BRUNSWICK, Maine – Brendan Reich's first career hat trick lifted the Polar Bear men's ice hockey team to 7-1 victory over the University of Southern Maine on Friday evening at Sidney J. Watson Arena. Fourth-ranked Bowdoin improves to 9-2-0 (6-2-0 NESCAC) while the Huskies fall to 4-7-2 (2-6-0 ECAC East).
In a game that featured 31 penalties for 108 minutes, Bowdoin converted on four power play goals to cruise to their first win against the Huskies since January of 2007, snapping a three-game winless skid (0-2-1) against their Maine rivals. Reich had two assists to go with his hat trick while Daniel Weiniger added a goal and three assists. Jeff Fanning also scored twice for the home team.
Bowdoin opened the contest with a flurry, scoring three times in the first eight minutes to take a commanding lead. The Polar Bears got on the board just 3:47 into the contest as Reich controlled the puck in the USM zone, skated free around the left circle and wristed a shot over the shoulder of goaltender Braely Torris. Moments later, after a Huskies penalty, Fanning knocked home a loose puck in front at 5:15 to double the Polar Bear lead. Bowdoin continued to pressure the USM cage as Reich converted on his second goal of the period at 7:58, taking a pass on the wing from Jordan Lalor and tucking a backhand past Torris.
Southern Maine got on the board 3:52 into the second period, when Angelo Vrachnas collected a turnover in the Bowdoin zone and slapped the puck past Richard Nerland for his first career goal. The Huskies had a tremendous opportunity to cut into the advantage even further midway through the frame, earning a 5x3, but the Polar Bears killed off the penalties to maintain the two-goal lead heading into the final frame.
After a fracas to end the second period resulted in a pair of disqualifications and 3x3 play to start the third, Bowdoin took advantage of the open ice when Reich found Weiniger streaking up ice. Weiniger slipped the puck between the leg pads of Torris at 32 seconds to put the hosts back up by three goals. Seconds later, Colin Downey knocked home a rebound to increase Bowdoin's lead to 5-1. The Polar Bears killed off their second 5x3 disadvantage of the night and Reich sealed the hat trick at 12:32 when he redirected Tim McGarry shot in front of the net and Jeff Fanning rounded out the scoring with a goal at 14:37.
Nerland sealed the win for Bowdoin, making 28 saves between the pipes while Torris stopped 49 shots for the Huskies.
Photos courtesy of Brian Beard and Creative Images Photography