On Nov. 4, Maine stood tall at 8-1-0
– its offense was clicking, the defense was
solid and the goaltending tandem of Ben Bishop and
Matt Lundin was phenomenal. Championships aren’t
won during the first month of the season, but it still
appeared that the Black Bears had the right personnel
to make their drive to be the kings of the college
The defense never saw a letdown, but
in the ensuing nine games leading into the season’s
December intermission, Maine only managed to score
more than two goals three times and limped into the
break on a 4-5-0 clip. Add some legal issues stemming
from a November fight at an off-campus apartment complex
between several members of the team, and it appeared
that coach Tim Whitehead’s group wouldn’t
ever get back to its seemingly invincible early season
The proverbial rollercoaster ride continued
in January as the Black Bears swept Lowell but then
dropped a pair at BU before losing to Providence at
Alfond Arena. That, though, was the last time this
team has played poor hockey for an extended stretch.
Maine is 5-1-1 in its last seven games, including
a solid 2-1-1 record in its previous two weekend series;
a home split with UNH followed by a three-point weekend
“We really feel like we’re
almost back to where we were at the beginning of the
year,” senior captain Greg Moore said. “We
feel like we’re moving it back into that direction.
If we’re not already there, we’re close
to it. We have the confidence right now that we had
at the beginning of the year and we feel like we can
be better than we were at the beginning of the year.”
Moore leads his team with 21 goals and
31 points in what has fast become his best collegiate
season. He is second in Hockey East only to Boston
College's Chris Collins in goals, and his 16 goals
in league contests have him tied for the lead with
the Eagles’ senior. And he has lit the lamp
in nine of his last 10 games.
“It’s a combination of things,”
Moore said about his stellar season. “I’ve
been motivated because it’s my senior year and
my career is coming to an end so I’m trying
to leave it out on the ice every night. I’ve
been playing with some great players like (Josh) Soares,
(Derek) Damon and (Michel) Léveillé.
They have set me up in situations where I can be successful.
It’s really helped me out.”
He noted that the team was obviously
displeased with their struggles after the hot start,
but they put the hard work and effort into turning
things around. Instead of hoping that things would
eventually work out, the Black Bears did everything
they could to make sure that all of their wrongs would
“We weren’t happy with the
way we were playing in Hockey East,” he said.
“We have high expectations for ourselves to
be a national competitor every year. We really beared
down, took extra time at meetings going over details
and got together on the same page in our systems.
Our effort and our commitment on every shift in every
period has helped us get some points and some wins.”
That leads to this weekend with a home
series against Collins and the league-leading Eagles,
the last two regular-season games Maine plays against
a team with a winning record. The Black Bears currently
sit in fifth place in the standings with 25 points,
but are only one point behind New Hampshire and Providence
and four behind sizzling Boston University.
“It’s huge for us right
now, especially this upcoming weekend against BC...if
we can take care of business,” Moore said. “It
will really help us getting points to get home ice
in Hockey East, and it’s really important for
us to have the Hockey East playoffs back in our rink.
“It’s going to be a great
weekend. I think it’s going to be a little bit
more offensive. Both of our clubs are young defensively,
although I think we also both have great goaltending
so that could even things out. It’s going to
be well-fought right down to the last minute on Saturday
night knowing that every point is critical.”
SEEN AND HEARD IN HOCKEY EAST
Hockey At Fenway?:
There has been a lot of speculation of late about
the possibility of a college hockey game being played
at Fenway Park next December, and Boston College appears
to be locked in already.
A BC official told the Boston Globe
last week that the only kinks left to iron out are
finding an appropriate opponent and an open date.
With Boston University also possibly taking part in
the action, Terrier coach Jack Parker weighed in on
the issue on Friday night, two days after the rumors
hit the papers.
“We had conversations about it
three or four years ago, and it has been ongoing with
us and ongoing with BC,” Parker said. “I
don’t know how it got leaked out, but we haven’t
made any decision.”
