In a bout of revenge, the No. 5-seeded women's hockey team defeated the fourth ranked Williams Ephs in the first round of the NESCAC Championships at Williams on Saturday. In a rematch of their season finale, the Polar Bears advanced to the semifinals for the first time since 2007 with a 3-2 victory. The Polar Bears made a spectacle of their one goal victory, overcoming a deficit with two unanswered goals in the final period.

This week's matchup, however, looks very different from the season finale as Bowdoin noticeably switched into tournament mode, outshooting the Ephs 42-22. With that margin of offensive production, Bowdoin set the pace of the game and showed a more tenacious front than in the finale in which Bowdoin was outshot 29-27.

"We knew what we had to fix from the past weekend in order to win and we knew we could do it," said sophomore Al Chlebeck. "We just had to work out the details."

"We were able to prepare for their tendencies using recent video," Coach Stacy Wilson said about playing Williams in back-to-back weekends, "as well as learn from our mistakes."

The Polar Bears' preparation paid off, as the team dominated the pace in the first period with 14 shots on goal. However, Williams goalie Sarah Plunkett kept the score even 0-0 after the first frame. Wilson credited her team's intensity from the opening face-off for creating scoring opportunities and carrying the tempo.

However, Williams was the first team to score, taking a 1-0 lead on first year Sam Weinstein's sixth goal of the year early in the first period. Five minutes later, Bowdoin responded when sophomore Alex Fahey ripped a shot off of Plunkett's pads and Bowdoin first year Kim Tess Wanat found the rebound and put it in the back of the net.

Williams regained a one-goal lead a few minutes later. Shots from Weinstein and Williams senior Tracey Ferriter, who had been instrumental in Williams win the week before, were saved by Bowdoin first year goalie Kayla Lessard, only to have the puck sneak through a mass of people off the stick of Hannah Stystrom. This, Williams' final goal, made the score 2-1 heading into the final period.

Bowdoin responded forcefully with three goals in the final period. The first came off a deflection by first year Stephanie Ludy of another Fahey slapshot off the pads of the Williams goaltender. Soon after the equalizer, Chlebeck scored with a nifty forehand to backhand maneuver that gave Bowdoin its first lead of the game, 3-2. The final goal for the Lady Polar Bears came on sophomore Shelagh Merrill's open-net goal, after the Ephs had pulled their goaltender in a desperate attempt to send the game into overtime. Instead, the Ephs saw their tournament appearance end, while Bowdoin advances to face the top-ranked Amherst Lord Jeffs in the quarterfinals.

Coach Wilson praised the team for overcoming adversity.

"The team, being down a goal going into the third," she said, "showed a great deal of poise, determination and heart and dominated play which resulted in three goals and took away most real scoring chances for Williams."

Next weekend's matchup should give the team an opportunity to win praise from more people around the league. Amherst is hosting the remainder of the tournament, and boasts the first seed due to a 19-2-4 overall record, and is coming off a 10-1 drubbing of Colby College. Additionally, Amherst overcame a two-goal deficit in their first meeting with Bowdoin to win 3-2 on February 5.

Wilson and her team have faith though.

"This group of young student athletes know that we can upset Amherst, especially after having come so close a few weeks ago," she said. "We are working together as a team better now than we were then, so we will be in a great space physically and mentally going into the game on Saturday."

Added Chlebeck, "It's the playoffs, anything can happen."