Bears lose steam, fall 4-1 to Colby
Well, sports fans, this week's 4-1 loss to Colby is a tough
one to recap, because it was one that got away in aggravating fashion.
Head coach Terry Meagher made that quite clear in his remarks after the
game: "We wanted to play the game to a high standard, and to lose
it in front of the people who support us was very frustrating," he
"We came at them hard from the first drop of the puck
and scored within the first couple of minutes; that's something you always
want to do," senior Dave Rush said. "It got the fans all fired
up-they were awesome, as always, throughout the game."
The lively Polar Bear crowd was indeed raring to go, fueled
in the first period when first year Shannon McNevan scored at 1:42. "I
thought that we played great in the first ten minutes," Meagher said.
"We had our team, the team that's been there for most of the year."
Senior Mike Carosi agreed. "I thought we came out very
strong," he said.
"We took some penalties that changed the momentum of
the game (in Colby's favor)," Carosi said. "We were forced to
kill too many."
"We were able to hold them scoreless in the first period,
even through their considerable amount of power play time," Rush
said. "As it went on, we took a number of penalties and the momentum
shifted. It gave [the Mules] confidence and they built on it."
Meagher said that with a lot of starters on the bench, it
was difficult for the Bears (16-2-3, 13-1-3 NESCAC) to mount much opposition.
"We couldn't get any rhythm; any flow; and that carried over when
we had a power play opportunity," he said. "They were playing
their most skilled players, and that made it even more difficult."
As they entered the second period, Rush said the men were
looking to play even-strength hockey and stay out of the penalty box.
"We played them straight up for the remainder of the second,"
The approach didn't hold for the men into the final period,
however. Colby's James LaLiberty broke the tie at 1:41 on a breakaway,
and was followed by Evan Kearns, who netted another White Mule goal six
minutes later. "Colby got a couple of bounces and was able to find
the back of the net twice," Rush said.
The Bears seemed to lose defensive steam as the night wore
on. "We have not done a good job in our down-low defensive zone in
both our home games this year," Meagher said.
More important, according to him, is the work needed on
team order. "Our lack of discipline and taking extra penalties are
not a good reflection of the school," he said. "Having it occur
at this point in the year is frustrating. We cannot be an undisciplined
Meagher said that upperclassmen are playing an important
role in the process. "The senior class is so focused and has such
a high standard in conducting itself," he said. 'They've taken a
very strong lead in this."
The men split last weekend, earning a 7-3 win at the University
of Southern Maine on February 8 and taking the season's only loss thus
far at Salem State. According to Meagher, some of the problems that plagued
the Bears against Colby (13-5-3, 10-5-3) were evident in those games,
too. "I think some of the same issues occurred on Friday-the lack
of discipline, but we got through it," he said. "It's been creeping
in for the last couple of games."
He added that the work of Salem goaltender Kaleb Christensen,
who stopped 42 shots that night, factored largely in the Bears' first
loss. "He was outstanding; it was one of the best performances I've
seen against us this," he said.
The Bears, second in NESCAC standings to Middlebury (21-1-1,
17-0-1) are gearing up for a busy weekend and are putting the week's disappointments
behind them. Meagher said that the men were "focusing on where we
are as a team this week," and would be taking it one game at a time.
The first such matchup is tonight, at home against Amherst
(6-11-5, 6-74). The third-place Ephs from Williams visit tomorrow at 4:00
p.m. for the last game of the regular season.
Rush said that the weekend is a chance for the Bears to
redeem themselves. "We have to get things rolling for the playoffs,"
he said. "We're going into it with our heads up and are looking to
it as a fresh start."
Carosi echoed his teammate's sentiments. "This weekend,
we'll be looking to stay disciplined, stay out of the penalty box, and
outwork our opponents," he said.
The Bears have earned home-ice advantage for next weekend's first-round playoff game against an undetermined opponent. They face off with the Jeffs at 7:00 p.m. tonight.