Motivation takes many forms in sports. For the Bowdoin College men’s hockey team, it could be Friday night’s rematch with Wesleyan, the first to spoil Bowdoin’s bid for an unbeaten season.

Two weeks remain with conference games for most small college programs. It’s time to take stock in some of the teams playing for a spot in the playoffs, home advantage, or positioning themselves to win their sport’s biggest prize.

The Bowdoin men (17-2-1, 11-2-1 conference) have four games remaining, all against New England Small College Athletic Conference opponents. The Polar Bears are ranked third in the country, dropping a spot after a loss to No. 10 Amherst (8-4-2 conference) at home last Friday night, 6-3.

The defeat came after a 10-day break. The next night, Bowdoin beat Hamilton (3-9-2) 5-2, led by Daniel Weiniger’s (Warren, N.J) hat trick.

Next up is Wesleyan (5-6-3) which rallied from a 4-1 deficit to beat Bowdoin in Brunswick, 6-5 in overtime. Bowdoin, a team not known for making mistakes, made too many.

Five players have scored 10 or more goals for Bowdoin. Junior forward Harry Matheson (Kingston, Ontario) has 27 points (11 goals, 16 assists) to lead that group. Weiniger is next with 24 (14-10).

Bowdoin is in first place in the NESCAC standings. Middlebury and Williams are tied for second (9-3-2).

The Bowdoin women are tied for second in the conference standings with Amherst; both have 8-3-1 records and trail Middlebury (10-2-2). The women must regroup after assistant coach Holly Lorms was arrested Sunday night on an OUI charge.

In women’s basketball, the University of Southern Maine (21-1, 10-1) is ranked 14th nationally by D3hoops.com and heads into its last three games, all against Little East Conference opponents. Led by seniors Jordan Grant (Concord, N.H.) and Nicole Garland (Portland, Deering High) with 13.4 and 13.0 scoring averages, the Huskies should have home-court advantage throughout the LEC tournament. At stake is the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.

Sophomore Rebecca Knight (Alfred, Catherine McAuley) is averaging 12.6 points a game and senior Haley Jordan (Falmouth) is scoring at an 11.5 clip.

The University of New England (18-4), 15-0) remains atop the Commonwealth Coast Conference standings and clinched the conference tournament’s top seed. The Nor’easters have won 13 in a row, a school record. The last two came on the road. A third straight road game is Saturday against Nichols (3-12).

The University of Southern Maine men’s basketball team (7-4) lost its last two games, but clinched the fourth seed in the Little East Conference tournament and will host a quarterfinal game. Senior Alex Kee (Bath, Morse High) and junior Conor Sullivan (Scarborough) lead all conference scorers with averages of 15.0 and 14.9.

In the Yankee Small College Conference, the Southern Maine Community College men are tied for first place (18-9, 11-4) with Eastern Maine Community College (14-8, 11-4) in the East Division. The SMCC women are 9-3 and meet unbeaten Central Maine Community College Thursday in South Portland as their seasons wind down before division and conference playoffs.

BOWDOIN COLLEGE

Sophomore Bryan Hurley (Watertown, Mass.) is ranked second among NCAA Division III basketball players in assists with an average of 8.1 per game. That’s second to Jerald Williams of Lycoming College (Williamsport, Pa.). Williams is averaging 10.8 . . . Junior Coby Horowitz (Stow, Mass.) won the 1,000-meter run and the 1-mile run last Saturday at the Maine State Indoor Track & Field Championship meet and earned the Jim Wescott Award, named for the longtime track coach and father of Olympic snowboarder Seth Wescott. The Jim Wescott Award goes to the meet’s most valuable athlete in track events.

ST. JOSEPH’S COLLEGE

Women’s basketball coach Mike McDevitt passed the 400 milestone in career wins earlier in the 2012-13 season. The accomplishment went unnoticed, perhaps, because the low-key McDevitt wouldn’t call attention to the number. Maybe the college is waiting for McDevitt to reach 400 victories at St. Joseph’s. Twenty-two of his career wins did come when he was the head coach at the University of Southern Maine a few years back when Gary Fifield took a short retirement.

UNIVERSITY OF SOUTHERN MAINE

Freshman Anthony Pistone (Farmingville, N.Y.) was named the Pilgrim Wrestling League Rookie of the Week after a pair of wins last weekend. Wrestling at 165 pounds, Pistone beat Torin Zonfrelli of Worcester Poly, 3-2, in the match that gave the team win to USM. Wrestling at 184 pounds, he pinned Taylor Lozier of Plymouth State for his fifth pin of the season and helping USM to another dual-meet victory. Pistone is not related to longtime USM coach Joe Pistone.

Three wrestlers are ranked in the top six in the New England Wrestling Association individual rankings: Mike Arangio, 6th, 125; Logan Russell, 6th, 157; Dan Suarez, 3rd, 285.  Russell is 20-7 overall and 13-3 in dual meets with a team-leading 12 pins. Suarez is 18-3 overall and 12-1 in dual meets and Aragnio is 16-3 with a 12-3 record in dual meets. Logan is from Bath, wrestled at Morse and is one of the team captains.

USM hosts the LEC/Alliance Championships in indoor track and field on Saturday. The USM women have swept the championship the last 12 seasons. The New England Alliance championship meet features schools representing the Little East Conference and the Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference (MASCAC).

Staff Writer Steve Solloway can be contacted at 791-6412 or at:

ssolloway@pressherald.com

Twitter: SteveSolloway