MILTON, Mass. -- Shane Tracy and Tyler Vankleef scored 1:28 apart in the third period, and Curry College was able to hold off the University of New England late to take a key 3-2 Commonwealth Coast Conference (CCC) men's ice hockey win Thursday evening (Feb. 16) at Max Ulin Rink.
The victory solidified a first-round home playoff game for Curry (13-8-2, 10-4-2 CCC) when the CCC Championship gets underway Feb. 25. The Nor'easters (11-9-2, 7-7-2) will now have to go on the road in the opening round. The triumph enabled the Colonels to sweep the regular-season series between the two squads, currently ranked fourth and fifth in the league standings.
With the score tied 1-1 after two periods, Curry seized control near the midway point of the final frame. Tracy gave the Colonels the lead for good at the 7:27 mark, tipping home a pass from Mike Apreda. Vankleef then added what would prove to be the game-winner on his 14th marker of the season.
The Nor'easters sliced the deficit to one while on a power play when Ryan Bloom found the back of the net for the 15th time this season. Brady Fleurent and Dmitris Jones assisted on the goal, which came with 5:35 remaining on the clock.
UNE was unable to tie the score in the final minutes, despite going on a power play for the final 32 seconds and pulling goaltender Tate Sproxton for an additional skater.
Dylan Bengtson had given the Nor'easters a 1-0 margin early with the lone goal of the opening period. Bengtson received a feed from Blaise Healy before whistling a slap shot over the shoulder of Curry netminder Brett Sinclair in the final minute.
Curry would draw even at 7:23 of the second when Tomas Brejcha put home a one-timer.
Sinclair picked up the win with 18 saves, while Sproxton totaled 17 for UNE, which will host Wentworth Institute of Technology Saturday night (7 p.m.) on Senior Night at the Harold Alfond Forum.