The Bowdoin women’s ice hockey team (12-7-3, 7-5-2 NESCAC) beat Connecticut College (13-7-2, 9-5-0 NESCAC) 2-1 in a close league matchup on Saturday, handing the Camels their 5th loss of the regular season and causing them to drop from first to third place in the league. The Polar Bears are preparing to face Trinity (8-12-2, 7-6-1 NESCAC) today and Saturday in its last two regular season games.

Although the team had already beaten Conn this season during the Frozen Fenway matchup in January, captain Madeline Hall ’17 said that against such a competitive opponent, the players had to put the win out of their minds and focus on the game at hand.

“We really wanted to separate our last win against them at Fenway and our game on Saturday,” she said. “We had to make sure that we knew that Conn would be a very different team than the one that we faced at Fenway. I don’t think we saw Conn’s best game there. They were very much out for revenge [this weekend].”

The two teams were tied at the end of the second period, but Bowdoin took advantage of a five-on-three power play to pull ahead of Conn and win the game in the final minutes.

“We gave ourselves the lead with three [minutes] to go and then did an incredible job of staying composed, keeping the puck down their end and trying to limit their opportunity to take our goalie out,” Head Coach Marissa O’Neil said. “We tried to have a really good style of play, patience and discipline. We struggled with that the previous weekend against Hamilton and a week later, I guess everyone figured it out.”

According to O’Neil, the main factor in the team’s success this season and ability to perform well in key matchups is the team culture.

“We’ve won, we’ve lost, we’ve tied, but we’ve done it as a team, and that’s all you can hope for,” she said. “If you have that foundation you can rely on no matter what, it’s easier to bounce back as a team than a group of individuals. In a game, period-to-period or weekend-to-weekend, they are able to be resilient because they know they have the support of their teammates.”

Looking ahead to Trinity, Hall believes that the team cannot afford to underestimate the Bantams because of their sixth-place standing.

“Trinity has been one of the teams that have been on the bottom of the pack this season,” she said. “They had a tough first semester playing Middlebury and Amherst back to back but they’ve definitely come back up the rankings as the weeks go on. So we definitely can’t take them lightly, but at the same time, we know we can beat them twice if we’re playing our game.”

Last week, Trinity’s goalie Sydney Belinskas ’18 was named NESCAC co-player of the week. However, O’Neil believes that the team can take measures against her in order to win.

“One, being deceptive in your shot taking, put pucks on nets and get rebounds,” she said. “You may not score on the first shots, but the second and third chance opportunities are the ones we need to capitalize on. Two, puck possession in their zone. If you don’t have the puck in their zone, then it is tough to score goals.”

Although Bowdoin has clinched a NESCAC quarterfinal berth, the games against Trinity will determine its final standing.

“Right now, we’re sitting tied in fourth, but we could end up as high as 2nd and as low as 7th,” O’Neil said. “You can’t go out there afraid to fail. We’re not worried about how low we could drop, but instead we’re thinking ‘Alright, we’re in fourth right now, but we could go to second.’”

If the team maintains or improves upon its fourth-place ranking this weekend, its quarterfinal game will be at home.

“Our players already know, just given the parity in the league, how tight it is. It’s not just going to come down to the last weekend, but the last game to determine [whether we play at Watson],” O’Neil said. “We can win games on the road, we can lose games at home, but it would be nice to earn the right to host a game.”

Hall agrees that the prospects of hosting add pressure to the team’s last two games. However, the players are using the higher stakes as a source of motivation.

“We want to win every weekend obviously, but this just has more on the line,” she said. “Having one more home game, especially for the seniors, would be amazing so that definitely just adds more emotion to it.”

The women’s hockey team will travel to Trinity for its final series today at 7:30 p.m. and tomorrow at 4 p.m.