Men’s hockey edged by Holy Cross, rebounds by lighting up Harvard

The Bates men’s hockey team suffered a setback in their playoff race last Friday, losing 5-3 to the Holy Cross crusaders before bouncing back on a road trip to beat Harvard 6-4. The Bobcats moved to a 2-1-2 league record in splitting the two-game weekend set.

On Friday, Bates suffered from some defensive lapses and a failure to convert on the power play late in losing to the Crusaders. On the whole, however, the Bobcats hung tough against a “good, fast, and physical,” Holy Cross team, according to senior team captain and forward Chris DeBrase. Sophomore forward Emmett Shipway tallied the team’s first goal, followed by freshman forward Brad Rutkin. Senior alternate captain Sean Thomas added another goal in the second period, but the Bobcats trailed 5-3 heading into the third.

Despite having about eight minutes worth of power play opportunity in the final period, the Bobcats simply could not solve the Crusaders’ goaltender, and ultimately fell short. “Although we had a couple of underclassmen step up on Friday, it just wasn’t enough,” noted Thomas. Senior goaltender Matt Mosca was pulled in the second period after allowing all five goals, and fellow senior Garrett Johnson played well in relief, posting a shutout in the third period.

On Saturday, the Bobcats rebounded against the Harvard Crimson in a game that would have made Ben Affleck’s character in Good Will Hunting proud. While the Crimson may possess slightly more prestige in the classroom, they were no match for the physicality and speed of the Bobcats on the ice. DeBrase and Thomas each scored two goals.

Defenseman and senior alternate captain Ty Silvey added a goal in addition to some punishing hits in the defensive zone. Freshman forward Mark Upton added Bates’ sixth goal, as the Bobcats prevailed 6-4. Johnson, who received the start on Saturday, had another strong game. “It was a great team effort on Saturday. Garrett played well both games, especially as he made over 30 saves against Harvard,” commented DeBrase.

When asked about the team’s playoff chances, DeBrase responded, “we can afford to lose one more game but we need to win 6 out of the next 7, which we think is possible.”

Bates will seek to ride their explosive offense, as well as some hot goaltending in Johnson, in their bid to reach the postseason. The Bobcats will next play at home against MIT on Friday night at 7pm. The bad blood between these two rivals runs back for years, and few would be surprised if there were to be a brawl on the ice.

By: Doug Steinberg