game came from Blewett, who scored with 11:41 left with help from Jonathan Knobloch and Dane Anderson.

“I think we got back to basics. Every one of our goals, except for Matt’s goal, was just purely getting pucks to the net, and crashing the net, which is if you’re having a hard time scoring that’s what you want to try to do,” said Adams.

CCSU’s multi-talented lines were able to wear Bryant down, despite the noticeable absence of defensive powerhouse Thomas Carroll. He was unable to play against Bryant and NYU after being disqualified for the second time this season in the Western game. He will be permitted back in the lineup for Wednesday’s game at Holy Cross.

CCSU is home again on Saturday Feb. 13 at 7:40 p.m. against the University of New Hampshire.

CCSU Pulls Win Out of Hostile Environment

By Brittany Burke

State school rivals CCSU and Western Connecticut State University put on an intense game at Western’s home rink last night, each team retaliating in goals and earning penalties until finally CCSU third and final shot against the odds.

The 3-2 game was fairly clean through the first period, each team only drawing one minor holding penalty a piece. CCSU maintained good puck control and got shots on the net, keeping the puck away from their own zone for as long as they could manage. Even when Western did find the puck it wasn’t for long, and it did not result in any goals. CCSU continued playing together as one unit against a team who was all over the ice.

“My team really helped me out. There was not too many close shots, they were all far out and anytime I let up a rebound they got rid of it,” said goalie Greg Coco. Coco is a transfer to CCSU this semester, already showing off his talent between the pipes making some crucial saves to shut out the Colonials in the first.

The only goal of the period was scored by Joe Dabkowski, assisted by Tom Carroll and Mike DiClemente with seven seconds left in the power play. CCSU maintained their lead and finished the first period with a one goal advantage over Western.

As the second period began it was evident that the game had changed. Western took the ice playing more aggressively than they had in the first causing CCSU to play even harder in retaliation.

With 39 seconds taken off the clock, CCSU player Kevin Butler was sent to the penalty box for roughing, contact to the head, starting a slew of penalties for both CCSU and Western.

Due to Butler’s time in the box Western was able to score on their second power play of the game, tying the score at one after fighting hard against the CCSU defensemen.

The longer the game remained tied the more hostile it became, on the ice and in the stands. There was hooking calls, slashes and tripping penalties all from Western, but at 11:18 CCSU’s Erich Stoneman drew his own penalty, a bench minor, taking him from the bench to the penalty box for two minutes.

Things only escalated when Dabkowski scored his second power play goal of the night, again finding help from DiClemente and Carroll.

The pinnacle of the game was truly the third period, each team beginning with players in the box for a 10 minute game misconduct, and players were only added from there. At any given point within the first few minutes, the penalty box held multiple hockey players.

Dabkowski was sent sailing into the boards after he was checked from behind, tallying on a five minute major and 10 minute game misconduct to Western’s laundry list of penalties shortly after they scored the goal to tie up the game.

When things weren’t going CCSU’s way – they were getting the shots but not connecting with the net – Coco’s voice could be heard throughout the rink shouting encouragement to his teammates, keeping up their momentum and helping them become more aware of the puck.

“It’s good to see Coco stepping up into that role when some of the captains were having some penalty issues,” said coach Ben Adams.

There wasn’t a better time for Coco to be vocal than under the two-minute marker. CCSU had the one-goal lead after Carroll made a shot late in the third off the assist from Dabkowski with 1:53 left, but Carroll was disqualified and given a 10 minute game misconduct. To add insult to injury Dabkowski was then slapped with unsportsmanlike conduct, which put Western at the 3-5 advantage.

Western chose to pull their goalie for the extra man, but was unable to tie, with CCSU continuously clearing the defensive zone.

“There was a lot of animosity between the teams being in state rivals. It was a chippy game and the refs decided to try to step in and make examples of people, and I’m not blaming them. Our guys should’ve been smarter to stay away, but it happened, and it was a good team effort in the third battling back,” said Adams.

CCSU enters the fourth ranking period at NYU on Friday, with the status of Carroll’s eligibility unknown. They’re back home Feb. 6 at 7:40 p.m. against Bryant.

Eurotrip: CCSU’s Dabkowski Returns from Overseas

By Brittany Burke

The cold, still air inside the Newington arena was broken up by the loud pulsating music emanating from the CCSU locker room as the club hockey team continued to rejoice in their defeat of the Boston College Eagles. To the right you are presented with the sounds of victory and to your left, the yells of players still fighting for the win.

Slowly one by one the players filed out of the locker room in their dress pants and button up shirts until there was hardly anyone left. As senior Joe Dabkowski walked out of the locker room to stand rink side it is hard to believe that just two months prior people were skeptical of whether he would be able to play out the rest of the season.

In the hunt for the Connecticut Governor’s cup senior and co-captain Dabkowski was taken off the ice and brought to the hospital after losing his footing on the ice and crashing into the boards behind the opponent’s net.

Dabkowski was able to skate off on his own, but it was clear at that point that Dabkowski would not be taking the ice for the remainder of the match up against the University of New Haven. What was still unclear about the crash was the severity of the injury, and how long he would have to stay off of the ice.

