Bowdoin claims first NESCAC title
Steady offensive attack gives Bears NCAA tournament invite
WILLIAMSTOWN, MA – Fifth-seeded Bowdoin College scored in every period and beat No. 2 seed Williams College 5-2 to claim their first NESCAC title Sunday at Lansing Chapman Rink.
Bowdoin opened the game by keeping the puck in the Williams zone for more than a minute. The Ephs withstood that opening salvo, and mustered a threat of their own when Eric Rubino deflected a blast from the blue line off the cross bar at 3:04, after sustained efforts by the Ephs in the offensive zone.
Just over two minutes later, Eph goalie Ryan Purdy was forced to cover up a Bowdoin shot in traffic in front of his net. The game’s first score came when Bowdoin’s Bryan Rosata played a puck in front to Robert Toczylowski whose shot was stopped by Purdy, but cleaned up by the Bears’ Nick Wetzel at 5:15. The goal was Wetzel’s first of the year.
A mere 54 seconds later at 6:21, Bowdoin doubled their lead when Jeff Fanning dug the puck off the boards behind Purdy and to Purdy’s left, and connected with Jordan Lalor also on Purdy’s left side. The Lalor shot bounced off Purdy’s pads and Daniel Weiniger deposited it into the twine.
The Weiniger goal forced Eph head coach Bill Kangas to call a timeout to settle his team down. The break in the action seemed to favor the Ephs for the remainder of the period as they went on to out shoot the Bears 20 to 10 in opening period.
At 14:04, the Ephs Matt Masucci fired a shot on Bowdoin’s Steve Messina that was stopped, but sent in again to the net by Mike Broft. Eric Rubino then skated in to collect Broft’s attempt and flipped it over Messina’s left shoulder giving the Ephs a power play tally. The goal cut the Bowdoin lead to 2-1.
With 17:40 gone in the period the Bears escaped a wild fray in front of the Bowdoin goal. Goalie Steve Messina was down after stretching to make a save and several Eph attempts were unsuccessful bouncing off Messina’s pads and body with the last Eph effort sailing over the net and off the boards for the Polar Bear defense to clear away.
Bowdoin’s Kyle Hanson was whistled for a penalty at 19:39 of the period allowing the Ephs a man advantage for the last 21 seconds of the first period and giving them the man advantage for the first 1:39 of the second period when Bowdoin killed off the final 21 ticks of the first period portion of the penalty.
Bowdoin led 2-1 at the first intermission.
Williams goalie Ryan Purdy made eight saves in the first period, while Bowdoin’s Steve Messina was called on to make 19.
Bowdoin successfully killed off the remainder of the Hanson penalty despite the Ephs having the puck in the Bowdoin zone for all but a few seconds of the 1:39 left on the infraction.
The Ephs Evan Dugdale challenged Messina at 2:15 with a backhand, but Messina was able to get a pad on it and the Polar Bear defense took it away from goal.
Bowdoin’s Jay Livermore hit Toczylowski behind the net and he fed Aaron O’Callahan who skated in from Purdy’s left across the front of the net to backhand one under the pads f Purdy to make it 3-1 Bowdoin.
Bowdoin’s third goal of the day came at 4:31.
Messina denied another Eph attempt when he somehow, from a sprawling position, was able to get his stick on a flip by an Eph in front deflecting the shot to the boards.
Purdy matched the acrobatics of Messina moments later at 5:59 when, while on his back, he flipped his stick up in a backhand motion to stop a shot. However, on the play an Eph was called for covering the puck with his hand in the crease and a penalty shot for Bowdoin resulted.
NESCAC’s second leading goal scorer Daniel Weiniger was sent out by the Polar Bears to take the shot on Purdy. Weiniger tried to go to his backhand on Purdy’s right side and the puck slipped off his stick and the scoring threat was just a threat.
With 4:30 remaining in the second period, Bowdoin first-year Ollie Koo positioned himself right in front of the goal 30 feet out and he one-timed a pass from Rob MacGregor who was behind the net. Jay Livermore was also credited with an assist on the goal, which extended the lead to 4-1.
Williams Matt Masucci ripped a shot from the right side just inside the blue line along the boards and the puck squirted through Messina, but was cleared aside by a pair of Bowdoin defenders.
Needing to net three goals in the final 20 minutes the Ephs came out flying and got one of the goals back just 2:55 in when John Wickman flipped home a rebound off an Eric Rubio shot from a tough angle to Messina’s left side.
The final goal of the game came at 17:55 when the Polar Bears Jeff Fanning popped home the rebound off a Daniel Weiniger shot after Weiniger came in on Purdy ahead of the Eph defense, making it 5-2 Bowdoin.
Messina turned aside 11 of 12 Eph shots on the day giving him 47 saves on the day. Ryan Purdy made 33 saves.
With the win, Bowdoin improves to 18-7-1 and earns the NESCAC’s automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament. Williams finished the year at 16-8-3.