Bears topple Norwich, Colby
The men's hockey team has kept its fans happy this week. Whether it was dumping Division III's number one team or a much-despised CBB rival, home crowds have enjoyed the three most recent games in Dayton Arena.
"We've played a lot of hockey this week," head coach Terry Meagher said.
That may be something of an understatement. The Polar Bears came up big in games against St. Michaels, Norwich, and Colby since last writing, and are pushing forward into the final stretch of the season.
"I think it proves we're coming together as a team," junior Nate Riddell said. "We're proving ourselves against some better teams and I think we have shot at anyone."
Adam Dann '06, Shannon McNevan '05, and Ged Wieschhoff '06 had hat tricks in Friday's emotional 11-0 win over St. Mike's.
"Normally we have to keep our emotions outside the glass, and this was one of those exceptions," Meagher said. "I thought we played some of the best hockey we've played all year, and I think a lot of that had to do with the significance of the game."
The Meddiebempsters performed "A Whiter Shade of Pale" during a dedication ceremony honoring the mothers of Dann and sophomore Ben Yormak, both of whom recently passed away.
"The Meddiebempsters have been a very significant part of a long tradition in Dayton Arena," Meagher said. "Their rendition of Adam's mother's favorite song was a very touching moment. I've never been as proud to be a part of the Bowdoin community."
"We are all really lucky to know Adam and to have him here," senior captain Mike Healey said. "He's been incredible through everything, and he's taught us so much."
Dann started things up for the Bears when he scored off an assist from Riddell just 30 seconds into the first period. Goals from Wieschhoff and McNevan, as well as another from Dann, would bring the score to 4-0 at the end of the frame.
"They beat us last year and put a sour note on our season, so I guess in a way we owed them," Riddell said.
McNevan, Dann, and Wieschhoff continued their assault on St. Mike's Andy Joy in the second period. Matt Roy '06 added a goal of his own at 17:55 for a comfortable 9-0 lead.
The third frame was a bit quieter. Ian Hanley '07 scored unassisted early on and Wieschhoff finished his hat trick at 7:40 off an assist from Stevens. Senior captain Mike Healey made 18 saves to keep St. Mike's scoreless.
Norwich visited Dayton next for an afternoon game last Saturday. According to Riddell, the men were mentally prepared. "We've been looking forward to playing them all season, so we didn't have to worry too much about being ready to go," Riddell said.
Sure enough, the Bears earned an upset victory over the top-ranked Cadets. "We came in with a degree of confidence," Meagher said. "They've got 11 or 12 seniors; they're an experienced team. They came at us, and we got a bit out of our rhythm, but we fought through it and stayed in the game."
The Cadets got on the board with a power play goal at 12:19. Mike Chute '06 answered for the Bears, assisted by Greg McConnell '07 and McNevan. The lead went back to Norwich just over a minute later, and at the end of the first period, Bowdoin was down 1-2.
"The challenge with quality teams is that they all capitalize on errors or plays that don't work the way you want. That's what they did a couple of times," Meagher said.
The second period was all Bowdoin. Goals from McConnell, Hanley, and Dann brought the score to 4-2. Norwich's Matt Schmidt scored in the first minute of the third period, but the Bears stayed on top after Dann's second goal of the night at 2:59. He was named NESCAC Player of the Week.
"I've seen a lot of games in Dayton Arena, and that one is in the top five," Meagher said.
George Papachristopoulus '06 was steady in net with 29 saves.
"What we like about George is that he stays up and uses his size," Meagher said. "He's a good first save goaltendender. We're pretty responsible in our zone; we don't give up a lot of second opportunities, so we need someone to make the first saves. George is doing that for us."
Norwich's loss dropped them to the #2 spot in this week's U.S. College Hockey Online Division III poll.
The Polar Bears, #12 in that poll, kept the momentum going in Tuesday's face-off with CBB rival Colby College.
True to form, Bowdoin fans turned out in large numbers. "It was great-you have to love playing Colby at home," Riddell said.
The men seemed a bit off-balance in a scoreless first period. "It was a little hard for us-they like to defend and we like to attack, so it took a while to work our way through the maze they put in the neutral zone," Meagher said.
"We were pretty lethargic in the first period, but the fans definitely helped get us going," Riddell said.
After some adjustments, the Bears found their legs. Dann, McNevan, and Andy Nelson '06 scored within a six-minute span and the score was 3-2 at the end of the second period.
"We had a little flurry, got ahead, and got into our rhythm. From there, it was almost a carbon copy of the Norwich game," Meagher said.
The Mules pulled goaltender Chris Ries in the third period, and empty-net goals from Stevens and McNevan sealed the deal. Papachristopoulus totaled 36 saves on the night.
Bobby Cavanagh '05 received Pete Schuh honors as the game's MVP.
"I think Cavanagh was one of our best defenders," Meagher said. "He did a lot of subtle but important things."
Yet there is no rest for the victors-not yet, at least. The men head to Salem State tonight and will play at the University of Southern Maine tomorrow.
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