The event would be played at night,
but there also appears to be the possibility that
there will be a double-header, perhaps with Boston
University playing in the first game. Interestingly,
the opponents coming up in these talks aren’t
other Hockey East clubs, but rather the likes of Michigan
and Michigan State.
“There was talk about it being
a double-header, but you can’t do that,”
Parker said. “If we had a double-header, it
would have to be BU against UNH, and BC against Maine,
Vermont or UMass to draw some people.”
The operation is being headed by the
Fenway Sports Group, a Boston Red Sox business venture
that teamed up with BC to help promote its transition
from the Big East to the Atlantic Coast Conference.
As intriguing as the idea sounds to play a sport loved
by so many in New England in the one park most locals
consider a holy land, Parker still isn’t completely
sold on the project.
“If it’s going to happen,
it should probably only happen one time,” Parker
said. “It would be a unique thing. We’re
still talking about it. They want to do it, but I
don’t know if BC and BU are in love with the
idea. Fenway Park is in love with the idea. We’ll
see how it goes.”
Great Weekend Getaway
Hampshire at Boston U. (Fri.)
Boston U. at N. Hampshire (Sat.) This series is one of the more
interesting matchups Hockey East has had in
the last few weeks. Boston University has a
chance to extend its winning streak from 11
to 13 games and if that happens, the Terriers
put the vise grips on a second-place Hockey
East finish and are in position to possibly
catch BC if it slips up at Maine. On the other
end, the Wildcats have been struggling of late
in terms of their standards. They lost three
games in a row before starting a 2-0-1 stretch,
but that tie came at lowly Merrimack, meaning
UNH finished the season 1-1-1 against the Warriors.
If UNH can’t salvage at least a split,
it will be in serious danger of losing out on
home ice in the first round.
While You’re There:
Portsmouth tends to be a good time at night
on the weekends, and with it just a few minutes
down the street from Durham, you can’t
lose. And do we really need to find something
for you to do in Boston? Come on.
BU coach Jack Parker
continued to raise the bar for Beanpot excellence
by winning his 51st overall game in the tournament
along with his 19th championship on Monday night.
BU, in case you haven’t heard, has now
won half of the 54 championships..
Maine and Vermont entered last weekend's tilt with the top-two
penalty killing units in the country, respectively,
but Maine racked up four power-play
goals while Vermont totaled three.
The Black Bears still top the nation with a
.904 kill percentage, but UVM fell to fourth
with an .882 clip.
FRIES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
freshman Rob Ricci has scored the only two of his
team’s goals in three games against UNH this
season, but they came in a 1-0 win on Nov. 29 and
a 1-1 tie on Saturday night.
• Providence has scored 90 goals
leading into its series with Northeastern, which began
Thursday night. The Friars only tallied 85 goals last
• With its 6-4 win over UMass
Lowell on Friday, Northeastern ended its all-time
record 18-game losing streak in which the Huskies
dropped 13 contests and tied five. NU’s last
win came on Nov. 11, a 2-0 decision over the Minutemen.
• Boston University beat UMass
3-0 on Friday night to extend its winning streak to
10 games – which is now at 11 after the Beanpot
victory – becoming the first Terrier squad to
win 10 in a row since 1995 and just the third team
to win at least 10 in a row in the regular season
since 1975-76. Peter MacArthur had a good laugh following
the UMass win when asked about this team in a historical
“He told us the last time a BU
team won 10 in a row in the regular season was in
1975, besides the 1978 team that won 21 in a row.
He told us after we won 10 in a row, we could talk
about 21 in a row. After 10 in a row, it’s all
downhill from there. It will probably get really easy
• BC senior forward Chris Collins
was the first player announced to participate in the
Frozen Four Skills Challenge on Monday. Collins is
the nation’s leading scorer with 24 goals and
24 assists and will only compete if the Eagles do
not reach the Frozen Four.
“This Skills Challenge should
be a lot of fun and good for the fans of college hockey,”
Collins said in an NCAA new release. “I always
watched the skills competitions growing up and am
very excited about the opportunity to participate
variety of sources were utilized in the compilation
of this report.