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Men’s hockey heads into final weekend of regular season

February 17, 2023

Courtesy of Brian Beard
TAKING THE LEAD: The men’s hockey team celebrates a goal against Wesleyan on Friday. The Polar Bears play their final two games of the regular season this weekend against Tufts University and Connecticut College.

Last weekend, the men’s hockey team (11–8–3; 5–8–3 NESCAC) tied with No. 3 Wesleyan University (13–6–3; 9–4–3 NESCAC) and lost to No. 1 Trinity College (16–5–1; 13–2–1 NESCAC) at home. The weekend results lengthen a recent winless streak for Bowdoin, whose most recent victory was on January 24 against Suffolk University. The Polar Bears were seeded sixth in the NESCAC heading into the weekend, but they believed victory was within reach for both games.

Against Wesleyan on Friday, Bowdoin led 2–1 halfway through the third period. However, they failed to close out the game and took a bad penalty in the final two minutes. The Cardinals capitalized on the opportunity and secured a last minute goal to force a tie.

“We had a really good game at Wesleyan,” Head Coach Ben Guite said. “We shot ourselves in the foot with a late penalty … but [the game] was certainly well played enough.”

The next night, the Polar Bears trailed Trinity by one goal throughout the first and second period. However, Trinity scored two goals within the first five minutes of the third period, leading to Bowdoin’s defeat.

“For two periods against Trinity, we played them real tough, straight on, and they came up with a better third period than we did,” Guite said. “I don’t think we were outmatched or outclassed. It’s just sometimes the [puck] bounces go a certain way.”

Despite setbacks over the weekend, the men’s ice hockey season performance this year has still been the strongest since the 2015 season, largely due to a series of  win streaks at the beginning of the year. The team believes they are highly competitive against all their NESCAC opponents.

“There’s no one in the NESCAC I feel are a level above us,” Guite said. “This league has got a lot of parity. I believe we could beat anybody on any given night, and that goes from top to bottom.”

Bowdoin has taken 188 minor penalty minutes this season, compared to its opponent’s 160 minor penalty minutes. The team noted that this disadvantage has influenced their ability to win.

“Five on five, I think we can go toe to toe with anybody in this league and I think we’ve proven that with a lot of our players,” captain Chris Brown ’23 said.

Brown credited overall sloppiness in execution and a failure to finish plays may be stopping Bowdoin from getting results against its conference opponents.

The team also wants to work on its power play. Bowdoin’s conversion rate has dipped toward 10 percent, while its opponents average about 16 percent. Guite said the team spent a practice session this week specifically focusing on power plays.

Overall, the team is striving to learn from its losses and continuously improve.

“Mistakes cost us, and we can definitely learn from that,” Gabe Shipper ’26 said. “I know we may have had the most successful season since 2015. But, at least personally, I’m not satisfied with that. I want to win, whether that be a NESCAC or NCAA [championship].”

Looking ahead to the final stretch of the regular season, the Polar Bears are trying to focus on honing in on a winning mentality.

“If you think of a stone cutter, the stone isn’t gonna break on the first pound of the hammer. It’s not going to break on the second pound of a hammer. You got to keep pounding until that stone finally breaks,” captain Cam Berube ’23 said. “Our end goal is winning a championship, which would be that stone finally breaking, so we have to keep pounding that stone with a hammer to eventually get to where we want to be.”

This weekend, Bowdoin will play its final regular season games against Tufts University (8–13–1; 5–10–1 NESCAC) and Connecticut College (5–17–0; 2–14–0 NESCAC) on the road. These games will determine final seeding for the NESCAC championships, which begin next weekend.

“At the end of the day, even if we don’t get the results we want,” Shipper said. “It’s having that persistence and ability to push forward and never give up.”


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