Mar 05

Irish eyes are smiling, as Colleen Finnerty and, the Polar Bears win the NESCAC Championship!!!

cf9The Bowdoin College, women’s hockey team, are the 2013 NESCAC Champions, as they get the win 2-1 over Middlebury, Panthers.

Polar Bears forward Colleen Finnerty, recalls the final moments of the game, “It was all a little surreal. The time seemed to pass quickly in the third after we scored the second goal, but once the clock hit 3 minutes, time froze. A thirty-second shift on the ice felt immensely longer. When Middlebury called the time-out with just under 5 seconds on the clock, we could taste the win. All we had to do was tie up and win the face-off and that was it. When the buzzer finally sounded, there was this feeling of happiness and a sense of relief. We had finally done it.”

The score was tied 1-1 at the end of the 2nd period. Then just under 3 minutes into the 3rd period Colleen, scored the game winning goal, and the Polar Bears win their first NESCAC Championship, in almost 10 years. “I had been on the ice for about thirty seconds, working low and fore-checking hard on the Middlebury defense with the other forwards. After a series of small battles, Middlebury gained control of the puck. They were in the midst of breaking the puck out of the zone when Kayte Holtz intercepted their pass up by the tops of the circles. She quickly sent a backhand pass over to me in front of the net, and I took the shot. With 17 minutes still left in the third period, we knew that the game was far from over. I don’t score many goals for our team so scoring always feels special to me, but this one in particular carries a lot of emotion with it. I was happy to give our team that boost of confidence, but the win was a true team effort. Everyone played their role on the ice and trusted that their teammates would do the same.”


Though the Polar Bears were playing the most important game of the NESCAC season to the ladies on the ice, it was just another game of hockey.  “During the Semi-Final game against Amherst, my nerves were all I could think about, and my heartbeat was all I could feel. I knew that before this championship game I was going to have to calm myself down and relax. In order to do that, I didn’t treat this game any differently from the 26 other that I had played this season. I put on my headphones, sharpened a couple pairs of my teammates’ skates, and taped my stick. It was just another game of hockey with my team.”


Coach O’Neil gives words of inspiration before the game. “Marissa acknowledged how confident she was in the talent and heart of our team, and she reminded us of how hard we battled all season to make it this far, but in reality she didn’t need to give us any words of inspiration. Playing Middlebury at their home rink for the NESCAC Championship is enough inspiration in itself. Looking back on the journey that our team took to make it to the Championship game, it is clear that we deserved to be there. We worked hard every day at practice, and that hard work translated into wins. Sure we had some bumps along the way, but they only brought us closer as a cohesive unit and made us more determined to let nothing stop us.”


The last time the Bowdoin Women’s hockey team won the NESCAC Championship, Coach O’Neil was actually the team Captain for the Polar Bears. “Marissa obviously made an incredible impact on both the field hockey and ice hockey programs during her four years as a student at Bowdoin. As a coach she has had an incredible impact on me both as a player and as a person over the past two years. The time and work she put into our team did not go unnoticed this year as she earned NESCAC Coach of the Year. It’s special for us to be able to bring the NESCAC crown back to Brunswick with her as our head coach.”


Not only did the Bowdoin Women win the NESCAC Championship, the Bowdoin Men hockey team also won the NESCAC Championship. “This is a unique moment for the Bowdoin Hockey programs. The school community really rallied behind both teams to show great amounts of support for us. I know that both teams were rooting for each other, and we feel very fortunate to share this championship win with them.”


Coming up next the Polar Bears will face-off against Elmira, in the first round of the NCAA Div III playoffs. “While we did win the NESCAC Championship yesterday, our season is not over. We still have some unfinished business that we need to take care of before we can think about heading home for spring break. On Tuesday, we are back on the ice for practice, gearing up for our first national tournament game in quite some time, and we couldn’t be more excited.”


Colleen passes along some word for all the Polar Fans. “Thank you for Dreaming in Black and White with us.”