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Friday, November 12, 2010

Black Bears - Northeastern Series Preview

Hot off a comeback tie against the top ranked team in the nation, the #5 UMaine Black Bears are ready to come back home to the Alfond Arena.

Maine had visions of toppling Boston University last Saturday after they took the lead in the third period, only to see that vanish with just over a minute left to go in the contest.  The strike by Freshman Charlie Croyle for the Terriers would send the game into overtime, and eventually, the Black Bears back home with only one point in the draw.

The stalemate of the Terriers proved that Maine could overcome a deficit and hang around with the some of the top teams in the nation.  An even more welcomed sight, was once that horn sounded to end the elongated game, the Black Bears knew they were finally heading home.

Two conference one game road stretches in consecutive weekends against Vermont and BU respectively, left Maine with some much needed confidence and a 4-1-3 record overall.  This weekend Maine faces a struggling Northeastern Huskies squad with revenge on their mind.

Just two years ago, the Huskies shot a top the Hockey East, finishing second overall when the dust finally settled.  On Northeastern’s way towards arguably their best finish in the programs history, the Huskies notched a two game sweep against the University of Maine Black Bear in late October by a scores of 5-0 and 2-1 in Orono.

That series was labeled one of the low points in Maine hockey history as it was also the Black Bears first home stand of that year.  Though in 2010, both squads are drastically different then the teams that laced it up in 2008.

Maine is paced by Hockey East leading scorers Gustav Nyquist and Spencer Abbott (13 points) and have by far the most prolific scoring offense in the conference, besting the next highest team by a goal and half (4.33 g/gm).  On the other end of the spectrum is the abysmal Huskies offense which ranks dead last in scoring (1.75 g/gm) and also in penalty kill.

The Black Bears are undefeated in the Alfond and the Hockey East so far this season, and against the hapless Huskies from Northeastern, don’t expect that to change.  Injuries are also a concern for Maine who may be missing Joey Diamond and Will O’Neil for the series.  One thing is for sure, the fans will definitely be out in full force for the two game series, as the Black Bears look to move to second place in the Hockey East on the weekend’s end.

Bryan Stackpole is the play by play voice for UMaine sports on WMEB 91.9 FM, Orono, Maine.  WMEB can be heard on 91.9 FM and streaming on  91.9 FM is the only commercial free broadcast of UMaine sports.  Both games against the Northeastern Huskies can be heard on WMEB 91.9 FM at 6:45 p.m. both Friday and Saturday.


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