The men's ice hockey team is preparing for a homestand this weekend, during which they will face two conference opponents. The Polar Bears will take the ice against Skidmore on Saturday evening, looking to avenge last year's loss to the Thoroughbreds, and will face off against Castleton on Sunday.
"This weekend will be another good test for our team," said captain Colin MacCormack '10. "Hopefully we will be able to get a few wins on our home ice."
Sunday night, a talented Under-18 Men's National Team traveled to Brunswick to face off with the Polar Bears in a competitive scrimmage.
The national team lit up the scoreboard early with a goal off of a one-timer at 2:27 into the first period. The team struck again less than 10 minutes later, sending a loose puck in the crease home to double their lead.
The National Team wasn't finished yet, however. The team scored a third goal when a national team right wing fired a shot top-shelf over junior goaltender Richard Nerland's shoulder to end the period.
The Polar Bears came back out ready to fight, scoring a goal on senior Brian Fry's slap shot three minutes into the second period of play.
First year Dan Weiniger cut the lead again during a power play, sending a quick wrist-shot over the national team's net-minder's shoulder.
The national team found the net twice more in the last five minutes of the period, however, and the Bears entered the locker room at a 5-2 disadvantage.
The national team then pulled away during the third period, scoring five goals in the last twenty minutes of play.
The Bears couldn't stay out of the penalty box, giving the national team more ice time with a man advantage. Nerland finished the game with 35 saves.
MacCormack thought the Bears came away from the competition as a better team, despite their losing score.
"Playing against a high level team like that allowed us to better assess what our strengths are and where we need to get better," he said.
The scrimmage was an important tool for improvement after three impressive victories to open the season.
The Bears opened the season on November 20 at University of Massachussetts-Boston with an impressive show of offensive strength. A goal from Kyle Shearer-Hardy '11 and two apiece from Graham Sisson '12 and Ryan Blossom '10 boosted the Bears to a 5-3 win over the Beacons despite 13 penalties for the Bears. Nerland had 28 saves.
The team brought some fight to their next game versus Babson November 21.
After giving up two short-handed goals in the first period, the Polar Bears responded early in the second period with a power play goal from Weiniger.
The team played down a goal until late in the third period when Weiniger lit up the Babson goalie and gave the team the chance for overtime, during which Jordan Lalor '12 put away a bottom-shelf shot to secure the win.
The team rode the momentum to take on Salve Regina, when they blew out the Seahawks with a 7-1 victory with contributions from three goalies and goals from five different Bears.
Head Coach Terry Meagher has been impressed by the team's performance thus far. He said that the team's success is partially due to the players' openness to playing different positions, which provides them with depth in the roster and insurance from the impact of injuries.
The Polar Bears will take on Castleton Friday at 7 p.m. at Watson Arena, looking to avenge last year's loss—its first since Skidmore joined the ECAC in 1999. Saturday the puck drops at 4 p.m. against the visiting Castleton Spartans.