The women's hockey team will return home to Watson Arena after a long road trip for a pair of key conference match-ups this weekend. Although the Polar Bears opened the season with a three-game winning streak, they lost to first-place Middlebury 5-2 last Sunday.

The team will look to rebound from its first loss of the year when it hosts NESCAC rivals Hamilton College and Connecticut College this weekend. While Hamilton sits in the bottom third of the conference at 1-4-0 (1-3-0 NESCAC), the Polar Bears will have to be careful not to overlook the Continentals.

After Saturday's mid-afternoon game against Hamilton, the Polar Bears will have a short turnaround and face off against Connecticut College on Sunday. The Camels are 2-2-0 and are only a half game behind the Polar Bears in the conference standings heading into this weekend of conference play.

The Polar Bears had their hands full at Middlebury last Sunday. Middlebury opened the scoring with a power play goal at the 13:04 mark of the first period. However, junior Shelagh Merrill knotted the score up at one heading into the first intermission. Although tied at the end of the first period 1-1, Middlebury held a 15-6 shots on goal advantage. This trend would continue throughout each period, as Middlebury totaled 51 shots on goal to Bowdoin's 19 for the game.

Goaltender Sage Santangelo '12 did all she could to control the Middlebury offense by securing 46 saves, but Middlebury's 11 power-play chances proved to be too much for the Polar Bears. Middlebury scored three more times in the second period to widen its lead to 4-2. Junior Kendra Sweet was credited with Bowdoin's second goal with 2:14 left in the second period. The Panthers then added an empty net goal with 13 seconds remaining in the game to seal the deal, defeating the Polar Bears 5-2.

The previous night at Williams had a different outcome for the Polar Bears. After a scoreless first period, Williams jumped on the board at the 11:29 mark of the second period to take a 1- 0 lead. However, junior Dominique Lozzi secured a power-play goal less than three minutes later to tie the game up at 1-1.

As sophomore Tara Connolly stood strong in net with 29 saves, the Polar Bears added two more goals from sophomores Stephanie Ludy and Kayte Holtz. Holtz's insurance goal off a Lozzi assist turned out to be an important one, as Williams scored with 1:46 remaining in the game but were unable to find the equalizer, giving Bowdoin a 3-2 victory.

"From both games, we were able to take away things that we needed to work on and have been focusing on these areas this week during practice," Lozzi said.

The Polar Bears currently sit alone in fourth place at 3-1-0 (2-1-0 NESCAC). With a strong showing this weekend, the Polar Bears may find themselves near the top of the very competitive NESCAC.

"We are all very excited for our next two conference games," Lozzi said. "We know that if we play the full 60 minutes, we will have a very successful weekend."