NESCAC FINALS – MARCH 7

MIDDLEBURY 3 BOWDOIN 2

Pictures of the Middlebury team celebrating their NESCAC championship.

Good discussion of the game from both coaches in the (Brunswick) Times Record.

A link to an article in the Portland Press Herald, with some nice comments on Charlie Townsend by Middlebury Coach Bill Beaney.

A link to Tim Costello’s good USCHO article about the Midd-Bowdoin game.

In a terrific game between the two best teams in the NESCAC, Middlebury wins on a great shot late in the third period (1:42 to go) by Charlie Townsend. Middlebury returns to the winner’s circle for the first time since 2007, having fallen in the finals for the past two seasons, while Bowdoin continues its record of futility in the NESCAC finals, falling to the Panthers for the fourth time in the past 6 years. Regardless of that historical backdrop, this was the first victory in a NESCAC championship game for all but one of the Middlebury players (Capt. John Sullivan played in the 2007 championship team) so it was a first time experience for almost every member of the team. The sting was probably extra painful for Bowdoin’s stellar senior class, 7 of whom played in today’s game and the 2007 championship game with Middlebury, which Bowdoin also lost on home ice in a game that was also basically a one-goal game (the score was 4-2 but the fourth goal was an empty netter).

Today’s game consists of 2 games within 1 in many respects. In the first period Bowdoin spends too much time in the penalty box, falling behind 2-0 on 2 Mathieu Dubuc power play goals, one of which came 7 seconds after a too-many-men-on-the-ice penalty at the 3:45 mark.  The second one comes with just 18 seconds left in the period as Bowdoin unsuccessfully fights to stave off a 5-3 Middlebury advantage.

In the second period, Bowdoin re-enters the game but continues its battle with the zebras, losing leading goal scorer Jeff Fanning for the game to a 5-minute major and a game misconduct at the 6:14 minute mark. Sometime in the first half of the game, Middlebury also loses leading point scorer and goal scorer Martin Drolet for the game to an injury. Bowdoin is surprisingly undaunted by the Fanning loss as senior Ryan Blossom cuts the Middlebury lead in half less than a minute into the major with a short-handed tally. Just a 29 seconds later, Tim McGarry puts Bowdoin down by 2 men with a cross check but the Polar Bear penalty killers are up to the task and kill off Middlebury’s 2-man advantage.

In the third period, the zebras put their whistles away and Bowdoin establishes control of the game and the momentum appears to be running all Bowdoin’s way as Blossom scores his second goal of the game at the 10:37 mark of the game and the Polar Bears dominate the action. It is not to be Bowdoin’s day, however, as Charlie Townsend caps off his outstanding senior year with an unassisted goal at 18:18, which was one of those goals that you knew was going to happen as it unfolded. Townsend gets a slight jump just as the announcer start talking about the upcoming overtime and flies down the right wing, letting fly a wicked wrist shot from between the blue line and the circle that just beat Bowdoin’s Chris Rossi.

Bowdoin pulls the goaltender seconds after the Townsend game changer and has many opportunities in the last 1:30 but the sell-out home crowd goes home disappointed in the outcome but perhaps appreciative of having witnessed one of those games that lives up to its advance billing and having participated in the coming to life of Bowdoin’s wonderful  new hockey house, the Sidney J Watson Arena, in such fine fashion for a fabulous weekend of college hockey.

On the day, Middlebury outshoots Bowdoin 28-19 but the difference in territorial control is largely due to the fact Bowdoin is the recipient of more than twice as many penalty minutes as Middlebury (17 to 8).  From my vantage point, I could not tell whether the discrepancy in penalty minutes was warranted but I did see that the refs let a few slide in the third period, including a couple that could have been called against Middlebury while Bowdoin was on the attack in the last 1:42. But I suppose in the end zebras are part of the games and a physical team like Bowdoin should be prepared for ending up on the short end of the stick  in penalty minutes.

Forgot to thank Bowdoin for the superlative Internet coverage of the game – viewers topped out at 1100. It’s a great way for NESCAC schools to keep their alums connected for the big events. There were a few viewers who complained about seeing a choppy picture or a lag between the video and audio signal but, before they complain further, they need to look into their computers or software or their Internet service because my reception was close to perfect . . . .

Advertisements

One Response

  1. FYI…pics form the NESCAC final, as well as photos of all Midd men’s games at website above. the photos you linked to on the Middlebury College athletics page were also done by me.

    thanks…limpidus – nice page here, well-written, even-handed stuff. I have enjoyed your blog this year. Hope you keep it up next season

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: