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Men’s hockey to close out regular season this weekend

February 16, 2024

Courtesy of Brian Beard
BANANA SPLIT: The men’s hockey team will play its final regular season games against Wesleyan and Trinity this weekend ahead of NESCAC playoffs. The team is currently ranked second in the NESCAC.

This weekend, the men’s hockey team (13–5–4; 9–3–4 NESCAC) will wrap up a successful season with two home games against Tufts University (11–9–2; 8–7–1 NESCAC) and Connecticut College (9–11–2; 7–9–0 NESCAC). Currently ranked second in the NESCAC, the Polar Bears are entering conference playoffs strong.

The team secured a win against Wesleyan University (5–16–1; 3–12–1 NESCAC) and lost against Trinity College (18–3–1; 14–1–1 NESCAC) last weekend. Looking at the competition to come, the team remains in good spirits and sees the game against Trinity as an opportunity to reflect on its gameplay.

“[Trinity] is ranked top ten in the country, so we knew that it was going to be a battle from the start,” Mattie Wierl ’27 said. “I think we showed a lot of resilience in the way that we played and set the expectation for what’s to come for our team.”

Goaltender Alex Kozic ’24 added that the game against Trinity was hard-fought defensively.

“They came out hard in the first period, and then they also went really hard in the second period,” Kozic said. “We were definitely defending really well, which kept us in the game at least, despite being completely outplayed.”

The team is feeling confident about its upcoming games.

“This weekend, we’re looking to come out with two wins and six points,” Wierl said. “These last two games are [going to be] huge for us to keep our momentum going and secure that number two spot.”

Tufts is currently ranked third, close behind Bowdoin in the NESCAC rankings, and tonight’s game will be a crucial moment for Bowdoin to cement its standing. The players have been studying their opposing team and adjusting their gameplay in preparation.

“We will try and limit our turnovers,” Kozic said. “[Tufts] has a really good transition game.”

This weekend’s games will be crucial in fortifying the team’s mindset as it moves into playoffs.

“The intensity level and playoff hockey mindset is something that we’re trying to get into,” Kozic said.  “We did that last year in our final game of the season. We lost against Tufts and beat Connecticut College 1-0 [with] a really last-minute goal, and it kind of felt like that Connecticut College game drove us into the following weekend and made us play the right way.”

Kozic describes these final games as a “different animal entirely.”

“We’re playing much more solid, much more physical,” Kozic said. “Even the way the referees officiate the game in playoffs is a little bit different, [they] let a little bit more go.”

The team is anticipating grittier playoff games, requiring players to work harder to score goals in addition to ramping up their defense.

Reflecting on the season so far, the moment that stands out most to the players was the electric atmosphere during the Bowdoin-Colby hockey game.

“The crowd support from the Bowdoin community was really amazing,” Kozic said. “It was really special to be able to perform in front of a crowd like that and pull it off for the school and feel the energy.”


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