Bears split weekend with USM, Salem
Playoffs are fast approaching, but a final home stand will round out the Bowdoin men's regular ice hockey season this weekend.
They rebounded from an overtime loss at Salem State to beat the University of Southern Maine on Saturday. "We played five games in eight days, so being 4-1 with a schedule as arduous as ours is something we certainly feel good about," head coach Terry Meagher said.
Adam Dann '06 scored seven minutes into the first period against Salem State, tallying his 19th goal of the season off assists from Mike Chute '06 and Bryan Ciborowski '07.
The Vikings (7-9-1) would not answer until the second period when Josh Cartier scored on George Papachristopoulos '06 at 0:26.
Chute and Dann assisted sophomore Jon Landry on a power-play goal three minutes later, putting the Bears up 2-1. After Salem State's Jim Cashins and Ryan Ferguson found the back of the net, the second period closed with the Bears down 3-2.
"We had a very good first period, and it went a little easy for us. I think we thought it would be easy for the rest of the game," Meagher said. "But we rebounded and played a big sheet game. That was a good sign."
Just over a minute into the third frame, sophomore Andy Nelson redirected passes from Peter Nasveschuck '04 and Nate Riddell '05 for a short-handed goal and a tied score. But Cashins scored unassisted at 4:41 to put the Vikings on top once again.
The Bears stayed alive with a goal from Greg McConnell '07 at 8:07. He knocked in a pass from fellow rookie Ian Hanley, and the game went into overtime; but Salem State's Mike Dowd scored 20 seconds into the extra period. Final score: 5-4.
"It was a tough loss; we probably got a bit of what we deserved," Meagher said. "It showed that we're still a young team. Sometimes young players are looking for something-the crowd at home, leadership from the upperclassmen...."
"They did a bit of sitting back and waiting but needed to self-motivate. We've got to get that variable in place," he continued. "We're asking some relatively young players to be significant contributors," he said.
Papachristopoulos made 29 saves in the game but was injured in the third period. He is expected to return in goal this weekend.
Meagher's men rebounded the next day, this time ending up on the winning side of a 5-4 score. They beat the University of Southern Maine (5-11-1), an ECAC East opponent, on the Huskies' home turf in Portland.
"USM has beaten some good teams," Meagher said. "And big sheet hockey is hard; it's a huge rink. You have to make some adjustments, and I'm very pleased that we made some of those. We found a way to get it done."
In the second frame, Jesse Minneman '06 got the Bears on the board, beating USM junior Matt Collaton with assists by Dann and McConnell. Defenseman Bobby Cavanagh '05 scored off an assist from Dann at 8:38, and Ciborowski matched another USM goal at 10:34 on a power play.
The Bears went into the third period tied with the Huskies, 3-3. Landry grabbed the lead for Bowdoin with a long shot that sailed past Collaton at 7:32, and first year Nick Dunn's game-winner came seven minutes later.
"Nick had a huge play; he scored a big goal," Meagher said. "This time of year, it's all about timely saves and timely goals. If we look at big goals scored this season, Nick's is one of them."
Sandals played in Papachristopoulos's place on Saturday and stopped 15 shots. "He made a couple of key saves, and the bottom line is that he got the win," Meagher said.
The Polar Bears are 15-6-0 [11-5-0 NESCAC] after the weekend.
According to Meagher, several players have turned in standout performances recently. "Shannon McNevan ['05] is putting it all together and doing a good job," he said. "He's kind of that bridge between some of the number one power-play guys, bringing the other young kids along. He's been very, very important."
"The player who has been playing consistently well is Bobby Cavanagh," Meagher added. "He scored a huge goal for us on Saturday and has really been bringing his A-game."
On defense, Meagher said Riddell and Nasveschuck have been key contributors. "Nathan's a rock," he said. "He's a premier player. And Pete is turning his game up and really playing very well."
Hamilton and Amherst visit Dayton this weekend. The two matchups are the Bears' last of the regular season.
"They're two tough opponents," Meagher said. "Hamilton is fighting for a home ice bid, and Amherst is a good team.
"We want to be playing tough teams right now going into the playoffs," he continued. "There is a lot at stake in the games. We're looking at 2 to 6; that's how far you can drop. There are five team competing for three spots, and our league is very deep."
Bowdoin's Shannon McNevan '05 takes to the ice at forward. McNevan and the rest of the men's hockey team defeated USM 5-4 but fell to Salem State in overtime with the same score.
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