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Curti Sets Sights On National Title In Senior Season

by Gordon Weigers @GoldenKnights /

Each of the 60 Division I schools competing in NCAA hockey begin each season with a common goal - to win a national championship. While every program's checklist consists of certain goals unique to that school, they all have an intersecting desire to be the top team in the country.

Charlie Curti of the Yale Bulldogs has a checklist of his own.

Fresh off a successful week at Vegas Golden Knights development camp, the Mound, Minnesota, native is getting ready to check off the three boxes on his college hockey to-do list. Succeeding in the classroom, leading Yale to a national championship, and preparing for a professional hockey career are the three focuses around which Curti's senior year will revolve.

For Curti, first things come first. Excelling in his education is something he holds in high regard. The top-tier academics at Yale are a big reason why the defenseman chose to spend his college years in Bulldog blue.

"To combine the school, the social and the hockey aspects, I've definitely grown as a person," Curti said. "I've gained a ton of confidence."

On the ice, Curti wants to make his senior year an unforgettable one. In the 2015-16 season, he helped the Bulldogs earn an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament with a record of 19-9-4, but a first-round exit left him wanting more. The Bulldogs bowed out of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic Conference (ECAC) playoffs earlier than expected in his sophomore and junior seasons and the abrupt ends to those runs taught Curti how much extra work needs to be put in to avoid repeating that disappointment.

"It's had its ups and its downs for sure," Curti said. "I haven't had the success that I've wanted at the collegiate level yet."

Yale's first national championship came in 2013 when Curti was still playing at Mound-Westonka High School in Minnesota. The allure of a national title was another aspect of Yale's prowess that brought Curti to New Haven, Connecticut, in 2015 and he wants to bring the school back to national glory in his final season.

"We have a really strong class of my best friends and we've got one more crack at winning it all," Curti said. "That's been the goal since freshman year and first stepping on campus."

While college hockey fans are known for their rowdiness, Curti enjoys the "polite crowd" at Ingalls Rink that he says are more into the game from a strategic standpoint.

"They know the game well, so they'll cheer after a blocked shot or a good penalty kill," Curti said. "They're there to support us every time we're at home."

Combining the individual growth that he's experienced on and off the ice is something that will help Curti complete his senior year checklist. Upon graduating from Yale next spring, Curti's goal is to play at the professional level. His week at Golden Knights development camp gave him a different perspective as he contemplates his future in hockey.

"For me, it's something that I can take into the summer and see what it's like to be a pro which I hope to be one day." he said.

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