No. 13 Bowdoin Edges Wesleyan in NESCAC Quarterfinals

BRUNSWICK, Maine - Bowdoin took an early lead and held off Wesleyan, 6-4, in a defensive struggle in the quarterfinals of the NESCAC Tournament Saturday at Pickard Field.

The third-seeded Polar Bears (12-4) advance to next weekend's semifinals at Tufts University, where they will face second-seeded Trinity. The sixth-seeded Cardinals see their season come to a close with a record of 9-6.

Chris Williamson made 15 saves in the winning effort for Bowdoin, who got outstanding play from several of their defensive players led by Sether Hanson (three caused turnovers, four ground balls) and Matthew Egan (two caused turnovers, three ground balls). Billy Bergner paced the Polar Bear offense with two goals and two assists.

The Cardinals held a 37-20 advantage in shots, with much of the margin coming via a 16-2 edge in the final quarter. Grant Covington stopped nine shots while defender Brendan Hanley scored a goal, had four caused turnovers and three ground balls for the Cardinals.

After Matt Prezioso took advantage of an early penalty call against the Polar Bears to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead at 10:13 of the opening quarter, the Bowdoin defense locked down Wesleyan for the next 38:19, holding the visitors off the board until late in the third period. Meanwhile, Griffin Cardew replied just 24 seconds later to even the score for Bowdoin and spark a first-period surge that included tallies from Keegan Mehlhorn and Berger to give the hosts a 3-1 edge after 15 minutes.

Bowdoin would roll off three more goals, two in the second quarter from Nathan Fritts and Christopher Anderson, and another from Berger to open the third quarter, to extend their lead to 6-1. Teddy Citrin was able to trim the lead to 6-2 with a marker late in the third period for Wesleyan.

Wesleyan dominated the time of possession in the fourth quarter, taking 16 shots and earning a pair of man-up opportunities. But the Cardinals could not solve Williamson, who made six stops in the frame, until 4:54 remaining when Hanley scored a transition goal to cut it to 6-3. Wesleyan added another goal from Christian Kennedy with 1:01 to play but never had another possession.

Bowdoin's Brendan Hughes edged Wesleyan's Jeffrey Giocondi in the face-off battle, 7-6. Wesleyan went 1-5 with the extra man while Bowdoin went 0-6.

Bowdoin improved to 3-1 all-time in NESCAC Tournament play against Wesleyan and advance to the NESCAC semifinals for the fifth consecutive year. The Polar Bears will look to avenge a regular-season loss to Trinity, who took a 7-4 win on April 7 with three goals in the final 3:23. More details about game time and live coverage will be announced on Monday.


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