Middlebury netted a pair of goals in the third period, but Bowdoin held off the late Panther surge to come away with a 6-4 NESCAC victory in Kenyon Arena on Friday. Middlebury (0-1-0, 0-1-0) is right back on the ice Saturday, hosting Colby at 4:00 p.m., while the Polar Bears (1-0-0, 1-0-0) head to Williams for a 3:00 p.m. faceoff.
Bowdoin opened the scoring midway through the opening period when Ethan Kimball redirected Collin Van der Veen’s shot from the right point with 9:08 on the clock. The hosts came close to knotting the score two minutes later, as Polar Bear goalie Alex Zafonte got turned around in his crease, but still made a save on Cole Joslin’s shot. The Panthers scored the equalizer with 2:35 before the intermission on a play started on a nice breakout pass by Bret Pastor. Emack Bentley carried the puck into the zone and Zafonte got a piece of the Bentley’s shot, but it trickled over the goal line before a defender could sweep it away.
Both teams netted a pair of goals in the middle stanza with the hosts taking their first lead at the 7:45 mark. Middlebury’s Mitchell Allen snuck a shot from below the goal line past Zafonte’s skate along the right post, but Bowdoin countered 2:08 later when Max Ginsberg cashed in on a cross-ice feed from Ronnie Lestan. Graham Rutledge put the guests back in front with 6:16 remaining, capping a flurry of three shots from point-blank range for the Polar Bears. The visitors pushed the margin to 4-2 just 1:49 before the second break, as Lestan one-timed a pass from Cam Berube for late score.
Bowdoin jumped out to a 5-2 cushion 5:33 into the final period, when Joe Alexander knocked in a feed from Kyle Jadatz. The hosts gained some momentum when Zach Shapiro buried a rebound from the high slot after Zafonte had denied Michael Fahie’s shot from the right circle at 12:12. The Panthers cashed in on a power play exactly five minutes later, as Brendan Dawson slid in from the left point and wired a shot into the upper-right corner of the net. The Polar Bears iced the game when Berube deposited the puck into an empty net with 1:17 on the clock, while the Panthers had an extra skater after pulling goalie Brian Ketchabaw.
Ketchabaw finished with 20 saves in goal for the hosts, while Zafonte had 31 stops for Bowdoin.
Middlebury held a 35-26 edge in shots and went 1-4 on the power play, while the Polar Bears had one power-play marker in seven opportunities.