WATERVILLE — The Colby men’s hockey team only had one lead. The Mules only scored on one power play.

It was enough. Just barely.

Seniors Jack Burton and E.J. Rauseo scored the tying and go-ahead goals 46 seconds apart, and the Mules held on through a frenzied final minute to defeat Bowdoin, 5-4, at Alfond Rink Saturday and earn the weekend sweep of their archrival, their first since the 2009-10 season.

“I’m really happy for the guys,” said Colby head coach Blaise MacDonald, whose team earned a 2-1 victory Friday night in Brunswick. “I’m really happy everybody got to experience a sweep against a very, very good team. And the way we did it, there were really tight moments that we were able to manage and emotionally stay really grounded.”

Colby (5-1-0, 4-0-0 NESCAC) tied the game twice, but trailed 4-3 in the third period when it went on the man advantage for a roughing penalty. Scoreless on five power plays to that point, the Mules struck this time when Burton ripped a shot from the point that sailed under the crossbar and tied the game with 13:30 to go.

“The coaches were saying all day, just get a lot of shots on goal,” said Burton, a defenseman, who scored twice. “I pretty much just closed my eyes and let it rip. I had no idea that it was going to go like that. But it was a freaking unbelievable feeling. Big momentum change.”

The next minute proved it, as the Colby fans hadn’t even had time to stop celebrating when the Mules went on the attack again. Cam MacDonald kept a puck in the Bowdoin (3-4-0, 1-3-0) zone along the boards, then slipped it over to Rauseo, who was alone near the slot.

The crowd roared but the captain fought the urge to shoot quickly, instead faking right to get the goalie to commit, and then firing left for the 5-4 lead with 12:44 to play.

“It was a good battle in the corner and Cam MacDonald came up with the puck, he had great awareness and found me out front. I was all alone,” Rauseo said. “I was able to go toward the middle and cut back, and I had an open net. So it was nice to get that one. It wasn’t too stressful, and I had to get it in.”

Colby got three more power plays, and put five of the next seven shots on net, but had to cling to the win after two penalties were called on the Mules with 1:05 to go.

Colby was called for too many men on the ice, and MacDonald’s irate reaction drew the attention of the officials and cost the Mules a bench minor as well, turning what would have been a one-man advantage for the Polar Bears with goalie Peter Cronin pulled into a 6-on-3 with more than a minute to kill.

Bowdoin pressured relentlessly but Colby held, clearing the zone twice in the final minute and surviving a final defensive zone faceoff with 14.1 seconds left to seal the emotional win.

“They’re our rival. I would like to think Colby makes Bowdoin a better team and Bowdoin makes Colby a better team,” MacDonald said. “I think it’s one of those games where, if you can control your emotions and just compete, you’ve got a chance to win. They’ve got a talented group of players and I think we’re able to match that as well.”

The back-to-back one-goal games, Bowdoin head coach Jamie Dumont said, provided proof of the razor-thin gap between the teams.

“It comes down to discipline and bounces. The big thing is I thought we had some really good chances, but we lost a little bit of our mindset going into the third period,” Dumont said. “And they capitalized on it.

“These are very emotional, high-tempo-type games. These are track meets. … These are playoff-type games.”

The nine penalty kills Bowdoin faced made holding on, and then rallying, a tall order.

“Our bench had to shorten up, and we were all in disarray,” Dumont said. “It’s certainly going to take the life out of you when you have to use up your key guys on kills and 4-on-4s when you need them to score goals.”

The Mules had an early opportunity to take command with three first-period power plays, but the Polar Bears withstood the pressure and landed the first blow on a man advantage of their own. Matthew Lison raced in on the rush and fired a shot that Andrew Tucci saved, but redirected right into the slot. Trailing on the play, Cody Todesco swooped in and fired the rebound into the net to put Bowdoin up 1-0 with 3:23 to go in the first.

Colby needed less than a minute to respond. The Mules crashed the net, with Rauseo trying a shot that was knocked to the ice near the left post. Phil Klitirinos was in perfect position to beat the defenders to the puck and put it in, evening the score at 1 with 2:33 to go.

Bowdoin struck again early in the second period. From behind the post, Austin Ricci fed Lison standing near the left post for a goal only 1:22 into the period, and Chris Wallace scored off a feed from Mitch Barrington near the blue line to make it 3-1 58 seconds later.

Colby answered when Burton raced in from the right side and slipped a shot in while losing his balance with 15:57 to go in the second, and J.P. Schuhlen evened the score at 3 with a wrist shot on the rush with 3:48 to go.

Bowdoin took its final lead when Thomas Dunleavy, skating through the slot, passed to Spencer Antunez along the left side, and the junior forward buried the shot for a 4-3 lead with 17:06 to play.

Drew Bonifant — 621-5638

[email protected]

Twitter: @dbonifantMTM

Augusta and Waterville news

Get news and events from your towns in your inbox every Friday.

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.