January 4, 2013

Downey's Late Winner Lifts Men's Hockey Over Amherst in Top-Ten Battle

AMHERST, Mass. - Colin Downey netted the game-winning goal with just over two minutes remaining in the third period to lift the sixth-ranked Bowdoin College men's ice hockey team over tenth-ranked Amherst on Friday evening at Orr Rink.

The Polar Bears(10-0-1, 6-0-1 NESCAC) twice rallied from one-goal deficits to remain one of only two remaining unbeatens in Division III ice hockey. The Lord Jeffs (7-4-1, 4-3-0 NESCAC) held leads of 1-0 and 2-1 on goals by Johnny Van Siclen and Mike Moher, but Bowdoin was too much late, with Jay Livermore and Daniel Weiniger tallying second-period equalizers before Downey's winner.

Amherst wasted little time getting on the board, as Moher won the opening faceoff and found fellow co-captain Brandon Hew on the left point. The senior ripped a hard shot toward the net that was redirected in by Van Siclen for an Amherst goal just 11 seconds into the contest. Moher earned his seventh assist of the campaign and Hew his second on Van Siclen's eighth tally of the year. Action was back-and-forth for the remainder of the opening period, with goalies Nathan Corey and Steve Messina each turning in fine saves to keep the count at 1-0.

Bowdoin finally drew even midway through the second, as Livermore converted a Polar Bear power play with an impressive goal from the middle of the attacking third. It was the junior's first of the season, with John McGinnis earning his seventh assist on the play.

It took the Jeffs just 2:23 to counter, as Moher picked off an errant Bowdoin power-play pass and took it in for a strong breakaway finish, beating Messina into the upper left netting, his short-handed goal putting Amherst up, 2-1. The unassisted strike was Moher's fourth of the season.

The scoring flurry continued, however, as Bowdoin tallied a short-handed goal of its own just 2:39 later. A misplaced Jeff pass found Harry Matheson, who fed Weiniger for the finish, the senior's NESCAC-leading 10th of the year.

With the fireworks ending for the final minutes of the second and much of the third period, the neck-and-neck battle continued, with Amherst unable to convert a trio of power plays sandwiching the second intermission.

Bowdoin finally broke the deadlock with just 2:05 remaining in regulation, as Corey deflected an Ollie Koo shot from the front right, but the ensuing scrum in front of net saw Downey flip the puck over the Amherst netminder's head for the decisive goal. It was Downey's third tally of the season, while Koo earned his sixth assist and Matheson picked up another helper, his league-leading 10th of the season.

Messina improved to 7-0-0 on the year with a 22-save performance, while Corey made 18 stops. Bowdoin will return to action Saturday with a game at Hamilton slated for a 3:00 p.m. faceoff.