Polar Bear hockey players and coaches recognized
While the men's hockey team has experienced success throughout the season, this week was big. After downing Amherst in the first round of playoffs last weekend, head coach Terry Meagher was named NESCAC Coach of the Year, and senior captain Michael Carosi received Player of the Year honors. Fellow captain Brian Shuman '02 and junior Sean Starke earned first and second-team honors, respectively.
"I'm very, very proud of all three players," Meagher
said. "It's a very positive reflection on the program."
Carosi led the NESCAC in scoring this year, totaling 13
goals and 33 assists in the regular season. "It's very special,"
Meagher said. "This league is deep; it's very strong, and to be named
player of the year in puts him in a very elite group."
According to Meagher, Shuman has been an important team
leader while anchoring the defense. "I'm so proud of Brian; he really
typifies everything you'd love to see in an athlete," he said. "His
leadership skills are among the best I've ever witnessed."
Meagher said that the 18 goals and 14 assists totaled by
Starke this season demonstrate his strong position in the league. "Sean
is developing into one of the top power forwards in a conference that
is very talented," Meagher said. "He's going to be one of our
key leaders in the program."
The players weren't the only honorees on Tuesday. Meagher's
17-3-3 NESCAC season included his 300th career win milestone on December
2. As usual, he was modest about the Coach of the Year honor.
"I hope people are saying that this is a group of kids
working hard towards a common goal," he said. "It reflects on
the kids and the College."
His players gave his coaching a bit more credit. "His
ability to keep our team focused and well prepared throughout the year
has been crucial to our success," Shuman said. "Not only do
his players respect him as a coach, but also as a person who best represents
the integrity, commitment, and excellence of Bowdoin athletics. All the
guys are very proud of him."
Fellow honoree Carosi agreed. "[It] was well earned
and well-deserved," he said. "He played a critical role in many
of our closest games this year...he typifies Bowdoin hockey through his
knowledge and work ethic, along with his loyalty to the team and his players.
"Coach has pushed this team day in and day out, and
the results reflect his determination to make every player on the team
excel to his greatest potential," Starke said. "His efforts
have enabled Bowdoin hockey to reach national status as one of the best
teams in the country."
Before they could bask in the glow of the NESCAC awards,
the men had to fight through their second match with Amherst in two weeks.
This time around, however, the score wasn't as lopsided as the previous
week's 8-2 outcome, and the game dynamic was much different.
"It was everything I thought it would be; I thought
the key would be their goaltending, and their goalie did make some key
saves in first period," Meagher said.
Senior Bill Busch got the first Bowdoin goal on the board
at 4:25, but the Bears wouldn't beat Amherst goaltender Justin Jagher
again until the first minutes of the third frame.
Meanwhile, the Jeffs' Beau Kretzman found the back of the
net at 10:05 in the second period. "They rallied, and got some energy
off that goaltending" at that point, Meagher said. "[The Jeffs]
play a system that we don't see very often, it's very defensive...we failed
to execute a couple times, and had some breakdowns in coverage."
Thank goodness for Mike Healey, the sophomore netminder
who has mitigated some strong offensive teams this season. "I still
think it comes down to goaltending; Mike made some great saves."
He stopped 24 shots, and the Bears came away with the 3-2
victory. "All season long, we've found ways to win," Carosi
said. "Last weekend was a perfect example."
"The Amherst game gave our team a taste of what playoff
hockey is all about," Shuman said. "Regular season records and
past games mean absolutely nothing. You're forced to play with a sense
of desperation and intensity or else you'll be on the outside looking
The Bears were ranked seventh in Monday's USCHO Division
III men's poll. "The win has kept us in the national tournament picture,
and allowed us to continue to fight for the NESCAC championship-our ultimate
goal throughout the season," Shuman added.
Meagher said that Trinity (13-5-1) will surely bring a tough
game tomorrow. "We had a great game with them down there [on January
25]," he said. "We have to make sure we play a game that's patient;
almost like it's the tenth game in the season-we have to be relaxed."
It promises to be a big ice game, as the ice sheet at Middlebury
is larger than Bowdoin's. "We're going to try to use our team quickness
and take advantage in our neutral zone play," Meagher said. "We
have to make sure we play a game that's patient; we almost have to approach
it like it's the tenth game in the season-we have to be relaxed."
If they win tomorrow at 4:00p.m., the Bears will play the
winner of the Colby/Middlebury semifinal in the NESCAC championship on
"We're a tough team to beat when every player is giving
his 100 percent," Starke said.
Shuman concurred. "We are a blue-collar team that wins
by outworking our opponents," he said. "We know we're fighting
for a NESCAC championship, and we intend to bring the trophy home this
This week ends with the words of Coach Meagher, who spoke with both caution and enthusiasm, as always. "This is what hockey is all about," he said. "We're just going over there to do our best."
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