For the first time in over a year, the men’s ice hockey team was able to play in an organized game together in a scrimmage against Colby. Although it may not have been the same as playing the Mules in a packed Watson Arena, the scrimmage offered a final chance for Bowdoin to show the progress they’ve made during this modified season. The Polar Bears don’t anticipate being able to play another school again this year.
“We kind of knew that this was going to be our last time skating together, and it was a great way to finish our six-week season,” Graham Rutledge ’22 said in a phone interview with the Orient.
Head Coach Jamie Dumont agreed that the game had had a positive effect on the team; he felt that being able to build towards a competitive game added some structure to the season.
“We had been practicing since February 22, about three to four times a week,” Dumont said in a phone interview with the Orient. “The opportunity arose where we got invited to go up and put ourselves in a friendly hockey atmosphere, and our guys were really excited about it.”
As it has for every team practicing on campus, this semester has presented its own set of challenges for the hockey team.
“I think the hardest part [of the semester] was that we had no goalies. Every time we were shooting, it was on an empty net. We did our best flipping nets over and putting different obstacles in front,” Rutledge said.
Along with not having any goalies, the team did not have a full roster for the scrimmage with Colby, with only nine players suiting up. Luckily, the two teams came up with a creative solution to mitigate the thin rosters.
“We had nine [skaters] go up with us [to Colby], [and] one was out due to injury. Colby had roughly 25,” Dumont said. “So we combined their 25 with our nine and built two teams. It was a really fun environment.”
In the end, Team Gray, Rutledge’s team, won 5-4 on a last-minute goal.
“The other team tied it with a minute and a half left. Our team took the lead again with 30 seconds left. It was a fun, intense game,” Rutledge said. “My team only had four Bowdoin players, so it was fun on the bus ride home to rub it in our teammates’ faces a little.”
Even though this season was a far cry from what any of the players wished it had been, there are still silver linings to be taken from the abbreviated practice schedule.
“[This season] was huge, and we can’t wait till next fall as guys come back to see where we’re at. It was really beneficial for our guys [physically], and I think it was very beneficial for our guys psychologically to have the opportunity to come out and skate and be with their teammates in a hockey atmosphere,” Dumont said. “I thought [the season] was a win-win in all directions.”
“Honestly it was nice to have those small numbers because we got a little bit more individual attention from coaches and were able to tailor the practices to what we needed,” Rutledge said.
While the players might already be looking toward next season, being able to end this spring with a game was much appreciated.
“I want to thank our coaches and the coaches at Colby for going out of their way to organize this [scrimmage],” Rutledge said. “It was a great way to send off our season. It was just a really good experience to be a part of, and I’m super grateful that we were able to make it happen.”