Thursday, May 23, 2013
Most of the Colby College men's hockey team's the games have been close. Unfortunately for the Mules, they're still 3-11-1 overall and 1-8-1 in the New England Small College Athletic Conference.
"It's very common and easy to be close," Colby first-year coach Blaise MacDonald said, "and we're not in the close business."
MacDonald said the biggest problem has been consistency. He said the Mules will play 40 to 45 minutes of very good hockey, and five to 10 minutes of "very pedestrian" hockey.
"Then we will give up a couple goals and not be able to recalculate ourselves to bring about victory," MacDonald said.
MacDonald believes a team's inconsistency comes from its habits -- from locker room space to how to you practice, to how you prepare for the game. He says the team is doing its best to identify the issues that might be leading to that inconsistency.
Nick Lanza (nine goals, seven assists, 16 points), Cory McGrath (4-9-13) and Ben Chwick (3-9-12) are the top scorers for Colby. Sophomores Jordan Nathan and Sam Parker and senior Matt Delaney have split the goaltending duties.
One stat that looks alarming is that in 10 conference games, Colby has scored six power-play goals and allowed four short-handed goals. MacDonald said there's an explanation there.
"I believe two of those short-handed goals were empty-netters," he said. "The other two were just misplayed pucks. Statistically, compared to last year, I think we're in a significantly better place with the special teams."
MacDonald said the team has three major positives.
"I've seen very good leadership from our two captains," he said. "Our work ethic is very positive, both in practices and in games. But to me, work ethic is like breathing -- it's something you should just do naturally. The positive is it's just a very engaging group of young men to be around."
Colby is 0-4-1 over its last five games. The tie was against Trinity when the Bantams tied the score with 1:18 left in regulation. MacDonald said Colby then dominated the overtime, although neither team scored.
"So we'll celebrate those moments a little bit, and try to build on those," he said. "It is going to be a process, without question. That's what the focus is on -- the process. It doesn't always bear fruit, but you've got to stick with the plan and believe in it."
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The men's basketball roster for the University of Maine at Augusta on the school's website currently has seven players. Coach Jim Ford is hoping that will change, maybe even in the next day or two.
Ford said two or three players are trying to fix some incomplete grades to be eligible for second semester games. One of those players is Maranacook graduate Andrew Pullen, who is averaging 21.1 points and 6.5 rebounds per game. The Moose are also hoping to add former Cony players Wade Cooper and Anthony Roberts to the roster by early next week.
Cooper's brother Walker is averaging 17.1 points and 6.6 rebounds per game as a freshman. Lawrence graduate Keith Chesley, another freshman, is at 11.4 points and a team-high 8.1 rebounds per night. Another Lawrence graduate, freshman Emmitt Faulkner, has given the Moose some good minutes off the bench.
Those players helped UMA win six of its final eight games before the December break. Ford said the turning point was the game Nov. 27 against Maine Maritime Academy. The Moose entered the game 1-6 and trailed by 18, but came back for a 57-54 victory.
"It was an entirely new group of guys playing together," Ford said. "The bell rang when we beat Maine Maritime on the road. From there, all of a sudden, it was like, 'We can do this.'
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