The women’s hockey team (10-9-5, 6-7-3 NESCAC) slid into fifth place in the NESCAC last weekend after splitting games against Amherst (16-4-4, 10-3-3 NESCAC) and will to travel to Connecticut College (12-9-3 overall, 7-7-2 NESCAC) for the NESCAC quarterfinal tomorrow at 7 p.m. 

The team looked strong at the outset on Saturday, leading the game 2-0 early in the second period. But after three straight second period goals and a fourth in the third by Amherst, the Polar Bears found themselves in a hole they could not climb out of and ultimately fell 4-3.

“The third period, it was just a grind,” said Head Coach Marissa O’Neil. “We made a serious attempt to push in the last two and a half minutes to put one in and just fell short.”
On Sunday, Amherst’s Senior Day, Bowdoin returned to the ice with a renewed focus and came away with a 3-2 victory. First year Miranda Bell led the attack with two goals and one assist, while goalie Lan Crofton ’17 was a brick wall in net, tallying 39 saves on the night.

“[Crofton] definitely stood on her head [on Sunday]. She saved about 40 shots,” said O’Neil.
In an email to the Orient, captain olleen Finnerty ’15 wrote that Crofton and Bell’s crucial plays built the team’s momentum.

“[Crofton’s] incredible saves in the net definitely gave us momentum and kept us in the game,” wrote Finnerty. “As for Bell, she has a knack for the net. Her ability to finish plays in clutch moments of the game has been very important for our team this season.”

Sunday’s game was a nail-biter, coming down to the final minute of play.

“There was a faceoff in our offensive zone with 30 seconds left, and they had pulled their goalie already, so it was a six on five from their zone,” said O’Neil. “They came down and one of the best players in the league got by our defense and had a breakaway chance at 20 seconds. That’s when Lan, making that save, was the exclamation point on the weekend.”  

O’Neil said that a positive attitude is crucial for success in the NESCAC tournament.

“We’re the underdog going into the playoffs, [but] we have wins now against the second, third, and fourth seeded teams, so in that way, we’re going into it with the right mindset, so I’m really happy about that,” said O’Neil.

The Polar Bears split their two games during the regular season. O’Neil said that her players will need to play with heart to pull out a win.

“It’s definitely a matter of who’ll show up. And it may take more than 60 minutes to figure out. It’s going to take our entire team.,” said O’Neil.

O’Neil is confident that if the team comes into the weekend playing to it potential, it will be a tough team to beat.

“This will be the first time we’ll be on the road for our quarterfinal matchup. Seed placement really doesn’t make a difference—that’s the best part about NESCAC hockey,” she said.

Finnerty also touched on the nature of play-off hockey.

“The most important thing for our teamto remember right now is that our seeding in the tournament is not indicative of our capabilities, just as our record this season is not indicative of our talent and potential,” wrote Finnerty.

 Eager to see what her team can do, Finnerty expressed confidence in her teammates’ ability to put up a fight under pressure.
“In the past couple of years, we have made good runs in the NESCAC tournament, so I don’t think that this year will be any different. Our team has a tendency to rise to the occasion and play great when a lot is on the line,” she wrote.

Finnerty listed a string of clutch performances from this season, including scrappy play against first seeded Middlebury and a four-goal surge against Trinity to overcome a 3-2 deficit.

“With the threat of the end of the season, I don’t foresee us coming home from New London this weekend with anything but a win,” said Finnerty.