After ending the last two seasons with losses to Middlebury in the semifinals of the NESCAC tournament last year, the women’s ice hockey team (0-4, 0-2 NESCAC) is set its sights on the NESCAC championship this season. The team has had a disappointing start, suffering two back-to-back losses to Colby (2-0, 2-0 NESCAC) and another two at the Codfish Bowl against Manhattanville and UMass Boston. But the Polar Bears are known as “grinders,” according to senior Maegan Sheehan, so a tough start to the season will not change their goals.
“It has been a bit of a challenge and struggle early on in the season,” said Sheehan. “[But] we are playing pretty well and building off of each game, so we’ve been making progress. That’s always a good sign. [We’re] just trying to put the puck in the net.”
Tonight, the Polar Bears hope to break their four-game losing streak in a matchup against Endicott College (3-2-2). According to captain Marissa Fichter ’19, the team faced similar obstacles last season, but was able to “open the floodgates” with just one win. “It’s a wave to [the] championships,” said Fichter.
The team has tried to maintain a positive mentality, to look at the benefits of each game. With a heavy base of first-year players—25 percent of the team is playing in their first collegiate games—there is a predictable learning curve. Fichter said that as a “freshman, you’re a bundle of nerves,” and the players need to gain confidence in themselves and their team.
It is often a hard transition for first years to come from being the best players on their high school teams to being a role-player at Bowdoin. This can make new players doubt themselves and their abilities, according to Sheehan and Fichter. With the help of the upperclassmen to guide them, though, they can fulfill the potential that the scouts saw in their high school games.
The seniors have an unspoken role, but one that is taken seriously. While ensuring everyone does what they are supposed to do is the captains’ job, making sure everyone is maturing falls to the seniors who must set a precedent of strong work ethics and discipline.
“Hard work and heart are two things we really care about,” said Sheehan.
With regular practices and team bonding, the Polar Bears’ immediate goal is to improve from the 2-0 loss against UMass Boston (4-5-1). Three disallowed goals (instances in which the referee did not see the puck cross the line) kept the team from victory. In professional hockey, there are cameras which allow the referees to rewatch the potential goal, but collegiate hockey is not yet that tech-savvy.
What the team learned from that game was to be clear and clean while playing, leaving little room for referees to question future goals. The Polar Bears will hit the ice against Endicott tonight at 7 p.m. in Watson Arena.