Bowdoin College goalie Dani Marquez (1) keeps her eye on the puck as it quickly approaches her face as Colby College’s Tess Dupre (17) battles for the rebound in the first period in a NESCAC quarterfinals game at Alfond Arena at Colby College in Waterville on Saturday. (Michael G. Seamans / Morning Sentinel)

WATERVILLE — The final college hockey game in the 65-year history of Alfond Rink will go in the record books as a Colby College win. A win over the Mules’ fiercest rival, no less.

Sophomore winger McKinley Karpa had a goal and an assist as the second-seeded Colby women topped No. 7 Bowdoin College, 2-0, in a New England Small College Athletic Conference quarterfinal on Saturday afternoon, closing out the old barn with the Mules’ first trip to the NESCAC semifinals since 2014.

Lexi Cafiero also scored for Colby, while sophomore goalie Nina Prunster made 17 saves to earn her fourth shutout of the season.

Colby (15-5-5 overall), which moves into the school’s new athletic conference next fall, will meet No. 3 Amherst in the semifinals next weekend in Middlebury, Vermont.

“I don’t even have words. It’s just astonishing,” Colby senior defenseman Izzy Tegtmeyer said. “The final game at ‘The A’ and the journey we’ve made from my freshman year, going 0-15-1, to being the second seed. We closed out the regular season and we were just like, ‘Holy smokes. We really did it.’ Everything else is just bonus hockey and we’re stoked for it.”

Armed with a one-goal lead through two periods, the Mules put on a clinic in how to close out a tight game.

Bowdoin (8-14-3) managed only four 5-on-5 shots in the final 20 minutes, two of those coming after the Polar Bears had pulled goalie Dani Marquez (31 saves). Colby killed off consecutive Bowdoin power plays in the period, including a 19-second 5-on-3 advantage for the visitors. Most importantly, the Mules took every opportunity to get pucks out of their own zone and into the Bowdoin zone whenever possible.

“Luckily about 75 percent of our games have been one-goal games, so we’re pretty well versed in that,” said Colby head coach Holley Tyng. “For the last year, we’ve talked about ‘every five seconds.’ You never know what five-second increment is going to define the game. You can’t take five seconds off, and we try to have that mentality.”

Colby Colege’s Cindy Giandomenico (5) tries to pick the back pocket of Bowdoin College goalie Dani Marquez (1) as teammate julia Surgenor (19) helps defend in a NESCAC quarterfinals game at Alfond Arena at Colby College in Waterville on Saturday. (Michael G. Seamans / Morning Sentinel)

Colby blocked eight shots in the game, including three by Tegtmeyer in the final period — two during the extended Bowdoin power play.

“We knew we had something to protect and that Bowdoin wanted,” Tegtmeyer said. “We had to come out wanting it more. The third period felt a lot less jittery than the second. I think I’m going to be all black and blue tomorrow, my body’s in so much pain.

“But the momentum really shifts when you do something like have a big blocked shot.”

That defensive effort was more than enough to allow Colby to remain patient enough to finally produce offense.

After thoroughly dominating the first period, Colby still didn’t crack through until Cafiero swatted home the rebound of a Karpa bid off a rush at 13:39 of the second.

“We knew we just had to keep going,” Karpa said of coming up empty through more than 30 minutes. “I got the puck and had a breakaway. I tried to shoot up top corner and I didn’t — and I was just praying that Lexi or Tess (Dupre) behind me would get the rebound. When I turned and saw Lexi had scored, I was so relieved.”

Early in the third, the Mules top line of Karpa, Cafiero and Dupre got to work again, this time on the power play. Karpa tipped a Bri Michaud-Nolan shot from the left point off the near-side iron before stuffing her own rebound through Marquez at the 4:35 mark.

“We didn’t give up. We just kept going,” Karpa said of the final 20 minutes. “We knew we just had to make smart plays. Get it deep, get some shots and have a good forecheck going.”

No. 1 Middlebury’s win over Trinity earlier in the afternoon guaranteed that, no matter the outcome, Saturday’s Colby-Bowdoin game would be the final hockey game played at Alfond Rink.

The last time Colby played in a NESCAC semifinal was six years ago, when the Mules dropped a 4-2 decision.

“For the seniors, it’s really special,” Tyng said. “For the alums who started the program. For Rick Drake, who was the first women’s coach. He was a student at the time and the women gathered him and said, ‘Let’s do this.’ For those ladies, I’m so proud we could deliver in this moment for them. And against Bowdoin, there’s no better way to send it off.”

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