After two more dominating wins over NESCAC opponents, the fourth-ranked Women's Hockey Team earned the right to play host to the conference tournament this weekend. Bowdoin enters the tournament with a fifteen-game winning streak and a first-round bye. The team faces fourth-seed Hamilton tomorrow at 1:00 p.m. If they win, the team would face the winner of a Middlebury and Williams match-up in the finals, held at Dayton Arena on Sunday at 1:00 p.m.
Earlier this week, conference awards were issued. Leading scorer Meghan Gillis '07 and first-year defender Kristen Cameron earned first-team all-NESCAC honors. Cameron also earned NESCAC Rookie of the Year after scoring 20 goals this season. Receiving second-team all-NESCAC honors were senior captain Marissa O'Neil and goalie Cat MacEachern '06.
Entering its final weekend of regular season play, Bowdoin needed a combined three points against Wesleyan and Trinity in order to ensure that Bowdoin would play host to the conference tournament. Bowdoin rolled over both teams with a combined score of 15-1, earning four points in the process.
Showing enormous focus, Bowdoin outplayed Wesleyan in every facet of the game in the opening match of the weekend. Bowdoin scored all nine of its goals in the opening two periods. Kate Leonard '07 led the team with a hat trick, while Lydia Hawkins '07 and Jayme Woogerd '07 scored two goals apiece. Goals by first-team selections Gillis and Cameron capped off the scoring for the Bears.
Although Bowdoin's offense scored nine goals, the team's defense was equally impressive. Wesleyan only managed 10 shots on goal in the game, including only two shots through the first two periods, a stretch during which Bowdoin scored nine goals.
The only Wesleyan goal was allowed in the third period, after Bowdoin had already scored nine goals and sealed a victory. MacEachern earned the win, needing only nine saves.
A 6-1 win over Trinity the next day earned Bowdoin the right to play host to the conference tournament.
First-year Caroline Currie scored her fourth goal of the season to give Bowdoin the first lead of the game midway through the first period. However, Trinity answered with a goal before the end of the opening session of play.
Although the game remained tied through the second period, Bowdoin was dominating overall play and the team seemed poised to break through the exceptional play of Trinity goalie Courtney Bergh. Bergh allowed only one goal through the first two periods, despite 36 Bowdoin shots on net. MacEachern, by contrast, only needed to make eight saves through the first two periods to preserve the tie.
Bowdoin finally broke through Bergh in the third period, as the team exploded for five goals in the period. Cameron scored two goals, including the game-winning goal to provide the edge Bowdoin needed to win the game. Brittany Abery '08, Cathie Quinlan '05, and Katie Forney '07 also netted goals in the final period. MacEachern finished with 11 saves and the team's nineteenth win of the year.
Having earned home field advantage, Bowdoin now prepares for the conference tournament. Fourth seed Hamilton enters the game with a record of only 10-11-3 (7-6-3 NESCAC). Hamilton has also struggled against the Polar Bears recently. In their two meetings this year, both at Hamilton, Bowdoin recorded two shutouts and scored a combined seven goals.
Should the team advance to the finals, Bowdoin would face much tougher opponents. Middlebury is ranked third in the country while Williams is ninth.
It should be a great weekend of college hockey as the top four seeds in the conference are represented. In addition, the team will have a "Fan Appreciation Party" tomorrow in the atrium of Druckenmiller Hall at 3:15, after the game against Hamilton. Come out and support Bowdoin women's hockey!