BRUNSWICK, Maine — Bowdoin advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament for the third time in the last four years with a 5-2 victory against UMass-Dartmouth on Wednesday at Watson Arena.
With the win, the fifth-ranked Polar Bears (23-3-2) established a new single-season school record for victories and move on to play seventh-ranked Utica in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
The win came despite the efforts of UMass-Dartmouth goaltender Ryan Williams, who stopped 51 shots in the loss. The Corsairs end their campaign with a record of 12-8-7.
The Polar Bears dominated the opening period, taking the first 17 shots of the game, but only broke through for a single goal. On the power play, Jay Livermore blasted a low slap shot from the point that slipped through the pads of Williams at 9:21. Williams kept his team in the game, however, making 18 saves in the frame to keep it a 1-0 Bowdoin lead after one period.
UMass-Dartmouth drew even on just their sixth shot of the game six minutes into the second period. A shot from above the right circle by William Colclough handcuffed Bowdoin goaltender Steven Messina. The rebound bounced left to the waiting stick of Evangelos Stefanou, who deposited the game-tying score at 6:19.
Bowdoin regained the lead three minutes later when Livermore took a hard shot from the blue line that deflected to the right of Williams. Dylan Shamburger pounced on the rebound and backhanded it into the goal at 9:40 to give the Polar Bears a 2-1 edge.
The Corsairs drew even again with six minutes left in the period as a scramble in front of the Bowdoin net saw Casey Skolnik slide a backhanded rebound past Messina at 14:32. The Polar Bears took advantage of a late hooking call to grab the lead before the second intermission as Kyle Lockwood snapped a shot from above the left circle that slipped inside the left post with 25 seconds left in the stanza.
UMass-Dartmouth opened the third period on the power play but it was Bowdoin who converted for a key insurance goal. Colin Downey picked off a pass at the blue line, skated to the slot and fed John McGinnis in front. McGinnis flipped the puck under the crossbar at 1:18 to make it a 4-2 game. With 7:53 remaining, Bowdoin created more breathing room as Colin Downey won a faceoff back to Al Milley. Milley snapped a shot that skipped through traffic and into the cage for a 5-2 Polar Bear lead.
Livermore and McGinnis had a goal and an assist apiece for Bowdoin while Downey pitched in two assists. Messina finished with 20 saves and improved to 13-3-1 on the season. Williams’ 51 saves were just shy of the Division III tournament single-game record of 54.
The victory was Bowdoin’s second all-time in NCAA tournament play as the team improved to 2-0 in NCAA games at Watson Arena. UMass-Dartmouth falls to 1-4 all-time in NCAA tournament play.