The men's ice hockey team has secured a spot in the NESCAC playoffs.

"We've clinched a spot in the postseason," said head coach Terry Meagher. "Its not easy to do and it's a great accomplishment. We've met a team goal."

This weekend, Bowdoin will play two non-NESCAC opponents, but due to the way the NESCAC and ECAC point system works, the four points available for the Polar Bears this weekend can have an impact on playoff seeding. The Polar Bears will play at St. Anselm (10-9-2) on Friday and then at New England College (7-14-2) the following day.

"This past Friday we went from first to fifth in two hours, which tells you how competitive the league is," said Meagher. "This weekend is important to give some different looks that will hopefully get us out of the slump."

Last Friday, the Polar Bears took on the visiting Bantams. The first period was uneventful, but in the second period Trinity struck first when the puck was centered from behind the net to an unmarked Bantam, who was able to sneak it past goalie Steve Messina '14. Trinity capitalized again a minute later when an airborne puck landed in the lap of a Bantam directly in front of the net.

"When the other team scores goals it is frustrating because we are working so hard," said junior Aaron O'Callahan. "All we can do though is continue to rely on our hockey sense and hope to learn from our mistakes."

Bowdoin finally found the back of the net with five minutes left in the second period when, on a power play, first year Harry Matheson centered the puck across the crease to the back post where a waiting Jeff Fanning '11 buried it in the back of the net to make it 2-1.

The Polar Bears found the equalizer five minutes into the third period. Bowdoin gained the zone and the puck ended up with Jordan Lalor '12 at the top of the key. Lalor settled the puck and passed it to an unmarked senior captain Kyle Hardy on the lower part of the right circle. Hardy blasted the one timer from a difficult angle past the left side of the Bantam goalie.

However, Trinity scored two quick back-to-back goals towards the end of the period to put them up for good 4-2. Messina had 24 saves that night.

"When a team gets a puck luck goal, that carries over to the next shift," said Meagher. "Its about having the athletic maturity to come back and not let that affect your next play. It comes down to those who have a lot of league reps."

The next day Bowdoin, celebrating the seniors' last regular season home game and wearing their custom thirds jerseys, hosted Wesleyan.

The Polar Bears came out strong in a power play when Ollie Koo '14 centered the puck from a face-off in the Wesleyan zone to Brendan Reich '11, who blasted it from the blue line past the Wesleyan goalie. Wesleyan struck back a few minutes later after a string of penalties left Wesleyan playing the advantage during 4-3 hockey. In the second period, Wesleyan put away a rebound during 4-4 hockey to go up 2-1 and then up 3-1 when a Cardinal found a teammate open on the back post.

A few minutes later, Lalor jumped on a rebound on the back post and slid it behind the Wesleyan goalie. The Cardinals struck back almost immediately when a player skated in front of the net and flipped the puck over junior Richard Nerland's shoulder.

"The goals for us come tougher now than they did earlier in the season and we're not as good as we should be in goal prevention," said Meagher. "And without the breakdowns and not paying attention to details, they would have made the difference."

The third period opened with a Wesleyan goal to put them up 5-2. With five minutes left in the period, pressure from Bowdoin finally resulted in a loose puck in front of the Wesleyan goal that first year Colin Downey was able to put away to make it 5-3.

At the end of the period, Bowdoin pulled the goalie for the extra man, but Wesleyan was able to steal the puck and score on the empty net to end the game 6-3. Nerland had 27 saves in the loss.

"We definitely had an 'off' weekend," said Hardy. "But judging by our teams enthusiasm this week in practice, I think this past weekend served as a late season wake-up call that we truly needed."

The Polar Bears did have some good news off the ice, as Daniel Weiniger '13 and Fanning were named semi-finalists for the Joe Concannon award, which is presented annually to the best D-II/III college hockey player in New England during the New England Hockey Writers dinner in mid-april. Bowdoin has had two previous winners; Michael Carosi '02 and Adam Dann '06.

"Its quite an award in honor of a writer for the Boston Globe who loved the game and was a New England icon," said Meagher. "To have two of our players nominated is very special."

"It's a great honor to be named alongside so many other good players, obviously with Dan being one of them," said Fanning. "It speaks volumes to the depth of our team that we can have two individuals named."

The Polar Bears will focus on taking advantage of this weekend to move up in playoff position.

"This week of practice has been positive," said O'Callahan. "We made sure at the beginning of the week that we would play relaxed hockey while competing at a high level."

"The good news is we have significant hockey to play," added Meagher. "The bad news is that with our limited schedule, we don't have the time to work through it too long. Its just an old-fashion slump."

Bowdoin still has a shot to secure a NESCAC quaterfinal home game based on games played this weekend.

"Whether we win or lose this weekend, we want to remain positive and execute some of the tweaks to our system that we have been working on," said Hardy. "It does not matter who we play in the NESCAC quarterfinal game, because no matter what happens, we need to win three games to be crowned NESCAC champs."