Strain Scores Six as Bates Edges Colby in 3OT

LEWISTON, Maine -- Bates sophomore Jack Strain scored his sixth goal of the game with 2:23 remaining in the third overtime period, giving the Bobcats a 13-12 victory over Colby in both teams' regular-season finale on Wednesday at Garcelon Field.

The Bobcats (7-6, 5-5 NESCAC) conclude the regular season with their best overall and conference marks since 2006, when they were 9-5 overall and 5-4 in NESCAC play. Bates finishes in a three-way tie for fifth place in the conference with Bowdoin and Hamilton. In head-to-head play among the three, Bowdoin is 2-0, Bates 1-1 and Hamilton 0-2; thus Bates earns the sixth seed will play at No. 3 seed Tufts on Saturday in the conference quarterfinals, signifying Bates' first postseason berth since 2007.

Colby finishes the season with a 6-9 overall record, 2-8 in NESCAC play.

Colby won the faceoff to start the third four-minute overtime period, and called timeout with 3:07 on the clock. Out of the timeout, John Grimaldi's shot rang off the right goalpost, to Bates junior goalie Charlie Kazarian's (Providence, R.I.) left, and Bates senior Dan Hines (Manchester, Mass.) corralled the ground ball. Hines cleared, drifted behind Colby's goal and passed to sophomore Nick Ford (Columbus, Ohio) on the other side of the field. Heavily guarded, Ford dished from the left baseline to Strain, located about 15 yards away from Colby's goal on the left wing. Strain's quick sidearm shot passed Colby goalie Tyler Will and into the net, bringing a big roar from the crowd of about 900 that had gathered for the game on a warm, sunny day. Strain's teammates raced on the sideline rushed at him in an exuberant celebration.

The Mules led 4-1 early in the second quarter and 5-2 with 4:58 left in the first half, before the Bobcats ended the half with a 3-0 run to tie the game at 5-5. Neither team led by more than a goal the rest of the way, in a very evenly played contest. Bates took 54 shots to Colby's 49, as both teams' goalies piled up the saves: Colby's Will finished with 21 saves, while Bates' Kazarian collected a career-high 19. Both goalies had 17 saves apiece at the end of regulation.

Both teams scored three goals apiece in the third quarter, for an 8-8 tie heading into the fourth. Bates senior Rob Highland's (Yarmouth, Maine) first goal of the game with 11:55 to go, on senior Kyle Starr's (Concord, N.H.) third assist of the contest, made it 9-8 in Bates' favor. Colby's Garth Franklin answered three minutes later with an unassisted tally, his lone goal of the game. Reed Lewallen scored his first goal since March 16 on a feed by Bates sophomore Jack Allen (Westfield, N.J.) with 6:38 to go.

Colby answered with back-to-back goals by John Jennings and Derek Youngman at the 5:31 and 4:34 marks to assume its first lead since 6-5 early in the third quarter. Jennings backed his defender closer and closer to the face of Bates' goal, then turned and shot around his hip, likely never seen by Kazarian. Youngman made it 11-10 Colby when he got a step on his defender behind Bates' goal and beat Kazarian one-on-one from an angle in the left flat.

Highland tied it back up for Bates with 2:17 to go, as he ran the perimeter of the circle before unleashing a shot from a tight angle on the left just before running out of shooting room. Bates junior Paul Donovan (Norwell, Mass.) won the ensuing faceoff, and with 1:37 to go junior Will Gilkeson (Cleveland Heights, Ohio) got his second goal of the game from 15 yards out on a left-handed offering.

Colby's Max Eberhart outdueled Donovan for the next faceoff, and the Mules called timeout with 41.1 seconds on the clock. Out of the timeout, Greg McKillop drove toward Bates' goal before passing back out to the top of the circle to Ian Deveau, whose wicked bounce shot landed caromed just under the crossbar for another game-tying goal with 32 seconds left in regulation, sending the game into extra periods.

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