NORTH DARTMOUTH, MA – The University of Massachusetts Dartmouth hockey team will make its fourth appearance in the NCAA Division III Championships when it visits Bowdoin for a first-round matchup Wednesday evening. Game time is 7:00 p.m. at the Polar Bears' Sidney J. Watson Arena.
The Corsairs, who are 12-7-7, earned their 12th conference championship and first Massachusetts State Collegiate Athletic Conference title with a 2-1 win at Plymouth State Saturday night. With the win, UMD secured the conference's automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championships. It marks the team's first trip to the NCAAs since it made three consecutive trips to the tournament, the last during the 2007-08 season as a member of the Eastern College Athletic Conference Northeast.
The Polar Bears were the New England Small College Athletic Conference champions, and went 22-3-2 this season.
UMass Dartmouth is 1-3 in NCAA Division III Championships action. The Corsairs' victory at Geneseo State in the 2005-06 season was the first NCAA Tournament win for an ECAC Northeast team. The Corsairs went on to lose at Middlebury. UMD lost at Middlebury again the following year, and was eliminated at home by Trinity (CT) in 2007-08.
"We are honored to be one of only 11 teams to play in our fourth NCAA Division III playoffs, and to represent our league, the MASCAC, as the playoff champion," said UMass Dartmouth Head Coach John Rolli. "As for our team, I couldn't be prouder of Saturday's championship win. Since a horrendous month of January where would could do little right, we are currently on a nice eight game unbeaten streak (5-0-3), and we're playing our best hockey of the season. I'm looking for a tremendous effort from our players."
Bowdoin has won five of its last six games, hosting and winning three NESCAC playoff games against Hamilton, Middlebury and Williams after a 10-5 loss to Trinity February 18th. The only common opponent between UMD and Bowdoin is Connecticut College, a 3-2 victor over the Corsairs in the third-place game at Norwich's Northfield Savings Bank Tournament January 5th, and a two-time loser to Bowdoin, 7-1 at home December 8th, and 2-1 in overtime at Bowdoin February 16th.
"Bowdoin is currently ranked fifth in the country and has had an incredible season, finishing first in the NESCAC and winning the league playoffs with an overall record of 22-3-2," said Rolli. "They have 11 players in their lineup who played in the 2011 NCAA tournament, and have been recently backstopped by a former Division I goalie, Colgate transfer Max Fenkell, who sports a .933 saves percentage and a stingy 2.03 goals against average. The one statistic that stands out to me is their 34 power play goals on the season."
The winner of Wednesday night's game will travel to Utica for a quarter-final game on Saturday.
UMASS DARTMOUTH HOCKEY