Hockey East Preview- University of Maine Black Bears

BY: JOSH BROWN

Head Coach – Red Gendron (2nd Season)

Last Season – 16-15-4 (HE: 9-8-3) Lost in Hockey East Quarterfinals to Providence

Losses: F Ryan Lomberg, F Jon Swavely, F Mark Anthoine, F Josh Henke, D Kyle Williams, D Brice O’Connor, G Matt Strickrott, G Dan Sullivan, G Martin Ouellette

Newcomers: F Cedric Lacroix, F Jack Musil, F Liam Pecararo, F Nolan Vesey, D Mark Hamilton, D Malcolm Hayes, G Sean Romeo, G Nik Nugnes

In Hockey East you have to win on the road, it’s as simple as that. Maine was unable to do that in their 2013-2014 campaign finishing an abysmal 1-12-3 away from Alfond Arena. Luckily for the Black Bears, Orono was a house of horrors for many of their opponents, as they were able to rack up a very impressive 13-3-0 record in the comfy confines of home.

Red Gendron impressed many in his first season behind the bench at Maine, whether it be because the Black Bears fast paced offensive attack, his snarky remarks at his post-game press conference, or a little of both, Maine was a team no one took lightly even with that road record.

NHL draft picks Ben Hutton and Devin Shore led the team in scoring last season with 15 and 14 goals respectively, and with yet another year under their belt, Gendron will ask of the same if not more from his first line duo. Steven Swavely, who also scored 10 goals will also be asked to help carry the load again for Maine this season.

The Black Bears have big question marks this season in net, having lost their primary goalie Martin Ouellette, as well as Dan Sullivan, the only other goalie who saw ice time for Maine last season.  Expect to see red-shirt junior Matt Morris start the season in net, but if he struggles don’t be surprised to see Gendron throw his two freshman goalies in there, and for it to be an open competition throughout the middle of the season.

Bottom line: Maine should finish in the 6-8 range this season in Hockey East. Although it would be almost impossible to play as poorly on the road again this season, Maine will lack the depth and talent to compete for a top five spot, in a grueling Hockey East schedule. That being said, if the Black Bears get hot late in the season, they are a team no one is going to want to face come tournament time.