Away from home this weekend, the men's hockey team will look to maintain its level of play against Skidmore and Castleton State.

"Castleton and Skidmore are established ECAC East teams. [They are] well coached with many players with extensive league experience," said head coach Terry Meagher. "Castleton is nationally ranked and Skidmore just beat a couple of strong teams."

The Polar Bears (3-0-0) will take on the Thoroughbreds of Skidmore (2-3-0) on Friday night to start their road trip.

"This weekend's road trip will be a good test for us," said captain Kit Smith '11. "It will be important for us to get off the bus mentally prepared and hit the ice with a high intensity level. We will need every player on the team to show up with their A game."

The Spartans of Castleton (4-0-0) are ranked No. 14 in the nation and, depending on Friday night's results, could be fighting the fourth-ranked Polar Bears to be the only team to leave the ice undefeated on Saturday afternoon.

"Castleton State is still unbeaten and Skidmore is coming off of a big win over Elmira," said captain Kyle Shearer-Hardy '11. "But as long as we stick to the system and capitalize on our opportunities, we should be fine against any team in Division III."

The Polar Bears enter the weekend coming off a victory over the Suffolk Rams played at Colby's arena.

"The team played with high energy and focus on Sunday," said Meagher. "We played a well-coached team with a very good goaltender. It was a good hockey game. It was a challenge going from the bigger ice surface at the Sidney Watson Arena to a smaller one Sunday. It was our first playing experience on a different sheet."

The Polar Bears were down early 2-0 to the Rams but a late first-period goal by Jeff Fanning '11 cut down the lead. First year Colin Downey tied the game at two apiece early in the second period with his first collegiate goal. Bowdoin went up for good after Nick Wetzel, another first year, wristed one from the blue line that snuck in for his first collegiate goal.

"Playing in Colby's rink is always tough, since its dimensions are so much smaller than ours," said Shearer-Hardy. "But we picked things up in the second half of the game with some big goals by Colin Downey and Nick Wetzel."

The Polar Bears dominated the rest of the third period with both Fanning and Downey picking up their second goals. Jordan Lalor '12 capped the effort with his own goal with 1:29 left in the game. Richard Nerland '12 had 31 saves in the 6-2 win.

"It took some time to adjust to playing in a smaller rink than ours," said Smith. "But once we found our rhythm and connectivity on the ice, we started to see some high-quality scoring chances and we were able to capitalize on those in the third. Hats off to Suffolk for their tenacity. They came to play."

The Polar Bears also tested their skills this past weekend in an exhibition game against the USA Under-18 National Team as part of the Bowdoin-Colby Faceoff Classic. Team USA struck first in the second period when J.T. Miller scored on a 2-on-1 pass from Tyler Biggs.

Biggs also added another goal before the end of the second period. Team USA opened and closed the scoring in the third period with two goals from Rocco Grimaldi, but Shearer-Hardy was able to score for the Polar Bears off a give-and-go from Ollie Koo '14. Steve Messina '14 made 33 saves in the 4-1 loss.

"We are pleased with the progress of the team," said Meagher. "We are introducing people to our playing structure. They are at times out of rhythm but they are matching the skill level required of our system. The leadership and mentoring offered by our experienced players has been wonderful. It is important to have that cornerstone in place early."

The Polar Bears will have to keep up this level of play to emerge from the weekend victorious.

"If you want to do well in this conference," said Meagher, "you have to get off the bus after a long ride and perform."