Ryan Murphy ’17
The top-seeded Trinity Bantams struggled all afternoon to keep up with the Bowdoin Polar Bears. Going into the NESCAC semifinals, the Bantams were ranked 3rd in the nation, and heavily favored in matchup against Bowdoin.
Bowdoin’s John McGinnis got the scoring started early in the first period when he trickled a wrist shot past Bantams goalie Ben Coulthard ’14. The packed Koeppel Community Sports Center surprisingly erupted with the cheers of Bowdoin fans after the goal.
The Bantams responded with 3:30 left in the first period as forward Sean Orlando ’17 beat a Bowdoin defenseman one-on-one and lofted the puck over the Bowdoin goalie to tie the game. It wasn’t long before the Polar Bears retook the lead on the power play goal by Harry Matheson. The first period ended with Bowdoin carrying a 2-1 lead.
The momentum didn’t cease in the second period as the Polar Bears stormed to a 4-1 lead over the Bantams, following goals by John McGinnis and Chris Fenwick. With just over three minutes remaining in the second period, and a three-goal deficit, the Bantams found life off a goal from Joe Horak ’16.
With the Bantams surging, Bowdoin goalie Kyle Fenkell, who had a game-high 34 saves, was able to make multiple stops in the final minutes of the second period. However, the unlikeliest of goals brought the Bantams to within one of the Polar Bears going in to the second intermission. With just 1.9 seconds left in the second period, Elie Vered ’16 slapped a face-off to Jim Burt ’16 who shot the puck across the line just before the buzzer sounded. The Bantams carried all the momentum into the locker room despite trailing 4-3 at the end of the second period.
Trinity came out strong in the third period with multiple shots on-goal, but Kyle Fenkell kept up his impressive performance. Just under seven minutes in to the period, Connor Quinn of Bowdoin scored on a one-timer to return the margin to two.
With Bowdoin seemingly recapturing control of the game, Ben Coulthard ‘14 made an impressive save to stop a Polar Bear shot from point-blank range. Paul Burns ’15 also made a great defensive play to save a shot by Bowdoin’s Colin Downey, which would have extinguished any hopes the Bantams may have still had.
The final minutes of the game were agonizing, as the Bantams couldn’t break through the strong Bowdoin defense, even during a power play. Trinity pulled goalie Ben Coulthard ‘14 with under a minute left. Up one man, forward Ryan Cole ’17 drilled a goal from the right wing, giving Trinity a chance with just 42.8 seconds left. The game ended with players from both sides scrambling for the puck up against the boards, but the Bantams were unable to get another shot on the Polar Bear’s net.
Bowdoin held NESCAC player of the year, Jackson Brewer ’15, and first team all-NESCAC forwards, Ryan Cole and Michael Hawkrigg ’16, in check for most of the game, helping them defeat the top seeded Trinity. Unfortunately, the Bantam’s season has come to a close, as they were not selected to compete in the NCAA Division III National tournament. However, the 2013-2014 season was one of the most memorable seasons the Bantams have had in the past decade.