The men's lacrosse team has caught fire and now sits just two wins away from clinching the NESCAC title as it prepares for a rematch with the NESCAC regular season champions, Tufts, on Saturday.

"We always believed we could play and beat the best teams in the conference," said junior attack Keegan Mehlhorn '12. "We're playing well for 60 minutes, offense, defense and faceoffs, and it's paying off."

After starting the season a pedestrian 3-6, the Polar Bears are in the midst of a five-game winning streak that has seen them rise from the bottom of the NESCAC standings to the conference tournament's final four.

On senior night last Friday, the men's lacrosse team played an inspired game against the NESCAC-best Jumbos of Tufts to the delight of an especially lively crowd under the lights at the Ryan Field.

Bowdoin, sparked by a stellar 19 of 28 faceoff effort from junior Brendan Hughes, started fast and never looked back.

Mehlhorn opened the scoring less than two minutes into the game, and senior captain Kit Smith added a second just seven seconds later.

Tufts managed to tie the game at two goals before Bowdoin's patient and balanced passing attack helped the home team to a 6-1 run with goals from six different Polar Bears.

Tufts, searching for its eleventh-straight NESCAC victory, battled back, drawing within a single goal at the start of the third quarter. But the Polar Bears refused to back down to the Jumbo's offensive charge.

"We knew if we executed on offense and kept up the defensive pressure we would be able to maintain control of the game," said Hughes.

After four unanswered goals, including two just before the end of the third quarter, Bowdoin had increased its lead to five.

A stellar performance in goal from senior Jake McCampbell, who finished with 14 saves, ensured Bowdoin's senior class would celebrate its final home game with a 15-9 victory.

In the opening round of the NESCAC playoffs, Bowdoin traveled to take on another NESCAC powerhouse, Amherst.

Riding high on a 13-game win streak, the Lord Jeffs entered the NESCAC tournament as a strong favorite to take home the title. Instead, Bowdoin continued its remarkable run with an upset victory over second-seeded Amherst.

Amherst took an early 2-0 lead and appeared to be in control, but goals from Billy Bergner '13 and Smith brought the game back to even.

The teams would remain in a close battle for much of the first half, as the Polar Bears clung to a 7-6 lead at the game's intermission.

After falling behind 8-7 early in the third quarter, the Polar Bears capitalized on a man-up opportunity with a goal from attackman Nate Fritts '12 to tie the game.

The tally would be the first of a decisive seven-goal run that saw Bowdoin climb to a 14-8 lead with just over five minutes remaining in regulation.

With the win, the Polar Bears improve to 8-6 for the season, while Amherst falls to 13-2.

Bowdoin travels to Medford to take on Tufts Saturday at 12 p.m. for the right to play in the NESCAC championship game.

"They're a very good team and I'm sure we're going to get their best shot." Hughes said. "We have to maintain focus and take our game to another level."