What was originally diagnosed as a dislocation in the hand by the trainers didn’t keep Dabkowski away from the rink for long. Just a mere month after the incident he was packing his bags and getting ready to embark on the trip of a lifetime, any hockey player’s dream.

On Aug. 12 the 2009-2010 new team roster was announced, a select roster from the American Collegiate Hockey Association filled with the names of 26 Division II hockey players from around North America.

A player’s name on this roster meant that he was given a spot on the ACHA Division II Select Team, and given a chance to travel to Europe to play hockey on a grander scale against countries such as Switzerland, Austria, Italy and France.

It just so happens that the second name on the roster was Joe Dabkowski’s. He was one of two players from Connecticut to be chosen for the select team. The other player being Chris Wagner, a defenseman from University of Connecticut. The ACHA searched over 170 colleges and universities across the country to comprise their team, which included 8,000 athletes from across the United States and Canada.

“He was lucky enough to be selected for the ACHA Division II All Star Team, which on an annual basis goes over to Europe and plays I believe five or six games in six countries. So he goes all over the place, and he had a great time doing it,” said CCSU Head Coach Ben Adams.

For Dabkowski, the experience of traveling overseas and getting to play the game he loves was one of the best experiences of his hockey-filled life. For him, it had always been about hockey.

“I started skating when I was two years old. My grandfather owned a roller skating rink and I used to skate while my dad would work. So I’d skate for a while and I’d go sleep in the back room,” he remembered jovially. “I saw hockey on TV and I was like ‘I want to play that.’ So, at three, I was on the ice and I’m 22, so 19 years of my life on skates.”

Nineteen years later and his passion and drive for the sport have taken him overseas to go compete with some of the best members of other D II schools in an atmosphere that could only be found on a foreign ice rink.

“I think the best games we played were in Germany because both the games they had about 1,200 fans. We had this one game where there were these two guys just banging the drums the whole game. If you picture a soccer game over in Europe just on a smaller scale, it was sort of like that,” Dabkowski said.

The members of the select team met in Albany and began competing on Dec. 29. Their opening game was against Val Vanoise, a team based out of Pralognan, France, where they beat them in a blow out of 17-0.

The win against France was just the beginning for the select team. Their trip came to a close in Ehrwald, Austria on Jan. 6 against EC Ehrwald, where they won their sixth and final game to end their trip undefeated.

“It was one of best experiences of my life. It was playing with some of the best kids from all around the country at this level. So I couldn’t wait to just get over there and get to play hockey in Europe. I mean, how many times can you say you’ve done that?” Dabkowski said. “I got to see some awesome things that I’d never be able to see over here.”

In a country where football reigns on Sundays, baseball is America’s pastime and hockey only matters during the Stanley Cup playoffs or a Winter Olympic year, it is important to take whatever playing opportunity comes your way.

CCSU Hockey Shoots Down the Eagles

By Brittany Burke

A 7-1 win over the Boston College Eagles capped off a winning weekend Sunday night for the CCSU club hockey team.

Less than 10 days after tying the Eagles, whom were recently ranked the second best Division II team in the Northeast Collegiate Hockey Association behind William Paterson, the Blue Devils entered Sunday night’s match up playing physical and aggressive hockey.

“Obviously this game was different than our last game, which we tied them 3-3, but it was just a great team win. I mean, everyone contributed. You know, it just capped off a great weekend that these guys had,” said Head Coach Ben Adams.

CCSU took the lead half way through the period with a goal scored by Rob DiClemente with 10:17 left to play in the first. DiClemente took advantage of the Eagles on the power play with assistance from Thomas Carroll and Joe Dabkowski.

CCSU was presented with more scoring opportunities throughout the first such as the breakaway by Jonathan Knobloch, but were shut down by the BC goaltender, until there was under a minute left.

With 43.7 seconds left to play in the first CCSU struck again lengthening their lead to a two goal advantage entering the second period. The last minute goal came from Michael Joy assisted by Matt Williams.

The Blue Devils team played even better in the second, scoring four of their seven goals, while new goalie, Greg Coco continued to deny the BC players for the second period in a row. Two of the four second period goals were scored by newcomer Ryan Stanley, his first unassisted, and his second assisted by Carroll and Dabkowski.

Coco and Stanley are just two of the new key additions to the roster for the spring semester, which also includes veteran CCSU players Kevin Butler and Carmine Vetrano.

The additions leave the Blue Devils with the problem of choosing between three game-worthy goal tenders.

“It’s a good problem to have, having three starting goal tenders, and pretty much taking rotation until somebody steals something or gets hot. It’s a good problem and everyone plays for everybody,” said Coach Adams.

The team played Sunday’s game with conviction, skated well, and was able to keep a steady scoring rhythm throughout the entire game. The goals were spread out rather than coming in spurts, which has caused problems for them in the past, thanks in part to the cohesiveness of the new lines devised due to the new players.

“We made some changes, tried to hide our big guns throughout all the lines rather than just one line, and it’s frustrating a lot of teams because they can’t match up with us going four lines every game,” said Coach Adams.

