Men's Hockey Overcomes Bowdoin with Barrage of Goals in Third Period
Issue   |   Tue, 03/01/2016 - 23:45
Mark Box
First-year Katelyn Pantera has the fifth-most points on the team, with 13. She has also contributed seven assists over the course of the season.

When asked about his team’s quarterfinal victory this weekend, Amherst men’s ice hockey coach Jack Arena’s face was overwhelmed by his joyful grin. “It was crazy. Just crazy,” he said, shaking his head. Arena could be referring to many things about the game — the fact that sixth-seeded Amherst took down third-seeded Bowdoin, 8-5, the fact that the purple and white tallied six goals in the third period, or the fact that they fought back from a 3-0 deficit early in the game. The final period was surreal for the Amherst team, who put as many pucks in the net as saved shots on goal.

The game began with equal play on both sides, and the two teams matched each other for shots and chances. However, Bowdoin struck first, about halfway through the first period. Camil Blanchet’s line beat the Amherst defenders with quick passes to put the Polar Bears on the scoreboard. They ended the period on a high note as well, widening the lead to 2-0 during a last-minute 5-on-3 power play. Feeling good, the Polar Bears continued their momentum with Austin Ricci’s top-shelf snipe at the beginning of the second period. Amherst made their debut on the scoreboard a few minutes later, when center Chris Roll ’17 won a face-off in the offensive zone that fell to Brendan Burke ’16, who buried the puck. Conor Brown ’16 continued Amherst’s hard work to close the goal gap by taking a shot that rolled off Bowdoin goaltender Peter Cronin’s shoulder into the net. Within a single goal now, Amherst attacked Bowdoin with renewed intensity, but were unable to even the score after Polar Bear Cody Tedesco’s rebound tally at 14:51 into the second period.

The purple and white entered the final stanza, possibly the last of their season, losing 4-2. Patrick Arena began the period with an unassisted goal during the opening power play. Amherst did not have time to enjoy the single-goal differential, however, since only seven seconds later a Bowdoin forward dumped the puck into the Amherst zone from outside the blue line; the puck was deflected toward the net and, in an unlucky moment for Amherst netminder Dave Cunningham ’16, somehow slid over the goal line, pulling Bowdoin again ahead by two.

Then came Amherst’s time. Coach Jack Arena opined that his team had played well all afternoon. However, “the puck finally started bouncing our way” for the purple and white two minutes into the third period, Arena said.

The first in a barrage of Amherst goals came 34 seconds after Bowdoin’s final goal of the game, when Austin Ho ’17 took a shot from the blue line. Cronin, screened by players in front of him, didn’t see the puck as it slid by him into the net. Three minutes later, Roll knotted the score for the first time since the first period. Two minutes after that, Ho struck again for his second goal of the contest, netting the game-winner off a pass from Burke. Despite the flood of goals, 13 minutes still remained on the clock.

The goal scoring abated for a bit, with both teams battling, but Amherst’s David White ’18 was next to break through. This talented forward escaped a one-on-one situation, giving himself an open lane to the opposing net. Uncontested, White made a quick move to beat Cronin. Bowdoin’s shocking decline from a two-goal lead to being down by two goals prompted a timeout with three minutes remaining for the Polar Bears to save their season and extend their playoff run. Soon after, Bowdoin head coach Terry Meagher pulled Cronin. Unfortunately for Meagher, Will Vosejpka ’18 took advantage of the open net to finalize the score at 8-5.

The purple and white do not have much time to enjoy their success against Bowdoin since they will contest the next round of NESCAC playoffs on Saturday.