The cold, winter weather is upon us, which means Bowdoin hockey is back. The men’s hockey team claimed an impressive 6-4 opening day victory over Middlebury on Friday, but failed to sweep the weekend, falling 5-1 to Williams the next day.
The Polar Bears are coming off a very disappointing 6-16-2 season last winter, their worst performance since 1963. This season, the team aims to bounce back, and there is optimism among the coaches and players that the Polar Bears can put last season’s woes behind them.
Head Coach Jamie Dumont was impressed with the team’s performance last Friday, citing that game as a source for his positive outlook on the start to the season.
“Friday night we played a really good road game,” said Dumont. “[It was] both teams’ first game out of the gate. So it’s going to be a little bit of an up and down [and] kind of a sloppy game, and I thought we managed our[selves] really well.”
Unfortunately, Saturday’s loss told a different story.
“I thought we worked hard [on Saturday], we just didn’t work as smartly as we needed to against a really good, seasoned team [like] Williams,” said Dumont.
While the result wasn’t ideal, the team has a better sense of what needs to be addressed in order to get in the win column.
“The big thing for us is to make sure we contain [our] emotion and keep our game within ourselves,” said Dumont. “There’s some things special-teams wise we will continue to work on … but everything we saw is definitely correctable.”
“Three or four guys left the ice injured so we kind of got bit by the injury bug a little bit,” added captain Pat Geary ’20. “We ended up getting stuck in the box for a five-minute penalty [too], and that really cost us.”
After graduating nine seniors last winter, this season is an opportunity to evolve and break out of last year’s slump.
“We brought in a really strong freshman class of guys who are awesome on and off the ice. So that just adds … some pieces we may have been missing to the puzzle. So that’s exciting,” said Geary.
However, despite personnel changes, the spirit and mentality of the team hasn’t faltered.
“We changed a little bit of structure, and some of our game plan and so on,” said Dumont. “But there’s not a lot of different personalities. You know, it’s the same core guys … the guys are fun to work with every day and [are] really committed to getting this thing going.”
The team aims to fuel their efforts using last season’s shortcomings as motivation.
“We play [in] a good league,” said Dumont. “But we want to be right up there [in the standings] year in and year out. For us, it’s all about focusing on the future and learning from the past.”
The team has another chance to prove itself on Saturday when it heads north to Waterville to take on Colby at 7 p.m. in a critical early-season rivalry game.