Junior Keith Buehler had a hand in every Wesleyan (Conn.) goal, including scoring the overtime winner, as the Cardinals rallied from a three-goal deficit to deal No. 4 Bowdoin its first loss of the season 6-5 in overtime on Friday.
Buehler capped a hat trick on the game-winning goal with 50 seconds remaining in the extra session to lift the Cardinals (6-6-1, 2-4-1 NESCAC). The Polar Bears (12-1-1, 7-1-1 NESCAC) were the lone remaining unbeaten team in Division III and had not lost a home game since December 3, 2011 — a string of 15 consecutive contests.
The Polar Bears and Cardinals exchanged puck possession during the opening minutes of play, but Bowdoin was the first on the board at 8:56. It took just over one minute for Bowdoin to double its lead. A pass from the high slot connected with the stick of a Polar Bear who one-touched the puck to put Bowdoin up 2-0.
Wesleyan took 11 shots to open the second period, but back-to-back saves by the Bowdoin keeper from point-blank range held the visitors at zero. Seven minutes into the period Bowdoin picked up a loose puck in the left circle and landed a shot inside the right post, putting the Polar Bears up 3-0. Wesleyan capitalized on a power play at 10:24 when senior Tommy Hartnett quickly got a shot off from the low left circle, to slip the puck past the Bowdoin goalie for the Cardinals’ first goal. Five minutes later Bowdoin answered, making the score 4-1. The Cardinals were able to score with 20 seconds left in the frame when Buehler shoveled the puck into the net for Wesleyan’s second goal of the game, ending the period at 4-2.
Wesleyan’s power play cashed in again at 7:49 of the third. Buehler went top shelf on the Bowdoin net, with a hard shot from the top of the right circle. The Cardinals tied the game 24 seconds later with their fourth power-play goal of the game and shortly after, senior Micah Ehiorobo scored Wesleyan’s fourth goal of the game.
With 5:47 to play, Bowdoin stopped the Wesleyan flurry when Bowdoin fired a shot on goalie Nolan Daley that glanced off his chest, and found the net. The Cardinals tied the game at five with just 24 seconds remaining, sending the game into overtime. The Cardinals pulled their goalie to put an extra attacker on the ice and Hartnett was able to snap off a shot from the right side past the Polar Bear netminder.
With 50 seconds remaining on the clock, Keith Buehler took the puck behind the Bowdoin net and came around the right side to squeeze a shot inside of the goalie’s skate and the post.
Daley made 27 saves for the Cardinals as Wesleyan generated a 38-32 edge in shots. Buehler finished with six points on three goals and three assists. Senior Nick Craven had four assists for the visitors, extending his point-scoring streak to 10 games.