Terriers pull off exciting win against Division III rivals

By Melanie Savage - Staff Writer
Region - posted Sun., Feb. 27, 2011
Craig Matthes races a pair of Rams players to the net during a Rockville/Manchester/Stafford vs. Rocky Hill/RHAM/Middletown game on Feb. 26. Photos by Melanie Savage.
Craig Matthes races a pair of Rams players to the net during a Rockville/Manchester/Stafford vs. Rocky Hill/RHAM/Middletown game on Feb. 26. Photos by Melanie Savage.

During the 2010-11 season, the Rocky Hill/RHAM/Middletown Terriers’ head coach, Sean Cole, has focused on turning around the mindset of his hockey team. Cole took over the Terriers this year, after the team finished the 2009-10 season with a 5-14-1 record. “I came from a very successful program in Avon,” said Cole, at a game earlier this season. “These kids have been so used to losing, it’s almost like they’ve come to accept it.”

Part of the problem was that the Terriers, which added Middletown to the cooperative just last year, still hadn’t melded as a team. “I think they were playing as individuals,” said Cole.

The team is also relatively young; heavy on sophomores and with just three seniors. But there is plenty of talent on the roster. According to the Connecticut Association of Schools/Connecticut Interscholastic Athletic Conference, senior Craig Matthes and sophomore Kyle Whalen rank numbers two and three, respectively, state-wide for assists. Senior Nick Schenarts ranks in the top 25 for goals, assists and points, and goalie Andrew Blakeslee appears in the top 25 for saves.

The Terriers headed into a game against the Rockville/Manchester/Stafford Rams on Feb. 26 with an 8-9 record, already outdoing their performance from last season. It was Senior Night for the Rams at their home ice, so the Terriers were facing a somewhat hostile crowd. They had also lost earlier in the season to the Rams, 8-3, on Jan. 22. Things looked even worse after Terriers goalie Nick Maulucci (Andrew Blakeslee was out with a concussion) let the puck slip by him a mere seven seconds into the game. The home crowd went wild. It could have thrown Maulucci off his game, but it didn’t. He gave up three more goals, but he also made a number of spectacular saves. The third period ended in a tie of 4-4.

The teams played just under four minutes of sudden-death overtime until sophomore forward Brendan Quirion scored the tie-breaking goal for the Terriers at 4:26. Cole was elated. “This is the first significant win for this team,” the coach said. “We are not as deep as any other team in Division III. I think they play for each other now. Lately, they’ve really been playing for each other.”

The win brought the Terriers to .500 with a 9-9 record. They were scheduled to finish up the regular season with games against East Catholic (Feb. 28) and Bolton/Coventry/Lyman Memorial (March 2). The brackets for the state playoffs are scheduled to be released on March 5. View the schedules at www.casciac.org.


Coach’s Corner-

Rocky Hill/RHAM/Middletown Hockey Head Coach Sean Cole spent 11 seasons as an assistant ice hockey coach in Avon. This is his first year heading up this cooperative team. Middletown was added to the cooperative just last year.

Assistant Coaches: Bob Soucie and Eric Texeira.

Seniors: Craig Matthes, Taylor Leahy and Nick Schenarts.

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