Bates’ men’s hockey team started out the second half of their season with a bang at Underhill Arena Saturday, January 13. After losing some key games to end the first half of the season, including a devastating 13-4 loss to Thomas College, the team was back and ready to fight in the first competition of 2018 against Wentworth Institute of Technology (WIT).
The two teams seemed to be equally competitive and matched one another with each goal for the majority of the game. The Cats set the tone early on. They played a high energy and smart game and used time and space to put together some effective plays throughout the whole night.
It truly was a night for the seniors. Senior captain Nick Barker ‘18 made completing three goals look easy and started the year off right with a hat trick. Dangling past the WIT defense, Barker sent one to the top shelf and brought the Cats up three to one.
However, despite the team’s best efforts, the Bobcats just kept the Leopards at bay with the score at 6-6 late in the third. Senior captain Sam Levin ‘18 came to the rescue and made an unbelievable shot. He scored with about a minute thirty left, pushing the Cats up seven to six. Turning out to be the game winning goal, the Bates Bobcats sent the WIT Leopards back home with their tails between their legs.
In a hallmark moment that got the crowd wild, first-year defenseman Ben Stratton ‘21 scored his first goal of the game and fifth goal of the season with a well-placed snipe. Ever humble, Stratton speaks about the team’s win and says, “It was a solid effort from the whole team. We responded quickly and simply out-worked them. It definitely feels good to get a win on home ice.”
Stratton is not the only first-year on the team. There actually is a pretty heavy representation from the class of ‘21. Brooks Clement ‘21 of Hartford, Conn. earned some good minutes this past game.
“Nothing better than putting one in the win column after a skid of bad games, especially in the way that we did. Top to bottom, everyone played well,” says Clement.
Not to be left without credit where credit is due, seniors and assistant captains David Katzman ‘18 and Andrew Cahill ‘18 rounded out the superb skill set of the class of ‘18 with great showings all season through to last Saturday’s game.
“Our captains [Barker and Levin] really led the way tonight” Katzman says when asked about the game. “They were flying all night.”
The matchup versus WIT also marked the return of a couple of players from abroad who are eager to get back into the swing of the season. Looking forward, the Cats will face local rival Central Maine Community College next week at 7 p.m. and hope to put another notch in the win column.
“Practices have been uptempo and productive as we are working hard to get the results we desire,” adds Barker.