LEWISTON — Bowdoin junior Sam Carlin contributed more than his fair share to the six-game winning streak the Polar Bears took into Wednesday night’s NESCAC men’s lacrosse showdown with Bates by dominating faceoffs and ground balls.

Carlin not only maintained his stranglehold on possession against the resilient Bobcats at Garcelon Field, he also added clutch goal-scoring to his input.

Carlin scored with 1.3 seconds to go in regulation to send Bowdoin to its seventh consecutive win with a 14-13 victory.

“We had 16 seconds left and knew someone had to do something,” Carlin said. “I found a way to the net from ‘x’ (the faceoff) and inside-rolled and found some net.”

“He was pretty special, particularly when we needed him,” Bowdoin coach Jason Archbell said. “We made some boneheaded errors at the end of the game and he bailed us out with two big goals in the fourth quarter.”

Bowdoin improved to 4-2 in NESCAC and 7-2 overall. Bates dropped to 2-4 in NESCAC and 6-5 overall.

Bates, which never led, rallied from a two-goal deficit to tie it, 13-13, with 16. 3 seconds left on junior Andrew Small’s second tying goal of the fourth quarter.

Carlin, who had one goal on the season before Wednesday, won the ensuing faceoff, his 23rd of the game, sprinted down the right sideline, around the Bates goal, spun off a defender and then flipped a shot past goalie Rob Strain (12 saves) to stun the Bobcats fans.

“Besides being really strong and having really, really good hands, his technique is fantastic,” Bates coach Peter Lasagna said of Carlin. “He’s so focused on the ball. He just has an uncanny awareness of where the ball is and he commits fully to go get it. Did you see him miss a first-time ground ball the whole game? I didn’t.”

Carlin won 23 of 30 draws. He won most of those by getting to the ground ball first (18), which led Bates to try junior defender Rocco Fantoni at the ‘x’ in early in the fourth quarter.

“Different guys throw different stuff at the ‘x.’ They try to pull a little bit, and that didn’t work out, so they just went back to the guy (Eli Cooper) that was making them a 50-50 ground ball all day,” Carlin said. “He was doing pretty well at it, so you’ve got to earn the ground balls. We’d been winning them all day, but he’d been making me work for it.”

“I just try and play my game out there. It’s a pretty isolated position,” he said. “I just try to get the ball to the offense and get off. I’m just worried about what I can do and let the rest of the team handle it from there.”

His teammates usually had it under control Wednesday, although Carlin gaining possession had a lot to do with it.

Bates got into a 4-0 hole early. It battled back to within a goal four times, including once in the first half, only to have Bowdoin answer, usually thanks to Carlin getting them the ball back.

Two Matt Chlastawa goals helped the Bobcats close to within 10-9 with 11:18 left. Carlin’s first goal made it 11-9 before Clarke Jones and Small finally got them even with 6:26 remaining.

“I love everything but the result,” Lasagna said. “We got the running game going a little bit. Andrew Small had the best game of his college career, which is really beautiful to see. We got a couple of stops and we got the ball back to tie it. I thought we left a couple of point-blank opportunities that we normally finish, but that’s life in the NESCAC.”

Bowdoin still had an answer when Bates tied it, as Matthew Crowell and James Strabley found the back of the net for a 13-11 lead with 1:40 left. Twenty seconds later, Curtis Knapton made it a one-goal game again, setting up Small’s second equalizer.

Small finished with four goals to lead Bates, while Knapton and Chlastawa notched hat tricks and Jones collected two goals and two assists. Strabley and Buckman led Bowdoin with two goals and two assists apiece. John Young had nine saves.

Bates College’s Matt Chlastawa loses his footing on the wet turf as Bowdoin’s Henry Savage swoops in to gain possesion of the ball during Wednesday night’s lacrosse game in Lewiston. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)Bates College’s Matt Chlastawa chases after Bowdoin’s Henry Savage during Wednesday night’s lacrosse game in Lewiston. (Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)(Andree Kehn/Sun Journal)

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