BOWDOIN COLLEGE’S Harr y Matheson (12, right photo) watches the puck drop into the net behind Williams goaltender Sean Dougherty and Ephs defender David Jarrett (21) during the Polar Bears’ NESCAC men’s hockey opener on Friday at Sidney J. Watson Arena. In the top photo, Bowdoin’s Timothy McGarry (28) is about to be checked by Williams forward Evan Dugdale (22). Bowdoin won 2-0.

BOWDOIN COLLEGE’S Harr y Matheson (12, right photo) watches the puck drop into the net behind Williams goaltender Sean Dougherty and Ephs defender David Jarrett (21) during the Polar Bears’ NESCAC men’s hockey opener on Friday at Sidney J. Watson Arena. In the top photo, Bowdoin’s Timothy McGarry (28) is about to be checked by Williams forward Evan Dugdale (22). Bowdoin won 2-0.

BRUNSWICK

 

 

A close, nail-biting game at Sidney J. Watson Arena. Just another exciting night of New England Small College Athletic Conference men’s ice hockey.

Bowdoin, the 10th-ranked team in the USCHO.com rankings, rode a first-period goal by Harry Matheson and received a solid defensive effort, along with several solid saves by junior goaltender Steve Messina, en route to a 2-0 season-opening victory.

“Any NESCAC game is a one, two-goal game, and we know that is the way it will be all year long,” said Messina, who finished with 29 saves. “The defense was amazing in front of me, and they were blocking shots in practice this week and came out here and did it again. It comes down to getting down and blocking shots, working hard, mucking in the corners, and we did that tonight.”

“It was a great start, with us having our moments and them surging on us, and both goalies played very well,” said Bowdoin coach Terry Meagher, who began his 30th season at the helm of the Polar Bears with a victory. “If you get timely saves and timely goals, you win, and tonight we got timely saves and timely goals. It was that simple and just how close the game was.”

Holding a slim 1-0 lead in the third period, Williams (0- 1) took the fight to the Polar Bears, holding an 11-8 shot advantage. But, Bowdoin held the Ephs to an 0-for-5 performance on the power play, including a 59-second, 5-on-3 disadvantage.

“For the first game, I am completely happy, and what I am most proud of is we took a collective group, killed a long 5-on-3 power play and won the game,” said Meagher.

The tense contest was finally decided with 1:15 remaining when Robert Toczylowski buried a shot past Williams netminder Sean Dougherty, allowing the Polar Bear faithful to let out a collective sigh of relief.

Bowdoin jumps ahead

Behind the strong forechecking of Matheson, Rob MacGregor, Daniel Weiniger and Kyle Lockwood, Bowdoin controlled the opening period and jumped on top with 3:37 remaining in the frame on the power play.

Toczylowski wrestled the puck away from a Williams defender and fired a shot on Dougherty, one of his 30 saves. Matheson gathered the rebound and banked the puck off Dougherty’s back, with his shot dropping into the net.

Bowdoin, which held a 13-7 shots advantage in the opening 20 minutes, continued to be the aggressor in the second, firing off the first six shots. Dougherty stopped Matheson and Lockwood in succession to keep Williams close. The Ephs’ netminder also made two nice saves on John McGinnis during a Williams power play.

In the third, the Ephs thought they had tied the game, but the puck glanced off the cross bar, with Messina pouncing on the rebound.

Back-to-back penalties on the Polar Bears gave Williams a 5-on-3 power play.

“Once it gets down to the wire, both teams were pushing hard, and we were able to push through,” said Messina, who stopped Nick Anderson from point-blank range, and stoned Mike Erickson twice to help the Polar Bears kill off the power play.

Williams looked to pull Dougherty for an extra skater, but Toczylowski made it a two-goal game when he finished off a pass from MacGregor, with Lockwood also picking up an assist to complete the 2-0 victory.

“We’re just looking to go as far as we can, and if we continue to work hard and do what we did tonight, I see us going far,” said Messina.

When asked if he was surprised the game was so close, Meagher simply answered, “Yes!” With 17 more NESCAC games remaining in his team’s 24-game slate, Meagher and his Polar Bears have several more opportunities to sweat it out.

MIDDLEBURY 4

BOWDOIN 4

On Saturday, Bowdoin and Middlebury played to a 4-4 tie in a battle of nationallyranked squads at Sidney J. Watson Arena.

The Polar Bears and Panthers both stand at 1-0-1. Tenth-ranked Bowdoin is set to return to action on Tuesday evening at the University of New England (7 p.m.).

Ollie Koo finished with two goals for Bowdoin while four different players recorded goals for the Panthers.

Bowdoin got on the board first as a shot from the point deflected off a Panther in front. Koo collected the rebound between the circles and wristed it into the top corner just 1:47 into the game.

Middlebury gained a power play six minutes into the frame, but the Polar Bears cashed in as Danny Palumbo forced a turnover on the forecheck and fed Connor Quinn in front for a shorthanded score at 6:27.

The Panthers got one back with 3:30 left in the stanza as Robbie Donahoe intercepted a pass in the neutral zone and skated in on Max Fenkell, slipping a shot past the Polar Bear netminder to close the gap to 2-1 after one period of play.

After going scoreless on its first five power plays of the game, Middlebury evened the score with the extra man at 3:42 of the second period as Evan Neugold redirected a shot inside the right post to bring the Panthers even.

Bowdoin regained the lead on the power play just minutes later as a failed Panther clear came to Gabriel Renaud at the blue line. Renaud fired a laser from above the right circle to give the Polar Bears a 3-2 edge at 7:55. Bowdoin thentookadvantageof a5x3 power play late in the frame as McGinnis found Koo wide open on the back post to make it 4-2 after 40 minutes.

Middlebury drew within a goal on the power play at 4:11 of the third, as Connor Frick slipped a low shot from between the circles to make it 4-3. After a sustained Bowdoin possession resulted in no goal, a Panther push down ice tied the game. Chris Brown centered the puck into the crease, where Chris Steele crashed the net and poked the puck through the pads of Fenkell with 10:19 remaining.

The teams traded good chances in the extra session, with the Panthers holding a 6- 3 edge in shots.

Fenkell finished with 43 saves for Bowdoin while Nick BonDurant made 34 stops for Middlebury. The Panthers held a 47-38 edge in shots and went 2-for-7 on the power play. Bowdoin finished 2-for-6 with the extra attacker.

Bowdoin 2,
Williams 0

At Sidney J. Watson Arena
Williams—000—0
Bowdoin—101—2
First period — 1. (B) Harry Matheson
(Robert Toczylowski), 16:13, ppg.
Penaties — (W) Mike Brofft (holding),
2:28; (B) Harry Matheson (boarding),
8:01; (W) John Wickman (hooking),
8:21; (W) Paul Steinig (cross checking),
14:32; (B) Kyle Lockwood (tripping),
17:43.
Second period — No scoring. Penalties
— (B) Rob MacGregor (roughing), 8:47;
(B) Timothy McGarry (cross checking),
18:11.
Third period — 2. (B) Robert Toczylowski (Rob MacGregor, Kyle Lockwood), 18:45. Penalties — (B) Chris
Fenwick (cross checking), 5:41; (W) Eric
Rubino (roughing), 6:42; (B) Robert
Toczylowski (roughing), 6:42; (B) Ryan
Collier (cross checking), 6:42.
Shots on goal — Williams 7-11-11 —
29; Bowdoin 13-11-8 — 32
Saves — (W) Sean Dougherty 30; (B)
Steve Messina 29.
Power play — Williams 0-5; Bowdoin 1-
3.


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