The men's ice hockey team has spent the past week preparing to suit up against rival Colby twice this weekend. The team will travel to Waterville to face the Mules today before returning to Bowdoin for the second big tilt of the weekend at home on Saturday.

The Bears plan to extend their winning streak after closing out a successful weekend at home. Last Saturday's face-off with Castleton provided a chance for the team to flex its offensive muscle in a decisive 7-1 victory.

Strong play throughout the game and an explosive third period boosted the team to its fifth consecutive win of the season. With Richard Nerland '12 between the pipes, the Bowdoin defense collectively shut down the Spartans and provided the opportunity for the offense to operate successfully.

Dan Weiniger '13 sparked the fire, lighting up the Castleton goaltender with three goals to collect his first career hat trick in only his fifth game as a Polar Bear. First-period goals were scored by Weiniger and Graham Sisson '12, while Kyle Shearer-Hardy '11 and Weiniger contributed in the second. Weiniger closed out his hat trick early in the third, while Brendan Reich '11 and Brian Fry '10 both contributed goals late in the game to solidify the win. Nerland allowed only one goal on twenty-one shots.

The Castleton victory came following a more even matchup with Skidmore Friday night in which the Bears edged out the Thoroughbreds with a score of 1-0. The Bowdoin squad was again boosted by solid goaltending, with Nerland stopping 28 shots to complete Bowdoin's first shutout since February of 2008.

The game-winning goal came midway through the first period on a wrist shot from Shearer-Hardy, set up on a pass from first year Robert Toczylowki. Nerland's performance however, made the difference, said Aaron O'Callahan '12.

"He faced a lot of shots and made a lot of great saves," he said. "That makes a huge difference."

The team is looking for a big show of support at home this Saturday, promoting a whiteout. All attending fans are asked to wear white shirts in support of the Bears, to create the effect of a whiteout in the stands.

Can't make the game? Bowdoin's got you covered; a live Webcast of the game will be available at Live Stats.

These games are important in that they allow the team to leave its mark on the league before winter break.

"This weekend is important, our last weekend of hockey before break," O'Callahan said. "We want these wins."

Though the Colby game is very important, the team is approaching this weekend as if it were any other conference match. O'Callahan noted that despite special preparation for the Mules, the Bears "like to work on our own game and let other teams worry about us."

"We're just going to stick to our game," Weiniger said. "It's worked for us for the first part of the season, so we're going to focus on a few things that they do, and just play our game."