With the new line ups in place the players began to click with one another. They were finding each other on the ice while making concise passes and saves in front of the net.

CCSU was playing smart hockey, protecting the puck, and making the clean hits that wouldn’t result in penalties.

The game was over when Eric Blewett capitalized on the power play after a BC player was given a five minute major for hitting from behind. Blewett was assisted by Carroll and Stanley.

Sunday’s win was the third win for the Blue Devils following the defeat of the University of New Hampshire on Friday and the win over Marist College on Saturday. Beating the third and fifth ranked teams respectively in the Northeast have put the Blue Devils on track for a run at the regionals at the end Feb. in Danbury, Conn.

“Central hockey hasn’t been this excited in a while. Guys are fired up. We had a huge weekend, we just tied them [BC], and had gotten pumped about that about two weeks ago,” said Dabkowski. “Then we came back and already beaten the number five and number three teams, and being number 10, you know, beating those two teams really helped the rankings. Then coming out and putting on a show like this, everyone is pretty excited.”

CCSU won’t be back at Newington until Feb. 6 against Bryant College.

Weekend Tournament Brings Split for CCSU Hockey

By Brittany Burke

In a third period effort to gain control of the puck and lengthen their lead over the University of New Haven in the second round of the Connecticut Governor’s Cup, Senior Captain Joe Dabkowski endured a collision with the boards.

The rink became silent as the sound of a loud crash filled the air. Dabkowski laid still face down on the ice for several minutes behind UNH’s net, lifting his head every few moments as a sign that the crash had not resulted in a head or neck injury.

After being checked out by the team trainer, Dabkowski was able to skate off the ice on his own, but was taken out of the game.

“The trainers are saying it’s a dislocation in his hand, two bones. He splinted it, and went to the hospital, so we’ll see,” said Head Coach Ben Adams. “Depending on how severe it is, I know Joe and he’s probably going to do everything in his power to rehab it real quick or just play through it.”

The loss of Dabkowski was seemingly the only glitch in the 9-1 win against the UNH club hockey team Saturday night.

CCSU maintained a 6-0 lead over UNH throughout the first two periods, not letting the team score their one and only goal until early in the third. The Blue Devils maintained more shots on goal and kept control of the puck.

“We just had to throw a lot of pucks on net to see what happens,” said Thomas Carroll. He pulled off a hat trick and two assists for the night.

CCSU was able to cut down on their penalties, a problem that caused them to lose the first round of the mini tournament against University of Connecticut 5-4.

“They minimized mistakes, they weren’t in the penalty box much. We capitalized on our opportunity on the power play, and overall we got more pucks on the net,” said Coach Adams of his team’s performance against UNH.

UNH came out skating hard playing good defense, looking for a comeback win after their Friday night blowout loss against Western Connecticut State University. The lost 13-3. Despite their tough play, the Blue Devils defense was able to force them into situations they were not comfortable with, allowing them to take advantage and come away with points.

“Defensemen were stepping up, taking ice away on the blue lines, enforcing the dump, which they’re not a dump and chase-type team so it’s good to see,” said Coach Adams. “And you know, [Ross] Mocko is our best defenseman back there. He made some big saves and really controlled the rebounds well tonight, as opposed to last night.”

CCSU finished off their win with a goal in the final seconds of the game scored by Eric Blewett, his second for the night, and assisted by Carroll.

CCSU came out in their rematch game against UNH looking for the win that they had let go in the first round against the UConn Huskies.

The Blue Devils began the game against UConn strong with two back-to-back unassisted goals made by Dabkowski. The first goal came just two minutes and 10 seconds into the game and the second breakaway goal was scored just 19 seconds later.

“We were kind of starting a little slow, for whatever reason I had two good opportunities, and found a variable on a breakaway, which I’ve been struggling, which is good,” Dabkowski said. “We just had trouble carrying that momentum throughout the game, and we started to pick it up later on, but it was a little too late.”

The Blue Devils are a team who scores in spurts, and that was evident in their game against UConn. After the initial two goals were made by Dabkowski they had trouble connecting, and couldn’t score again until there was 14:49 left in the second. Freshman, Jonathan Knobloch scored their only goal in the second with help from sophomore Jeff Pease and senior Erich Stoneman.

With 9:07 left to play in the second Co-Captain Mike DiClemente was taken out of the game for a major game misconduct, leaving a major hole in the team’s overall play.

“Obviously he’s one of our top guys – one of those players we have great chemistry with on our line, but whenever you lose a guy who’s playing a good number of minutes it’s gonna be tough on the team, and guys got to step up,” said Dabkowski.

DiClemente was out for the rest of the first game but came back on Saturday with two goals and an assist.

Despite the loss of DiClemente, CCSU scored a late fourth goal in the third made by Ryan Paglinco from Blewett and Carroll, but the spark wasn’t enough for the win.

The Blue Devils ended the mini tournament 1-1 with the loss against UConn and win versus UNH.

They are on a one week break and then are back on their home ice on Dec. 5 at 7:30 p.m. versus Endicott College.