AMHERST, Mass. – Down 2-1 with 25 minutes remaining, the Amherst College men's hockey team came roaring back as they netted three unanswered scores in a three-minute span to power past Bowdoin College, 5-2 Saturday afternoon at Orr Rink and extend its unbeaten streak to eight games.
With the win, Amherst improves to 7-9-4 on the season and to 5-6-3 in league play, while Bowdoin falls to 9-10-1 overall (5-8-1 NESCAC).
Forced to make a handful of great saves in the opening stanza, including two big stops on a 5-v-3 penalty kill that lasted for over a minute, Giancarlo Ventre '20 was stellar in the first 20, turning away 15 of the Polar Bears' 16 shots on frame.
Breaking through with 3:18 remaining in the first, Bradley Ingersoll notched his fifth goal of the winter to give the visitors a 1-0 edge. Winning the battle to the puck in the left corner, Albert Washco left a drop pass for Joe Alexander at the dot who dished it to Ingersoll on the far post for the one-time score.
Looking to respond with 13:17 on the clock in the second period, junior Pieter von Steinbergs nearly notched the equalizer as he gathered the puck at the right point and sent a laser of a slap shot towards frame, but his shot rang off the crossbar.
Keeping up the offensive pressure, it was Connor Merrill '23 who came away with Amherst's first goal of the day with 5:54 to play before intermission as the first-year redirected a hard pass from Mitchell Shults '22 into the top right corner as he raced towards net on a 2-v-2.
Getting it back less than two minutes later, Bowdoin retook the lead off of an Ethan Kimball score. Michael Brown set up the Polar Bears' goal as he picked the pocket of an Amherst player in the neutral zone to give the visitors a 2-v-1 before connecting with Kimball on the far post from the one-timer.
Once again moving the sides into a deadlock, Patrick Daly '20 made it a 2-2 contest heading into the second intermission as he found the back of the net 31.5 seconds before the buzzer. Capitalizing on a 5-v-3 power play, Daly put home Nick Bondra's '21 rebound for his fifth goal of the season.
Hitting their stride in the third, the Mammoths came thundering out of the locker room to score twice in the first two minutes to take a 4-2 lead.
Giving Amherst its first lead of the bout 57 seconds after the drop of the puck, Joey Verkerke '23 sparked the Mammoths as he snuck down to the left dot from the point and ripped a wrister into the nearside bottom corner.
Extending the home team's edge, junior Matteo Mangiardi found the back of the net for the Mammoths less than a minute later as he crossed up his defender on a 2-v-2 to earn space and powered a snap shot from the right hash over the glove of the Bowdoin keeper.
The visitors pulled their goalie with 2:10 remaining in regulation in a bid to mount the late comeback, but Sean Wrenn's '22 length-of-the-ice empty net score with 1:44 on the clock stood as the final dagger as Amherst clinched the 5-2 victory.
In between the pipes, Ventre (4-7-2) registered 37 saves for Amherst in the winning effort, while Alex Zafonte (9-9-1) made 23 stops for the Polar Bears in the loss.
Bowdoin owned a 39-28 advantage in shots on target and went 0-for-8 on the power play, while the Mammoths finished 1-for-7 up a skater.
Amherst returns to Orr Rink next Friday, Feb. 14 when they host Connecticut College in a 7:00PM conference battle.