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Polar Bears prevail over men's lax in back-and-forth game, 11-10

Evan Chen '15 uncorks a shot in Bates' game against Bowdoin on April 2, 2014. Chen recorded a goal and an assist in the game. (Phyllis Graber Jensen/Bates College)

LEWISTON, Maine -- Tyler Williams netted the game-tying goal and the game-winner as No. 20 Bowdoin defeated the Bates men's lacrosse team 11-10 on Wednesday night, in a game so back-and-forth it was hard to believe the one team left 5-1 in conference play and the other 1-5.

Williams scored three of the Polar Bears' final four goals in the game, lifting Bowdoin (8-2, 5-1 NESCAC) to its third straight win and an 8-2 record overall.

Dan Hanley scored two goals with an assist for Bowdoin, while Peter Reuter, Franklin Reis and Will Wise all had one goal and one assist apiece. Connor Laughlin notched his 11th save on Bates' final shot with 43 seconds left to play.

Sophomore Jack Allard (Ridgewood, N.J.) had a game-high five points on three goals and two assists for the Bobcats (4-5, 1-5 NESCAC)l. Junior Jack Strain (Montclair, N.J.) scored two goals and junior Evan Chen (Katonah, N.Y.) added a goal and an assist. Senior Paul Donovan (Norwell, Mass.) won 12-of-16 faceoffs, helping Bates to a 16-9 advantage in the circle, and he collected a game-high seven ground balls.

Bates got the game off to a hot start, with Chen putting the Bobcats on the board 2:36 in on an impressive individual effort. Bowdoin's Hanley muscled in on his defender one-on-one and flipped the ball over Bates senior starting goalie Charlie Kazarian's (Providence, R.I.) stick to even the game. Chen found first-year Kyle Weber (Chagrin Falls, Ohio) open in a soft spot in Bowdoin's defense, and Weber fired it past Laughlin from the top for a 2-1 Bates lead. with 17.7 seconds left in the period, junior Conor Henrie (Lexington, Mass.) juked a defender on the left wing and ripped it over Laughlin's left shoulder to make it 3-1 Bates before the end of the first quarter.

Bowdoin closed the gap to 3-2 as Reis fed Wise, but Donovan won the ensuing draw and dished quickly to Strain on the left wing to regain a two-goal advantage six seconds later.
Bowdoin made it 4-3 soon after, when faceoff man Rob Talcott scored on a give-and-go from Wise, starting a 3-0 Bowdoin run that gave the Polar Bears their first lead, at 5-4, on Brett Kujala's man-up goal from Peter Reuter's assist, still with 10:14 left in the half.

Allard scored on his go-to shot from a tight angle on the right side to tie the game back up, but Reuter's high laser of an outside shot found the upper right corner of the cage for a 6-5 Bowdoin advantage. With 5:13 left in the period, Conor O'Toole scored on a rip from a similar spot for a 7-5 Bowdoin lead.

Bates gained possession off a Polar Bear turnover and called timeout with 46.1 seconds to go in the half. The Bobcats passed the ball around before Chen penetrated the defense and shot wide. Allard was there to pick up the miss and he quickly dished off to a cutting Strain for the finish, making it 7-6 with 10 seconds left in the period. Bowdoin outscored Bates 6-3 in the period, over half of the Polar Bears' total output.

Bates regained the upper hand in the third quarter, outscoring the Polar Bears 4-1. Sophomore goalie Joe Faria (Cold Spring Harbor, N.Y.), a halftime substitution, made five saves in the period for Bates. 

Bates junior Mac Jackson (Hood River, Ore.) won the opening faceoff of the third and charged upfield for an unassisted goal, his first of the season, to tie the game at 7-7. Both teams at this point had overcome two-goal deficits already.

Bates assumed a 9-7 lead by the midway point of the third quarter with its third and fourth unanswered goals. First-year defender Fred Ulbrick's (Fairfield, Conn.) one-man clear and assist produced an Allard goal, and with 7:50 left Allard found first-year Charlie Fay (Falmouth, Maine) open, and Fay deftly redirected the pass, slapping the ball in from the front of the Bowdoin goal. Williams ended Bates' run with his first goal of the game, a rip from outside with 5:55 to go in the third, but Bates finished the period with a two-goal lead as sophomore Charlie Hildebrand (Berwyn, Pa.) fed Allard from behind the net with 5:09 to go.

The Polar Bears shut out the Bobcats in the fourth quarter, with Laughlin making four saves while Bates outshot Bowdoin 9-7.

Bowdoin closed it to 10-9 when Reis took advantage of a defender who slipped, then buried it past Faria. Williams then scored his second goal, the game-tying tally, charging into a defender and knocking him down before winding up for an uncontested shot on Faria, with 10:36 left.

More than 10 scoreless minutes transpired before Williams netted the game-winner, stopping on a dime and scoring on a turnaround over his right shoulder for an 11-10 lead.

Donovan won the ensuing faceoff, and Bates head coach Peter Lasagna called timeout with 1:31 left to set up at least one final shot. After half a minute of passing the ball around, Allard stepped in from the right wing and fired, but Laughlin left no room for the ball between his body and the right goalpost. Bowdoin controlled the ball for the remainder of the game clock.

Bates will play at Middlebury on Saturday at 1pm.