Senior George Papachristopoulos has played brilliantly for the Polar Bears this season as the starting goalie for the men's ice hockey team. The Quebec native has guided his team to an impressive 15 wins during the regular season and a crucial win over conference-foe Amherst in the NESCAC quarterfinal on Saturday at Dayton Arena.

At first glance, Papachristopoulos, who stands at a sturdy 6'4" and 225 pounds, looks as though he might be better suited to the football field as a lineman. But like many of his fellow Canadians, he picked up hockey at an early age, and out of sheer love for the game, has continued to compete and succeed in the sport.

"I started skating when I was three or four," he said. "But I started playing hockey when I was six or seven."

After attending local schools in Canada and playing on the town team?his school did not have a team?Papachristopoulos went to Brewster Academy in New Hampshire for two years, where he excelled in hockey and also lettered in soccer.

He came to Bowdoin for "a good combination of hockey and academics." Although Papachristopoulos saw little time on the ice as a first year, head coach Terry Meagher remembers his confidence on the ice.

"He wanted to be everything. Goaltender, defenseman, coach, zamboni driver," Meagher said.

In just three years, Papachristopoulos has blossomed into a strong player at the top of the NESCAC. He has been a constant presence between the pipes for the past two and a half years and continues to break records and garner awards. This season, he has smashed several records, including most consecutive shut-out minutes'180:58?during a hot stretch in February. He also holds the record for most shutouts in a single season, leading Bowdoin to five shut-out victories.

"The previous record [157:21] for most shut-out minutes was posted during my first year as coach here [23 years ago]. I remember thinking, 'Wow that's gonna be a tough one to beat,'" Meagher noted.

Although the shut-out minutes statistic is a remarkable feat by itself, the timing of Papachristopoulos's streak was significant for the Bears.

"We were going through sort of a slump in January," Papachristopou-los remembered. "But because of good leadership, we were able to pull out of it in February and have been on a roll since."

The Polar Bears are clicking. They are unbeaten in their last four games with Trinity delivering Bowdoin's only defeat in Feburary. The Bears fell to the Bantams 4-2 in Hartford.

The Polar Bears will look to avenge their earlier loss to Trinity tonight in a NESCAC semifinal matchup at Middlebury. Papachristopoulos is confident the outcome will be different.

"Trinity plays on a very small rink, and the one up at Middlebury is Olympic-sized. So the dynamic of the game will be a lot different," he said.

The neutrality of the crowd will also be to Bowdoin's benefit.

"The crowd will be people who just want to see some good hockey," the goalie noted.

Off the rink, Papachristopoulos is a strong student and an active member of the community. While he is considering playing hockey at a professional level after graduation, the trilingual chemistry major may pursue a job in the pharmaceutical industry. Whatever his decision, Papachristopoulos will certainly have left his mark on the Bowdoin campus.