After starting the season with two difficult games, the women's ice hockey team begins NESCAC play against Colby tonight at home before traveling to Waterville tomorrow to play the Mules again.

Though it is 0-1-1, Head Coach Marissa O'Neil said the team feels prepared to face Colby (1-2-1). She said the Polar Bears will have their work cut out for them, as the Colby defensive unit is highly physical, aggressive, and is anchored by a strong goalie.

Last year, however, Bowdoin beat its rival in both of the teams' matchups.

O'Neil chose to delay the start of the season this year, hoping that extra practices and tough early games against Plattsburgh State and Holy Cross would help prepare the team for this weekend.

"They are two very talented teams, both of whom had six games under their belt before playing us," said O'Neil. "With our conference opener not being until December 2, we thought it would be best to play against high-level competition and use these games as great learning tools."

Although Bowdoin played strong for much of its season opener against Plattsburgh State, a series of defensive miscues in the final seven minutes resulted in five goals and a final score of 7-0.

"We had a terrific 53 minutes against Plattsburgh, the No. 4 team in the country, [and it was] a 1-0 game going into the third period," said O'Neil. "Our team played with urgency and composure throughout the 60 minutes, but a couple of costly mistakes resulted in a lopsided score."

Against Holy Cross, the Polar Bears quickly scored three times in the first period and were soon up 4-2 in the second, but Holy Cross scored a goal on a power play to close the deficit.

In the third period, Holy Cross had only four players on the ice due to a penalty, but was able to score a shorthanded goal to tie the game at four.

Bowdoin scored its fifth goal with 18 minutes remaining, but Holy Cross played an extra attacker to tie the game with 44 seconds left. After going into overtime, the game ended in a 5-5 draw.

Senior Kendra Sweet scored twice, while captain Shelagh Merrill '12 and juniors Stephanie Lundy and Kayte Holtz each contributed a goal. Captain Dominique Lozzi '12 and Chelsea MacNeil '15 each had two assists.

"After our tie against Holy Cross, I think we realized as a team that we need to continue to work on the little details," said Merrill.