Hockey begins season with tie of Harvard, then dismantles UMaine

Despite their failure to complete a dominant performance Saturday night against Harvard with a win, the Bates men’s hockey squad has started the season in impressive fashion. In an intense, physical matchup against the Crimson, Bates tied 3-3, with senior captain Chris DeBrase scoring the opener and senior assistant captain Sean Thomas adding two nifty goals. Although Bates disappointingly allowed two Harvard goals in the final four minutes, their power play success, cohesiveness, and grittiness are all positives they can carry into the season.

All three of Bates’ goals Saturday came via the power play, as the Bobcats capitalized on Harvard’s lack of discipline to create a slew of odd man chances. DeBrase feels that, “Our five on the power play have good chemistry with each other and we can all play each position on the power play.” Junior defender Eric MacLean helped orchestrate the power play primarily from the point, dictating the action by putting shots into the crease or shifting the attack. MacLean was encouraged by the fact that, “Whenever we turned the puck over, there was always a guy putting pressure on the opposition and getting the puck right back.”

That hustle was apparent in all phases of the game, though the goals from the power play unit were most instrumental in gaining momentum and firing up the spirited home crowd. DeBrase commented that, “All our lines just worked as hard as we could and the crowd definitely helped give us some energy.” The intensity from the players and fans alike picked up noticeably in the second period, which was filled with penalties, chances, and scuffles in what became a rather contentious encounter. In the middle of the period, with players from both teams in the penalty box after a skirmish, the pace and passion of the action escalated significantly. In this four on four scenario, Harvard and Bates both had chances to add goals, with each side hitting the post. The crowd was particularly raucous during this sequence, cheering on the Bobcats as they seemingly seized control of the game and managed to take a 3-1 lead into the third. The key to sustaining this momentum, according to Thomas, was the ability of “all three of our lines to break the puck out with ease to maintain a solid forecheck.”

In a frank assessment of the final result, DeBrase stated, “Honestly I think we just ran out of gas in the final minutes.” Considering that Harvard had already played seven games while Bates was competing in their first, this is certainly understandable. The Bobcats soon had an opportunity to work on their fitness and release any frustrations from the Harvard game at the University of Maine on Sunday night. They came through with a thorough 7-2 win, as Thomas tallied two more goals and fellow senior assistant captain Tyler Silvey scored his first two of the season as well. After senior goalie Matt Mosca’s solid performance against Harvard in goal, Garrett Johnson , yet another of the seven seniors on Bates’ experienced roster, played well in his first action against UMaine.

The Bobcats have already demonstrated their potential to have an outstanding season. The team was pleased with the support against Harvard, and hopes to give the fans a lot more to cheer about this year. Indeed, Thomas predicts, “I have full faith that Bates will win the NECHA (Northeast Collegiate Hockey Association) cup this year.”

By: Noah Levick
Contributing Writer of the Bates Student