Avid hockey fans are spoiled—for this week at least. From the USA-Canada match-up in Vancouver last Sunday to the Gold Medal game scheduled for this upcoming Sunday and including every contest in between, there is plenty of quality hockey to be seen.
In the midst of all these greats will come the Bowdoin-Colby NESCAC quarterfinals game this Saturday, and it is not to be neglected.
Nor has the team's performance for the duration of the season been one to miss. The Bears closed out the regular season with a record of 17-5-1; a record impressive enough to merit first place in the conference and gain not only the respect of other teams, but also the home team advantage. \
The squad closed out the season and celebrated Senior Day with a win at home on February 20 over New England College.
Robert Toczylowski '13 got the scoring started for the Bears early in the first, circling behind the net and slipping an unassisted goal past the New England goaltender.
Four minutes later, Ryan Blossom '10 sent a goal home with assistance from Colin MacCormack '10 and Brendan Reich '11. Fourteen seconds later, however, New England's Jeff Armando hammered a shot past Bowdoin goalie Chris Rossi '10 to narrow the margin to 2-1.
The Pilgrims landed on the ice ready to go in the second period, tying the game at two goals apiece five minutes in when Alex Muse put away a loose rebound. This, however, would be the last goal for New England as the Polar Bears continued to light the lamp.
The game-winning goal came from Jordan Lalor '12, his fifth of the season, from Matt Bruch '10 with just over two minutes left in the second. The team continued to fight until the last buzzer sounded, adding two security goals in the third period from Reich and another from Blossom. Rossi allowed two goals on 21 shots for the evening, closing his regular season record at 12-0-1. With the 5-2 win came the No. 1 seed and the home-ice advantage.
This victory came after an 8-4 win over Saint Anselm's College Friday night. The team was boosted by two goals from Graham Sisson '12 and 3-point games from Dan Weiniger '13 and Aaron O'Callahan '12, who each chipped in a goal and two assists.
The contest was tied 3-3 after two periods, until the Polar Bears pulled away from the visiting Hawks to score five goals in the third period. Rossi made 25 saves, including 11 crucial stops in the last period.
The Bears will seek to extend their streak this Saturday at Watson Arena at 7 p.m. The puck will drop to start the 193rd battle between the conference rival Bears and Mules. Despite the seasoned distaste the teams have for each other, peppered with one-goal games and some extra minutes in the penalty box, this is the first time they have been paired together in the 11-year history of the tournament and promises to be a savory match for one of two teams hungry for success. Colby swept the Bowdoin squad in the traditional home-and-home matches this year, which left a bad taste in Brunswick.
Fortunately MacCormack and Head Coach Terry Meagher agree that the team has changed a lot since the December matchups with Colby. Senior captain MacCormack believes the team has "become a more consistent competitor" since then and has stabilized the level of effort that he said lost them those two games.
He continued to note that the team has been focusing on "staying on the course we've charted in the last month of the season."
Meagher agreed, saying the team has been "working to establish the balance between preparing for our opponents' team structure and maintaining the rhythm of our system of play," and also named the team's success and improvement as "a wonderful tribute to the leadership of this team."