Jeffs End Season with 4-3 Overtime Loss to Bowdoin

Brian Safstrom '14 had a goal and an assist in the loss.

By Dan Pozner ’11

AMHERST, MA – The fourth-seeded Amherst College men’s ice hockey team fell in overtime, 4-3, against fifth-seeded Bowdoin College in the quarterfinal round of the NESCAC Championship today at Orr Rink. Amherst led on three separate occasions, but the Polar Bears were able to battle back each time, allowing Colin Downey to net the game winner with less than two minutes remaining in the extra session.

Amherst finishes the year at 12-9-4 overall (10-6-3 NESCAC), while Bowdoin improves to 16-7-1 (11-7-1 NESCAC). The Polar Bears will take on an opponent yet to be determined next Saturday in the conference semifinals.
Amherst jumped out to a 1-0 lead six minutes into the first period when junior Jeremy Deutsch (Huntington, NY) collected a pass at the point from first-year Brian Safstrom (Woodinville, WA) and ripped a low wrist shot inside the right post. The Lord Jeffs’ penalty kill held Bowdoin’s Division III-leading power play unit scoreless during two first-period opportunities, and Amherst headed into the first intermission leading 1-0.

Bowdoin’s first line came out with renewed energy, sending a flurry of shots at Amherst goalie Cole Anderson (Sylvan Lake, Alberta). During a power play five minutes into the period Bowdoin finally broke through when senior Brendan Reich snuck a shot past Anderson, evening the score at 1-1.

The Jeffs struck back five minutes later when goaltender Steve Messina was unable to control a quick shot from sophomore Dylan Trumble (Calgary, Alberta), and Safstrom jammed the rebound between Messina’s legs and across the goal line, giving Amherst a 2-1 advantage.

Bowdoin’s power play unit again evened the score with 6:58 to play in the second. During a scramble in front of the Amherst goal, Bowdoin’s Daniel Weiniger sent a no-look pass to an awaiting Harry Matheson, who lifted a shot into an open Amherst net to tie the game at 2-2.

Amherst soon regained the lead during a man advantage when junior Mark Colp (Wareham, MA) redirected a slap shot from sophomore Jamie Hawkrigg (Waterdown, Ontario) between Messina’s legs, sending the Jeffs into the second intermission with a 3-2 lead.

With 7:54 remaining in the final period, Bowdoin erased a one-goal deficit for the third time of the day when senior Jeff Fanning lifted a shot over Anderson’s shoulder and into the top netting. Neither team was able to break the 3-3 deadlock during the remainder of regulation, and the game headed to sudden-death overtime.

After 18 minutes of scoreless overtime play, Bowdoin’s Downey broke away from the Amherst defense and snapped a high shot into the top corner of the Amherst goal, as the Bowdoin bench flooded the ice to celebrate the dramatic 4-3 come-from-behind win.

Anderson finished the night with 36 saves for Amherst, while Messina turned away 31 shots in the win for the Polar Bears. Saturday marked the second time in as many years the Lord Jeffs had their season come to a close with an overtime loss in the conference quarterfinals.


2011 NESCAC Men’s Hockey Championship
Quarterfinal Round – Saturday, Feb. 26
No. 6 Colby def No. 3 Middlebury, 2-1
No. 5 Bowdoin def No. 4 Amherst, 4-3 (OT)
No. 8 Wesleyan at No. 1 Hamilton – 3 p .m.
No. 7 Trinity at No. 2 Williams – 4 p.m.

Semifinal Round – Saturday, Mar. 5
(Played at Highest Remaining Seed)
Highest Remaining vs. Lowest Remaining – 1 p.m.
Remaining Quarterfinal Winners – 4 p.m.

Championship Game – Sunday, Mar. 6
Semifinal Winners – 2 p.m.