MIDDLETOWN, Conn. -- In a matchup of two top-20 ranked teams, No. 19 Wesleyan (Conn.) got the third goal of the game from Graham Macnab with 4:41 left in the fourth quarter to break a 10-10 tie and it stood up as the game-winner for the Cardinals in a 11-10 NESCAC victory against No. 18 Bowdoin on Saturday. Wesleyan, now 7-1 in the conference, has clinched a home game for the upcoming NESCAC tournament and can lock up the top seed with a triumph at Tufts in its next game.
Wesleyan jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, only to have the Polar Bears rattle off four consecutive goals in a span of 4:42 to take a 4-3 lead at the end of the first quarter. Wesleyan scored two of three goals during the second stanza as the teams were tied at 5 at intermission. A 3-1 Wesleyan burst in the third period spotted the Cardinals an 8-6 edge heading into the final 15 minutes. When Bowdoin scored four of the first five goals of the fourth quarter, the Polar Bears had their final lead at 10-9 with 7:27 left. That goal came just 14 seconds after Bowdoin had tied the game.
Wesleyan got the tying goal at 5:51 off the stick of Aidan Daniell, as he bounced in a hard shot just inside the left post for his 13th goal of the season. Just 1:10 later, Macnab completed his hat trick with his 16th of the year, getting a pass from Daniell and sending a shot along the ground through a maze of players from 10 feet inside the box past the Bowdoin goalie.
Wesleyan possessed the ball much of the final four minutes, calling timeout in the Bowdoin end twice. But after the second timeout, Bowdoin forced a Wesleyan turnover behind the Bowdoin net with 30 seconds left and Bowdoin got the ball into the Cardinal zone, calling timeout with 7 seconds remaining. Bowdoin got off a final shot but Wesleyan goalie Justin Schick made the save, his sixth of the game, to preserve the win.
Quentin DellaFera joined Macnab with a hat trick for Wesleyan, upping his seasonal goal total to 24. All three of his markers came in the first half.
Wesleyan had five penalties in the game while Bowdoin had none. The Cardinals' man-down defense did not allow a goal, including killing off a two-man down situation for 30 seconds during the first quarter.
Bowdoin owns a 39-25 edge in the longstanding series with Wesleyan but since 2000, Wesleyan holds a 12-11 lead in the past 23 meetings.