BRUNSWICK, Maine – The Bowdoin College men's ice hockey team advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament for the third time in the last four years with a 5-2 victory over UMass Dartmouth on Wednesday evening at Watson Arena.
With the win, the fifth-ranked Polar Bears (23-3-2) establish a new single-season school record for victories and move on to play seventh-ranked Utica in the quarterfinals on Saturday evening at 8:30 p.m. in Utica, N.Y. More information on the game will be available on Thursday.
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 could only break 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 just 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 just 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 under 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, however, as Kyle Lockwood snapped a shot from above the left circle that slipped inside the left post with just 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.