The last time most fans saw their Bowdoin men's hockey team play, the Black and White had just dropped a crushing home overtime game against rival Colby. In the final two minutes of the game, Bowdoin scored two goals, only to fall in overtime.
Instead of mourning a missed opportunity, though, the team has responded brilliantly to the loss. Over Winter Break, the team skated their way to a 6-1-1 record, including a five-game winning streak following the Colby loss and a victory over then top-ranked Middlebury.
Co-captain Shannon McNevan '05 remarked on the team's resiliency. "I am proud of the way the team has popped right back up and answered the bell. We've been like one of those clown-faced punching bags all year so far. Every time we fall behind or let up a goal, we seem to pop right back up and swinging," McNevan said.
Bowdoin's recent dominance has earned it a 12-2-2 overall record, as well as a number twelve ranking in the most recent Division III poll. Other NESCAC teams ranked in the top-15 in the nation are Middlebury at five, Trinity at 10, and Colby at 15, a very strong showing for the conference nationally.
Bowdoin crushed its non-conference foes during this streak, allowing only five goals in four games, while scoring 24, en route to a 4-0 record against Worcester State, Curry, Babson, and UMass-Boston.
In their best performance of Winter Break, Bowdoin defeated the then top-ranked and undefeated Middlebury Panthers, 4-2. Bowdoin jumped out to a two-goal lead early in the second-period, only to be tied by the second intermission. Adam Dann '06 was the hero of this game, netting the game-winning goal late in the third period, his second goal of the game. George Papachristopoulos '06 made 32 saves in the win, negating Middlebury's shot advantage.
Williams dealt Bowdoin its only loss of Winter Break with an overtime squeaker. Bowdoin dominated on both ends, taking 50 shots, while only allowing 21. However, Bowdoin simply could not get the puck past the Williams goaltender and fell in overtime.
It seemed as though the season was getting out of control for the Polar Bears, as they fell behind Connecticut College 2-0, near the end of the second period. Just then, the punching bag began to right itself again, though, as Mike Chute scored his third goal of the season minutes later. Next, Bowdoin took advantage of a power play to tie the game with a goal from Matt Roy and won the game on Greg McConnell's fifth score of the year midway through the final period.
Bowdoin fell behind early again in their latest game, a match against Tufts, as the Jumbos scored two goals in the first period. Once again, Bowdoin fought back, scoring three goals to take the lead by the second intermission. Tufts eventually tied the game, and the game ended in a deadlock.
Though Bowdoin has shown great character by fighting back and responding well to loss, McNevan acknowledged that Bowdoin needs to start games better. "The goal now is to try to come out of the blocks like gangbusters so that we never have to fight back into the game like last weekend against Conn College and Tufts," the co-captain said.
Despite the temptation to keep their minds on the rematch with Colby, the team remains focused on the significant conference games coming up.
Co-captain Nate Riddell emphasized the importance of not looking too far ahead. "We are looking forward to the Colby game, but to be honest we haven't even mentioned it to each other because of the important games we have before [then]," Riddell said.
Bowdoin plays two of those important NESCAC games this weekend, as they play host to Wesleyan and Trinity this weekend. Bowdoin faces off against the 3-12-0 (3-7-0 NESCAC) Wesleyan Friday at 7:30 P.M. Bowdoin then skates against Trinity on Saturday at 4:00 P.M. Trinity enters the game tied with Bowdoin and three other teams for the lead in NESCAC points and has the best overall record in the NESCAC at 12-2-0. Come out and support Bowdoin hockey.