Men’s hockey dominates St. Joseph’s College

In the beginning of a busy stretch during the second half of the season last Thursday, Bates men’s hockey earned a resounding 10-2 victory over St. Joseph’s College. Although the Bobcats missed an alluring opportunity to compete against a dominant Southern New Hampshire due to treacherous travel conditions, they have plenty of important challenges in their near future.

Against St. Joseph’s, the Bobcats immediately seized control of the action with several early goals, including one on the very first shift of the game by senior captain Chris DeBrase. The top line of DeBrase, senior alternate captain Sean Thomas, and freshman Mark Upton completely throttled St. Joseph’s with an amazing performance that included nine of the 10 Bates goals. (Marking the second time in their careers where DeBrase and Thomas both netted hat tricks on the same night).

With just four goals conceded in their last two games compared to 17 scored, there has not been any doubt recently that the Bobcats would ultimately triumph. Junior defender Erick MacLean notes that, in these situations, “it can be hard to maintain focus, but it can be great for team morale to handily beat a team.” Indeed, a lot of valuable confidence and an understanding of how to play effectively together can be gleaned from these blowouts.

According to DeBrase, “the biggest thing for us going forward is to maintain the goal scoring at a high level and to keep playing sound defense.” From the perspective of MacLean, Bates’ ability to take early leads and establish defensive cohesiveness are specific keys. Thomas particularly praises the back end of the Bates defense, commenting, “Part of our success so far has to be attributed to our two senior goaltenders Matt Mosca and Garret Johnson. Regardless of who is playing that night, our players are going to have some extra confidence making plays, knowing we can rely on our tenders to bail us out of shaky situations.”

On January 29th, Bates should finally get the chance on the road to face Southern New Hampshire, “the team to beat,” in the words of MacLean. But before this encounter, the Bobcats have two additional matchups, against Holy Cross at home on the 24th, and a rematch versus Harvard away on the 25th. In their season opener, the Bobcats forfeited a 3rd period lead to the Crimson in a contentious game that ended in a tie, so they’ll be especially focused on securing a win in Cambridge.

With the next several weeks continuing in the same vein until the regular season conclusion at Bowdoin on February 13th, Bates’ physical and mental stamina will be tested. DeBrase believes that “how coach manages practices will become important down the stretch,” as the team attempts to conserve energy. Thomas states, “I think our fitness level is in a pretty good position right now, but we’ll see how that holds up when we have 3 game weekends.”

Still, the big picture is pretty simple despite the array of league matchups coming up. As MacLean says, “We all want to make it to the playoffs this season, and we have to win to make it happen.” That clear resolve will be at the forefront of the players’ minds as they toil across New England in the coming weeks. The Bobcats will host Holy Cross this coming Friday January 24th, at 7pm.

By: Noah Levick