MILTON, Mass. – The second-seeded Curry College men's ice hockey team fell to the visiting number three seed University of New England, 2-1, on Saturday night at the Max Ulin Rink in the Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) Tournament Semifinals. The loss drops the Colonels to 16-7-3 overall, which ends their season. With the win, the Nor'easters improve to 19-6-2 overall and advance to the CCC Championship Game.
UNE was first to get on the board 15:44 into the opening period. Freshman Justin Dixson (Sunnyvale, Calif.) scored his third goal of the season with the assist going to classmate Austin Morgan (Novi, Mich.). The contest stayed a one-goal advantage for the visitors for the remainder of the frame. The Nor'easters outshot Curry 13-6 in the first frame while sophomore goaltender Ben Churchfield (Newcastle, England) made six saves. Junior goaltender Justin Ketola (Cloquet, Minn.) converted 12 saves in the opening period for the Colonels.
The second frame saw neither team score. UNE doubled up Curry in the shot category, 14-7. Both goalies were peppered with shots, combining for 21 saves as the Nor'easters entered the final period of regulation with a one-goal advantage.
In the final stanza, the Colonels netted the equalizer just 21 seconds in on a strike from senior captain Zach White (Milford, Conn.). The helpers on the marker were awarded to senior assistant captain Lionel Mauron (Lausanne, Switzerland) and sophomore Michael Snow (Medford, Mass.). UNE scored the eventual game-winner with 9:06 remaining on a goal from sophomore Brett Mecrones (Medford, Mass.) Junior Liam Neuman (Newmarket, Ontario) picked up the assist on the go-ahead goal. Curry made a late charge, trying to capitalize on two power plays in the final five minutes, but were unable to get the equalizer. Churchfield came up big in the final minutes with huge saves to preserve the 2-1 victory for the Nor'easters.
UNE outshot Curry, 38-24. The Colonels was 0-for-4 on the PP while the Nor'easters were also 0-for-4.
Ketola recorded 36 saves in net in the loss. Churchfield made 29 stops in net for the win.
UNE advances to the CCC Final for the third-consecutive season and will play top-seeded Salve Regina for the championship on Saturday, March 2 at Portsmouth Abbey Rink in Portsmouth, R.I. at 7:00 p.m.