The men’s hockey team (3-2, 1-1 NESCAC) hopes to be at its best this weekend when it plays in the 207th and 208th matches of its famed rivalry against Colby (3-1, 2-0 NESCAC) in two key league games this weekend.

“It’s a little different for us this year because we’re kind of chasing them in the standings, where normally it’s the other way around,” captain Brendan Conroy ’17 said. “But it’s still the third NESCAC game of the [year], so I think just setting the pace for the rest of the season.”

Though Colby is ahead in the standings, captain Mitch Barrington ’17 believes that the team has the ability to beat the Mules.

“Colby is in first place right now, so we’re trying to knock them off and get two wins which will be tough but I think it’s something that we expect to do,” he said. “It won’t come easily but I think we can definitely achieve it if we play two good games.”

According to new Head Coach Jamie Dumont, the key to winning this weekend will be playing a full game of “Bowdoin hockey.”

“These games are always fun from a fan’s perspective,” Dumont said. “From a coach’s perspective, it’s an emotional roller coaster. The big thing for us is that we just want to make sure we’re playing our game and focusing on what we’re doing well.”

The main challenge for the team is to focus on the game instead of the crowd, according to captain Matt Sullivan ’17.

“It’s always a packed house which is a lot of fun, but it can throw you off your game a little bit if you’re not careful,” Sullivan said. “I think that’s something to keep in consideration: going into the weekend and knowing that [we’re playing] two NESCAC games just like every other weekend. We fully expect to be competitive and win those games.”

A key factor in the team’s success so far this season has been its depth, which was especially evident in its 8-3 win against Becker College on Tuesday.

“Our secondary scoring has been very good,” said Dumont. “What I mean by that is that we’re not just relying on one or two guys. We have everybody chipping in and we’re getting a lot of help from all forward lines and six [defensemen] and all four goalies.”

Though several key players have been out of the lineup due to suspensions, Barrington believes that the team has been playing well so far this season.

“We’ve done well especially considering some of the circumstances we’ve been under,” Barrington said. “We’ve had guys suspended for a few games and each game there have been some key guys out of the lineup. With that in mind, we’ve performed pretty well. We’ve played some good teams and gotten more wins than losses so I think we’re on the right track and have had a pretty successful start.”

Despite the challenges that come with the absence of key players, openings in the lineup have given underclassmen a chance to play and contribute to the team’s success.

“Every guy has gotten an opportunity to play which is pretty great. A lot of guys have been able to show their worth and the guys have really bonded together with certain key guys out of the lineup,” Barrington said. “It’s definitely probably brought about more cohesion and team chemistry and just makes winning feel a bit better considering everything that has happened and stuff like that.”

The added playing time is also essential to the development of first years, according to Dumont.

“They’ve been thrown into a very important role right off the get go, which is good because they can get their feet wet pretty quickly,” Dumont said. “They’ve stepped up unbelievably and responded, with some growing pains, but all in all, their coachability, their work ethic and their attention to detail has been outstanding.”

In his first year as head coach, Dumont has focused on the larger legacy of the program rather than implementing major changes.

“This program has been successful for 100 years. Our big thing as coaches that we really want to make sure the guys know is that anytime you put on a jersey, you’re putting it on for people that have played before you and represented this program,” Dumont said. “Make sure you bring it, bring it with class and play hard for your teammates.”

The faceoff will be at 7 p.m. tonight at Watson Arena. All student tickets have been distributed for the game, but a limited number of returned tickets will be available at the door at 6 p.m. tonight.