For a period, the six-win Huskies used their packed-in mentality to give the USCHO.com third-ranked Polar Bears some issues, even leading 1-0 on a Jon Grandinetti power-play goal after 20 minutes. But, Bowdoin put all that aside in the second period, generating five goals en route to a 5-1 victory.
The win gives the Polar Bears a 16-1-1 overall mark, with 10 days off before hosting NESCAC rival Amherst on Feb. 1.
Twice against USM (6-12-0 overall), Bowdoin tallied quick markers to seize control, and received solid saves from netminder Steve Messina, who finished with 23 saves.
John McGinnis tied the game for Bowdoin at 4:47 of the middle frame, and Harry Matheson tallied two goals and an assist.
“They play a very conservative game, very disciplined and tight, and you really have to work hard, and you could see how they packed it in and played their defensive style,” said Bowdoin College coach Terry Meagher of the Huskies. “This time of the year, it is still timely goals and timely saves. It doesn’t change. We had a timely goal by McGinnis, by Harry, and if Steve doesn’t make a couple big saves, that game could be a lot tighter.”
Bowdoin had two early power plays, but Huskies starting netminder Pat Farrington made 13 first period saves, and Grandinetti fired a wrister past a screened Messina with 5:24 remaining in the opening period for a 1-0 USM lead. Sam Guimond and Angelo Vrachnas each earned an assist.
“We were a little more responsible with the puck in the first period and had a lot of jump tonight,” said USM coach Jeff Beaney.
Bowdoin drove hard to the net throughout the second period, with McGinnis’ hard work paying off with the tying goal. Connor Quinn and Ollie Koo assisted.
“The first goal was important and got the wheels going,” said McGinnis of his tying goal. “Everyone marks Bowdoin on their schedule, and they came out hard on us. The last weekend was very big, beating Middlebury. It is very exciting this season. We have some swag and confidence right now.”
Robert Toczylowski and Matheson scored 1:11 apart at the midway point of the second for a 3-1 Bowdoin lead.
Messina turned aside Grandinetti on a 3-on-1 break moments later, and goals by Downey and Matheson in a 19-second span late in the frame gave the Polar Bears a 5-1 lead.
“They always play us hard,” said Matheson, who finished with two goals and an assists and praised linemates Daniel Weiniger (two assists) and Colin Downey (assist). “My linemates are so good and create chances for everyone.”
“Their goalie made some good saves, and we had to really work hard to score that power-play goal,” said Beaney, whose squad hosts St. Michael’s (Friday, 7 p.m.) and USCHO.com top-ranked Norwich (Saturday, 4 p.m.) this weekend.
“We’re very young and a little banged up. We have to learn to get the puck out into safer areas and slow the game down. But, Bowdoin picked up the pace. We got on our heels and gave up those goals.”
In the third period, Bowdoin protected its lead, receiving 10 saves from Messina, including a left-pad stop on Vrachnas and a stick save on Matt MacDonald.
“We ran four lines and kept it simple, played the game like we were in a tie game,” said Meagher of the third period.
Farrington turned aside 21 shots and allowed all five Bowdoin goals before being relieved by Josh Hillegas, who made 12 saves.