The men's ice hockey team closed out its weekend of conference play with a tie and a loss, bringing its record to 11-5-1 this season.
The team, tied with Amherst for first place in the conference before last weekend's road trip, has now dropped to fourth in the NESCAC. However, the Polar Bears have a chance to redeem themselves this weekend with a two-game home stand at Watson Arena.
On Friday night the Bears will face off with the first-place Lord Jeffs of Amherst at 7 p.m. On Saturday, puck drop will be at 4 p.m. with a Hamilton squad currently tied for sixth place.
Saturday night the Bears traveled to Vermont to take on the Middlebury Panthers in a conference battle. Middlebury struck first with their opening goal coming just over six minutes into the first period of play.
Almost two minutes later, Bowdoin struck back with a top-shelf goal from Leland Fidler '10, his third of the season, assisted by Aaron O'Callahan '12.
The Bears couldn't maintain the lead for long; Middlebury's Charlie Strauss slipped a loose rebound past Bowdoin sophomore goalie Richard Nerland before the buzzer sounded.
The Panthers' offense dominated the second period, with what would be the game-winning goal coming seven minutes in, granting the team a 3-1 lead. Despite Middlebury's inability to stay out of the penalty box, the Bears' powerplay was unable to convert and finished the period with seven unsuccessful shots on net.
The third period kicked off well for the visiting Bowdoin team, with Fidler scoring his second goal of the game on a short-handed breakaway.
The score remained 4-2 until Nerland was pulled toward the end to give the Bears an extra attacker and Middlebury put away an empty-netter with 1:18 left in the contest. Nerland made 28 saves on 33 shots for the Bears, who put 24 shots on the Middlebury goalie.
The loss came following Friday night's overtime 4-4 tie at Williams. The second-place Ephs were evenly matched with the Bears, who were boosted by a 28-save performance from senior goalie Chris Rossi, now 6-0-1 on the season. Tied 4-4 after two periods, neither team could pull out a game winner in the final period, nor in the five minute overtime.
Despite a disheartening past weekend, the Bears have plenty to be positive about. The team is currently 8-4-1 in conference play and leads the NESCACS in goals scored, with 50 thus far.
This offensive success has led the team to their current 11-5-1 record, but it will take more than the offense to be successful in the final leg of the season as well as postseason.
The team has allowed only 44 goals this season compared to the 72 they have scored. If they can continue the offensive success they have experienced so far and keep up a solid defense, this team has excellent chances of fighting their way back to the top before the regular season ends.