Jeffs Storm Back to Upset Fifth-Ranked Bowdoin, 3-2

Safstrom2
Brian Safstrom '14 provided Amherst with the game winner midway through the third period.

By Dan Pozner ’11

AMHERST, MA – The Amherst College men’s ice hockey team upset fifth-ranked Bowdoin College, 3-2, this evening in front of a packed house at Orr Rink. After falling into a 2-0 hole, the Lord Jeffs fought back with three unanswered goals and held on for a huge win in the first game of a pivotal weekend doubleheader.

The Amherst defensive unit and goaltender Cole Anderson ’11 (Sylvan Lake, Alberta) came up huge all night against a Bowdoin offense that entered the weekend leading all of Division III in goals per game (4.88). Amherst improves its NESCAC record to 7-4-3 (9-6-4 overall), while Bowdoin drops to 9-5-0 (13-5-0 overall).

The Amherst defense was able to hold Bowdoin’s high-powered offense in check throughout the majority of the first period. Bowdoin broke the deadlock with six minutes left in the first when junior Erik Olsen corralled a pass along the boards and sent a pass in front of the net to senior Jeff Fanning, who snuck a shot between Anderson’s legs, giving Bowdoin a 1-0 advantage.

Bowdoin’s penalty kill unit was put to the test late in the first after a five-minute game misconduct penalty and a slashing call gave Amherst a five-on-three advantage for a full two minutes. The Lord Jeffs’ best opportunity came when first-year Andrew Kurlandski (Kirkwood, MO) blasted a slap shot from the top of the zone that appeared to be heading into the back of the net until Bowdoin goaltender Steve Messina flashed his glove across and snagged the puck from midair. The Amherst offense was unable to create any more opportunities during the remainder of the power play and headed into the first intermission trailing 1-0.

Bowdoin doubled its lead during a two-man advantage midway through the second period when Ryan Carney settled a rebound from the point and sent a slap shot past Anderson for a 2-0 lead.

A shorthanded Amherst responded a minute later when a long pass led to a 2-on-1 break for the Jeffs. First-year Elliot Bostrom (McLean, VA) passed across to sophomore Nick Brunette (Chaska, MN), who was able to lift home his own rebound, cutting the deficit to 2-1.

Amherst junior co-captain Eddie Effinger (Belleville, IL) evened the score at 2-2 midway through the final period. Messina was unable to hold on to a hard shot from senior Luke Arnold (Lincoln, MA), and Effinger jammed home the rebound for his seventh goal of the year.

Only 24 seconds later, a centering pass from first-year Brian Safstrom (Woodinville, WA) deflected off a Bowdoin defender and found its way into the back of the net, giving Amherst its first lead of the night at 3-2.

The Polar Bears pulled their goalie with just over a minute remaining, and a late Amherst penalty left the Jeffs skating four against six for the final minute of the game. Anderson held strong, deflecting several late shots wide, and as the final horn sounded the Amherst bench flooded the ice in celebration.

Anderson ended an impressive night with 18 saves for the Jeffs, and Bowdoin’s Messina turned away 19 shots.

The Jeffs will look to ride the momentum of tonight’s win into tomorrow when a strong Colby College squad comes to town. The game is set to begin at 3 p.m. at Orr Rink.

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