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Men's hockey sweeps Bowdoin, wins thriller at Alfond Rink

WATERVILLE, Maine -- The Colby College men's hockey team battled back all night long to finally take the lead in the third period and then had to survive a wild final minute of play in a 5-4 victory over rival Bowdoin College on Saturday night at Alfond Rink.

A day after the goalies dominated in a 2-1 Mule win in Brunswick, Colby moved to 5-1 overall and stayed in first place in the NESCAC with a 4-0 record. The Polar Bears drop to 3-4 overall and 1-3 in the league.

"Very excited for how the guys handled some adversity and competed against a very good Bowdoin team. We were able to stay with the process and not get hung up on the outcome," Colby head coach Blaise MacDonald said. "What made it especially nice was the huge group of alumni that were here to support Colby and our team."

Colby swept the two games with Bowdoin for the first time since the 2009-10 season (4-2, 4-3 wins). The Mules also went 1-0-1 against the Polar Bears in 2001-02. Bowdoin has five sweeps of the two contests, but all the other years were split since the NESCAC began a playoff system in the 2000-01 season.

In a bizarre final 1:05 of the contest, Colby went from having a man advantage to being three men down. With 11 seconds remaining on a Bowdoin penalty, Colby was penalized for having too many men on the ice. MacDonald was issued a bench penalty for arguing the call. 

After pulling goalie Peter Cronin with 52 seconds remaining, the Polar Bears had a rare three-man advantage. Colby goalie Andrew Tucci made a big save with 35.2 seconds remaining on a blast by Thomas Dunleavy, but the Mules' defenders did a great job of clearing the puck and not allowing any more good chances.

The Mules scored two goals in a span of 46 seconds to turn a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 lead. After going 0-for-6 on the power play, the Mules scored with the extra man on Jack Burton's blast from the right point. Nick O'Connor won the face-off on his knees back to Geoff Sullivan, who pushed the puck over to Burton to tie the game at 4-4 with 13:30 remaining.

Burton was at it again moments later when he made a dive to keep the puck in the Bowdoin zone. Cam MacDonald came up with the loose puck and got it to EJ Rauseo all alone in front. Rauseo took his time, got Cronin to the ice, and flicked a shot in for the game winner.

The Mules appeared like they would have an easy time over the last 10 minutes when Bowdoin picked up penalties with 9:36, 7:37, and 2:54 to play. That all changed with the too many men on the ice penalty.

The Polar Bears never trailed until Rauseo's winner. Bowdoin went ahead 1-0 on Cody Todesco's power play goal at 16:37 of the first period. Matthew Lison came in on the right side and had his shot saved by Tucci, but Todesco was right on the rebound and slammed it in the net.

Colby tied the game at 1-1 just 50 seconds later on a goal by Phil Klitirinos with 2:33 to play. JP Schuhlen hit the crossbar on a shot to start the play. EJ Rauseo came up with the puck and rifled a shot that Cronin was able to save, but Klitirinos cleaned up the rebound to tie the contest.

The Polar Bears took the biggest lead of the night at 3-1 with two goals in the opening 2:26 of the second period. Matthew Lison scored on a one-timer in front after taking a pass from Austin Ricci, who was behind the net. Bowdoin scored on the power play at 2:26 when Lison pushed a pass to Chris Wallace, who walked in and ripped a shot past Tucci.

Burton started his big night with a terrific individual effort to cut the lead to 3-2 at 4:03 of the second. He skated in on the right side with a defender on his hip, but managed to make the turn and came diving across the crease as he shot the puck past Cronin.

Schuhlen scored his first collegiate goal at 16:12 of the second period to tie the game at 3-3. Klitirinos won a puck on the right boards near the blue line. His pass sent in Schuhlen alone on Cronin.

Bowdoin went ahead again at 2:54 of the third period after coming out strong from intermission. Spencer Antunez won a puck on the left boards, passed it to Dunleavy, who immediately passed it back to Antunez for the score and a 4-3 lead.

Tucci finished with 20 saves in goal for Colby, while Cronin made 35 stops for the Polar Bears.


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