Bates men’s hockey beat Bridgewater State on Friday, tied Roger Williams on Saturday, then lost to MIT on Sunday during a grueling three-game home stand this past weekend.
Friday’s game against Bridgewater State marked the season debut of key Bobcat Sean Thomas, Bates’ leading scorer in each of his first two seasons. Thomas immediately made his impact felt by connecting off of a power-play breakout on an assist from junior defenseman (and alternate captain) Ty Silvey in the second period.
Thomas added another goal a few minutes later when he turned a loose puck into a breakaway and scored on a backhanded shot. Bridgewater cut the lead to 2-1 when the puck slipped by senior goaltender Joe Dell’Erario after a scramble on the crease, but Bates shut the door in the third period behind strong work from senior captain Jared Quenzel, Silvey, and Dell’Erario.
On Saturday, Bates hosted Roger Williams in the first ever meeting between the two teams. Roger Williams drew first blood, scoring early in the first period before Quenzel answered with an outside wrist shot to tie the game.
The game was physical throughout, as both teams looked to wear the other down. However, Roger Williams was able to put in two goals off deflections in the second period to take a 3-1 lead. After the defensive lapses, Bates junior goaltender Garrett Johnson stepped up his play and shut out the Roger Williams offense for the rest of the game.
Trailing by two with only eight minutes left, the Bobcats’ offense finally came to life as sophomore forward Erick Maclean found junior alternate captain Chris DeBrase on a beautiful cross-crease pass, and Debrase buried the puck to cut the lead to one goal.
Then, in a dramatic finish to regulation, Maclean again came through scoring on a wrist shot with just thirty seconds remaining to send the game to overtime. Right before time expired, DeBrase got the puck on a breakaway and rang the cross bar on a shot that would have won the game.
Neither team was able to score in the overtime period and the game ended in a draw.
On Sunday versus MIT, the Bobcats showed signs of wearing down from a demanding weekend of play. The game entered the third period with the teams tied at two, with Maclean and senior Tyler White scoring for Bates.
However, Bates broke down defensively in the third period. MIT scored four goals in the period, two of which came on power plays. Quenzel and Maclean both scored as Bates rallied, but exhaustion overcame the Bobcats, and Bates fell 6-4.
After an extremely disappointing first semester (0-7), Bates essentially needs to win the remainder of its games in order to remain in playoff contention in the NECHA league. However, with the returns of Thomas and junior goalie Matt Mosca, this may not be as impossible as it seems, especially considering how Bates played this past weekend.
“We still need to score more goals, but there were positive signs seeing some defensemen get on the score sheet. We played well overall, it was a great win Friday and a great comeback on Saturday,” remarked DeBrase.
The Bobcats leave for a road trip next weekend to face MIT and St. Anselm.