The men's ice hockey team (16-2-1, 10-2-1 NESCAC) lost at home to 11th-ranked Amherst (12-5-2, 8-4-1 NESCAC) Friday night in an upset that will certainly have impacts on the Bowdoin's national ranking. Heading into the game, the Polar Bears, who hold a 2-game lead in the NESCAC, were the No. 2 team in D-III.
The Lord Jeffs entered Watson Arena ready for action, scoring the first goal of the match less than four minutes into the first period. Just three minutes later, Amherst added another goal on a converted power play to make the score 2-0. Bowdoin looked poised to rally after captain Daniel Weineger '13 successfully converted on an Amherst penalty to bring the score to 2-1, but nine shot attempts by the Polar Bears were unable to level the score. Amherst first year Conor Brown stuffed any chance for Bowdoin's momentum, scoring on his team's first shot-on-goal after nearly ten unsuccessful minutes of Polar Bear offense. Two minutes later, Amherst made the game 4-1, marking the worst defensive performance by Bowdoin in any period all year.
Head Coach Terry Meagher switched goalies after the first period, and Max Fenkell '15 saved three crucial Amherst attempts in the start of the second to keep hope for a rally alive. Taking advantage of the stout defense, Chris Fenwick '16 came through for the Polar Bears on an assist by Tim Coffey '15 to bring the score to 4-2. After a huge offensive effort by Bowdoin's forwards to bring the score back, the second period ended without another goal.
But just 15 seconds into the final period the Lord Jeffs scored again, stifling any chance for a Bowdoin comeback. In an interesting call by Meagher, Fenkell was pulled with three minutes left to give the Polar bears an extra attacker. The move paid off, as Kyle Lockwood '14 quickly scored to drop the deficit to two. Fenkell was put back in to hold onto the lead, but a 2-minute penalty against Robert Toczylowski '13 with only 2:25 left to play crippled the team's chance for a late-game miracle. Fenkell left for good with a minute left, finishing the game with 15 saves on 16 attempts, while Amherst scored in the last few seconds on the Polar Bears' open net.
Amherst was surprisingly efficient in the upset, shooting 24 times compared to Bowdoin's 40 attempts. Out of desperation while down 4-1, Bowdoin had 27 shots and just one goal in the second period alone. Amherst's veteran senior goalie Nathan Corey finished the game with a whopping 37 saves, but still averages just 22.5 saves per game and has the fourth-lowest save percentage in the NESCAC .
The 6-3 contest was certainly a low point for Bowdoin's all-around historical season, which has seen the team rise to the top of the NESCAC and D-III. The Polar Bears have five contests remaining on the season, and must win four of those in order to ensure the NESCAC's top seed heading into the playoffs. In one of the few positives for the team on Friday night, NESCAC No. 2 Williams lost to Trinity, giving Bowdoin a bit more security atop the conference standings.