WATERVILLE — Like father, like son? Not exactly, at least not in the case of the Colby College hockey team.

Where Mules head coach Blaise MacDonald was a defenseman by trade during his playing career at RIT in the mid-1980s, current Colby senior Cam MacDonald is a left wing. Cam MacDonald, Blaise’s oldest son, also happens to lead the Mules with 15 goals this season as they prepare for the first round of the NCAA tournament Saturday night at No. 7 University of New England.

“I try to stay away from him as much as I can,” Cam MacDonald said of playing for his father. “I try to do all the little things right so he’s not yelling at me. I think I do an OK job.”

In the New England Small College Athletic Conference championship game last Sunday, MacDonald scored twice in the third period to clinch Colby’s win. His first goal came just 13 seconds after top-seeded Trinity had cut the Mules lead to 2-1.

“I’ve been around Cam’s game since he was a little, tiny kid,” Blaise MacDonald said. “One of his best attributes I’ve always said is puck luck. I’ve never seen a kid in big games where pucks bounce to him and things go in the net like it does for him. But he works for it. He gets himself into the right spots.”

Cam MacDonald doesn’t necessarily view himself as an elite-level goal-scorer. In his first three seasons at Colby, he had just 17 total goals. He registered five goals and 16 points as a junior.

Playing the second half of the season with center Michael Rudolf and winger Justin Grillo has certainly helped MacDonald find consistency.

“We like to shoot quick,” Cam MacDonald said. “When you have a chance to shoot, let it rip. I just like to get the puck on the net, and good things can happen from that.”

• • •

Mules senior Michael Decker probably wasn’t on anybody’s list of preseason favorites to earn All-NESCAC honors, but the defenseman from Algonquin, Illinois did just that when he was named to the league’s second team following the regular season.

After an injury-plagued junior season limited him to just 16 games, Decker stepped into a void created by the graduation of Jack Burton, Geoff Sullivan and Kai Frankville this winter.

“I really had to take ownership of my game and moving forward to have the d-core on our seniors’ backs,” said Decker, who is second on the team with 16 assists.

“I think that was a big thing for me this year. I really just took it game by game. Doing the simple little things right, the points were going to come. I never really pushed myself or pressured myself that I needed a point-per-game. I just played my game and let the chips fall where they would.”

Decker joined others in forming a cohesive defensive unit that opened the season as the biggest question mark facing Colby.

“That’s one of the things that’s been one of our benefits this year,” Blaise MacDonald said. “We have really good quality depth. People are waiting for their opportunities to shine.”

• • •

Ranked seventh in the nation, it’s no secret what got the University of New England to the NCAA tournament.

The Nor’easters rank second in the nation in goals per game (4.96) and have one of just two 50-point scorers in Division III in junior and Biddeford native Brady Fleurent (16-34-50 totals).

“If you look at the recruiting we’ve done the last couple of years, we’ve brought in some pretty offensively talented kids,” UNE coach Kevin Swallow said. “That’s who we are, a very offensive-minded team. It’s a great group of guys that have a lot of depth there. We have a lot of scoring ability.”

The power play is where UNE is particularly dangerous. The Nor’easters boast a power play clicking along at a 35.9 percent success rate — the only team in the nation with a power play percentage north of 30 percent.

• • •

In the NESCAC title game against Trinity, Colby players blocked a total of 24 shot attempts by the Bantams.

Senior netminder Sean Lawrence, who has backboned the Mules’ run to the NCAA tournament, believes the team’s shot-blocking in front of him has been key to his success between the pipes.

“It’s 20 guys doing whatever they can to get in front of a puck,” Lawrence said. “That makes whoever’s in the net’s job a lot easier.”

After a 5-1 loss to Amherst in January, the Colby coaching staff took inventory of where easy opportunities were coming from for the opposition. The consensus? It was time to be better at blocking shots.

“Yeah, shot blocking may hurt. But the shot you don’t block is going to hurt more,” Blaise MacDonald said. “Guys took that to heart. We try to celebrate somebody comitting themselves to helping the team win and having success.

“It’s like a virus. Once one guy does it, everybody catches on.”

Travis Barrett — 621-5621

[email protected]

Twitter: @TBarrettGWC

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