KEENE SENTINEL: Area youth hockey products reconnect for college title

KEENE SENTINEL: Area youth hockey products reconnect for college title

Click here to read original article - written by DAVID LANIER of the Keene Sentinel Staff. 


A pair of long-time friends, who began playing hockey together in the Keene Youth Hockey Club before going to different high schools, got back together in Maine this winter to help Thomas College capture a collegiate club championship.

Jason Dicey of Keene and Dylan Fernandez of Monadnock helped the Terriers hoist the Central Maine Collegiate Conference trophy.

"This one's special," Fernandez said.

Dicey, who transferred to Thomas from Framingham at mid-semester in part because his friend was there, added, "This was our goal. This is one of the reasons I came here, because of the hockey."

Thomas blanked Farmington 3-0 in the championship game at the Sukee Ice Arena in Windsor, Maine, which is the next town over from Waterville in south central Maine, about a half-hour north of Augusta.

Thomas is an NCAA Division III school of about 1,300 students. The hockey program is a club sport, with aspirations of perhaps joining the varsity ranks in a few seasons.

"I don't think it's going to happen in our time (at the school)," said Fernandez, a freshman, "but at least we're helping to build it."

No matter. The two Keene-area hockey friends are back on the ice, where they were when they met at age 6 in the Keene youth leagues, where they played for 10 years and helped the Keene PeeWees claim the 2005 state title.

Dicey, a sophomore, and Fernandez also played after high school for the N.H. Junior Monarchs.

"Winning this championship feels like our youth league title," said Fernandez, whose dad, Paul, was one his youth coaches. "That was amazing to be a part of — an overtime win over Rochester in the state championship game and a trip to the regionals.

"This has been just as amazing."

The hockey pals had to split up for high school, with Fernandez going to Monadnock and Dicey to Keene; neither school reached the state tournament during their years there, so they were especially glad this winter to be back in the postseason.

Dicey, a winger, scored 12 goals during the regular season to rank fourth on the team in scoring.

Fernandez, also a winger, finished the regular season with three goals and six assists.

In the CMCC tournament, Dicey and Fernandez combined for eight points in a semifinal win, and Dicey scored the first goal in the championship game.

"Dylan was a tremendous asset to our squad this season," Thomas Coach TJ Garske said. "He provided much needed depth and flexibility to our offense, and we're looking forward to an even better season next year with a year under his belt."

Fernandez's role in helping influence Dicey to Thomas College also contributed to the title run.

"Jason immediately made an impact, filling a void on the first line," Garske said. "His knowledge of the game also carried over to other players on the team."

Fernandez said, "Jason and I have played together for so long and know each so well on the ice. We've developed a lot of chemistry of the years."

Their chemistry apparently extends beyond the hockey rink; their basketball team lost in the Thomas College intramural league championship game.