Date Posted:11/18/2004,  4:00PM

2004-05 Women's Ice Hockey Preview

Head Coach: Michele Amidon (six years, 103-38-10, .715)

Leading Returners: Meghan Gillis (24-19), Marissa O'Neil, pictured (18-17), Kate Leonard (16-15), Cat MacEachern (.920 sv%, 1.00 GAA)

Key Losses: Sadie Wieschhoff (two-year captain), Britney Carr (15-23), Gillian McDonald (10-15), Nathalie Morgan (.939 sv%, 1.11 GAA)

Newcomers: Katie Coyne, Caroline Currie, Brittany Abery, Kristen Cameron, Kat Popoff, Anna Shapell

2003 RECAP: The Bowdoin College women's ice hockey team continued to be one of the school's most consistently successful programs in 2003-04, winning 20 games and their second NESCAC Championship in three years. They made their third straight trip to the NCAA Tournament, but fell to Plattsburgh on the road in the first round. Meghan Gillis capped off a tremendous rookie season by winning NESCAC Rookie of the Year honors and dominating the conference tournament. Britney Carr and Marissa O'Neil were second-team All-NESCAC selections. The Polar Bears were the only team to defeat eventual National Champion Middlebury twice in '03-'04, winning two of their three meetings.

2004 PREVIEW: The Polar Bears return most of their firepower from a year ago as 10 of the 12 players who scored double digits in points return. Senior Marissa O'Neil and Meghan Gillis, pictured, provide as good a 1-2 punch as their is in the NESCAC. However, the Polar Bears pride themselves on defense- as seen in their league-leading total of 12 goals allowed in 16 conference games last year- and will need to replace defensive stalwarts Sadie Wieschhoff and Nathalie Morgan.

Bowdoin, ranked seventh in the nation, has never been afraid to play a tough schedule, and this year is no exception. The Polar Bears open with top-ranked Middlebury on November 19 at home, and will play Williams (ranked just outside the top-ten) the next afternoon in Dayton Arena. Then Bowdoin will travel to play at fifth-ranked Manhattanville on November 28 and return home to host second-ranked Plattsburgh on December 4. And that's just the first two weeks. The Polar Bears will travel to play at Wisconsin-Stevens Point (ranked fourth) over the holiday break and will play an always-tough NESCAC slate that includes two games against rival Colby.

DID YOU KNOW: With six goals in back-to-back nights against Hamilton and Middlebury in the NESCAC Tournament last year, Meghan Gillis set the conference record for goals in a tournament- even with Bowdoin being the top seed and earning a first-round bye.

COACH AMIDON SAYS: "We're going to be strong again this year, and hopefully at least as strong as we were last season. We have a little bit of a different look with our group of first-years and Cat MacEachern between the pipes but I'm confident that we have the talent to be successful."