BRUNSWICK – Top-seeded Bowdoin erupted for five goals in the third period, including two by freshman Dan Weiniger, to knock off No. 6 Hamilton 6-2 in a NESCAC men’s hockey semifinal on Saturday.

The Polar Bears (19-5-1) will host No. 2 Middlebury (18-4-4) at 2 p.m. today, with the winner earning an automatic berth in the NCAA Division III championships.

Hamilton (15-9-2) tied the game at 1-1 on a goal by Tom Chiappetta just past the midway point of the second period. But the third period has been Bowdoin’s best all season; the Polar Bears have outscored opponents 40-14.

“That’s the result of consistent practice, consistent preparation and passion,” said Bowdoin Coach Terry Meagher. “I really didn’t have to say much to them in the locker room, because all year they’ve shown a commitment to work hard the entire game. We might not always win, but we’ll always work right to the end.”

The Polar Bears pressed from the outset of the third period, and Alexander Milley finished off a flurry in front of Hamilton goalie Calvin Bartel, who stopped three shots before Milley popped in a loose puck just 46 seconds into the period.

Weiniger scored the eventual winner on the power play at 7:57. Kyle Shearer-Hardy passed to Mike Corbelle at the right point, and Weiniger, stationed in the slot, deflected Corbelle’s shot past Bartel.

“We pretty much outwork the other teams in the first two periods, and they don’t have much left for the third,” Weiniger said of his team’s late-game dominance. “We got on a roll, and five-on-five, there aren’t many teams that can stay with us.”

Barter stopped Graham Sisson on a breakaway, but Leland Fidler made it 4-1 a minute later, scoring from the left circle off a cross-ice feed from Weiniger.

Hamilton tried to staunch the bleeding with a timeout, but Weiniger found the top left side of the net with a shot from the right circle while the teams were skating four-on-four.

Jerome Wallace scored off a rebound to close the gap to 5-2 with 6:47 remaining, but Jeff Fanning put it away with an empty-net goal.

Chris Rossi finished with 25 saves for Bowdoin, which had a 38-27 edge in shots. The Polar Bears took 19 shots in the third period.

Jordan Lalor, who scored the overtime goal that beat Colby in the quarterfinals, gave Bowdoin a 1-0 lead at 11:30 of the first period. Sisson intercepted a pass along the right boards in the Hamilton end, and passed to Lalor in the middle for a one-timer.

Bowdoin outshot the Continentals 11-5 in the first period but struggled on offense in the second, at least partially because of penalties. The Polar Bears were whistled for four of the game’s first five infractions.

“We’re a rhythm team,” said Meagher, “and penalties disrupt that rhythm.”


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