Wesleyan Rallies From Three Goals Down To Stun Men's Hockey In Overtime

Ryan Collier had a goal and an assist in Friday's loss
Ryan Collier had a goal and an assist in Friday's loss

BRUNSWICK, Maine- Keith Buehler had a hand in every goal, including scoring the overtime winner, as the Wesleyan University men's ice hockey team rallied from a three-goal deficit to deal Bowdoin its first loss of the season, 6-5, in overtime at Watson Arena on Friday evening.

Buehler capped a hat trick with the game-winning goal with 50 seconds remaining in the extra session to lift the Cardinals (6-6-1, 1-4-1 NESCAC). The fourth-ranked Polar Bears (12-1-1, 7-1-1 NESCAC) were the lone remaining unbeaten team in Division III and had not lost a home game since December 3, 2011 - a string of 15 consecutive contests.

The Polar Bears and Cardinals exchanged puck possession during the opening minutes of play, but Bowdoin was first to make a statement when Dylan Shamburger received a pass from Timothy McGarry and skated up the left side beating two Wesleyan defenders to earn himself a one on one. A quick wrist shot to the right post, and Bowdoin was on the board at 8:56. It took just over one minute for Bowdoin to double its lead. Ryan Collier rifled off a pass from the high slot to connect with the stick of teammate Ollie Koo who one-touched the puck to put Bowdoin up 2-0.

Wesleyan took 11 unanswered shots to open the second period, but some impressive back to back saves by Steve Messina from point blank range held the visitors at zero.  At 7:19 into the period Chris Fenwick picked up a loose puck in the left circle and landed a shot inside the right post. The goal was Fenwick's first of the season, and put the Polar Bears up 3-0. Wesleyan capitalized on a power play at 10:24 when Tommy Hartnett quickly got a shot off from the low left circle, to slip the puck past Messina for the Cardinals' first goal. Five minutes later Bowdoin answered, making the score 4-1 when Connor Quinn took the puck to the left post and dished to the Collier in the slot, who one-touched the puck to the opposite post. The Cardinals were able to get an important score with 20 seconds left in the frame when Buehler shoveled the puck into the net for Wesleyan's second goal of the game, ending the period at 4-2.

Wesleyan's power play cashed in again at 7:49 of the third.  Buehler went top shelf on the Bowdoin net, with a hard shot from the top of the right circle. The Cardinal's tied the game 24 seconds later with their fourth power-play goal of the game. Micah Ehiorobo took a straight shot on net, which was blocked by Messina. The puck bounced to the right post off Messina's pads, where Buehler had an open net to net Wesleyan's fourth goal of the game.

With 5:47 to play, Bowdoin stopped the Wesleyan flurry when Colin Downey carried the puck down the left side from his own defensive end before firing a shot on goalie Nolan Daley that glanced off his chest, and found the net. But the Cardinals tied the game at 4-4 with just 24 seconds remaining, sending the game into overtime. The Cardinals pulled their goalie to put an extra attacker on the ice and Tommy Hartnett was able to snap off a shot from the right side past Messina.

The last second heroics continued for Wesleyan in overtime. With 50 seconds remaining on the clock, Keith Buehler took the puck behind the Bowdoin net and came around the right side to squeeze a shot inside of Messina's skate and the post.

Daley made 27 saves for the Cardinals. Messina had 32 saves in net for the Polar Bears. Buehler finished with six points on three goals and three assists. Nick Craven had four assists for the visitors.

Bowdoin takes on Trinity College tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 PM in Watson Arena. The Cardinals will be at Colby with a 3:00 PM start.