The College of Maine’s hockey staff is presently ranked at what’s believed to be the very best it has been ranked for the reason that 2011-12 season.
That was the final UMaine staff to succeed in the Hockey East semifinals and earn an NCAA Match berth.
The staff is now ranked thirteenth within the nation within the two main nationwide polls launched this week, following a 2-1 and 5-4 sweep at Merrimack School final weekend.
In the course of the collection, the 5-1 Black Bears obtained a purpose or an help from 11 completely different gamers.
The highest line of senior co-captain Lynden Breen between freshman brothers Bradly and Josh Nadeau led the best way by combining for 4 targets and 6 assists within the two video games after being held to only a Breen help within the break up at Quinnipiac the earlier week.
Carolina Hurricanes first-round draft choose Bradly Nadeau had three targets and an help, Breen had a purpose and two assists and Josh Nadeau had three assists.
The truth that UMaine’s high line is receiving some supplemental scoring is essential, as a staff can not depend on only one line for scoring. The Black Bears have obtained targets from 11 gamers in simply six video games — together with three defensemen.
Third-year head coach Ben Barr stated his staff is getting higher “however we nonetheless have an extended methods to go.”
The truth that the Black Bears have gone 3-1 on the highway in opposition to two NCAA Match groups from a yr in the past, defending nationwide champion Quinnipiac and Merrimack, is noteworthy for a program that had a 23-game winless streak on the highway (0-19-4) earlier than snapping it throughout the 2017-18 season.
Barr is aware of what it takes to win an NCAA championship. He has recruited for 3 NCAA title-winners at Windfall, Union and UMass.
The protection corps continues to get higher with a junior, 4 sophomores and three freshmen manning the blue line.
The huge improve in mobility and talent on the blue line and the work ethic of the forwards coming again into the defensive zone to assist out has enabled them to restrict opponents to 2.33 targets per recreation, which is tied for twelfth finest within the nation amongst 64 Division I applications.
They usually have been with out sophomore defenseman Brandon Holt for the final 4 video games (ankle harm). He was considered one of their high three defensemen a yr in the past earlier than he suffered a damaged pinkie finger and missed the final 12 video games.
His return will give them a raise.
All-Hockey East second staff goaltender Victor Ostman continues to make well timed saves and management his rebounds. He stopped a breakaway with UMaine main 1-0 within the third interval on Friday evening within the 2-1 win.
UMaine is averaging practically a purpose extra per recreation than a yr in the past at 3.33. They averaged 2.56 final season.
That’s intriguing as a result of the ability play has gone 0 for its final 17, and is presently working at 14.3 p.c effectivity which is tied for forty sixth within the nation. As soon as that will get on monitor, which it ought to, that can make this staff much more harmful.
Three different points of UMaine’s recreation have been instrumental in its success.
The Black Bears are the least penalized staff in Division I at 6.7 penalty minutes per recreation; they’re ninth in faceoff proficiency at 54.4 p.c; and their penalty kill is at 89.5 p.c, which is twelfth finest.
Bradly Nadeau leads the staff in scoring with eight factors on 5 targets and three assists, with Breen and older brother Josh subsequent with two targets and 5 assists apiece.
Veteran wingers Ben Poisson and Donavan Houle every have two targets and three assists.
Junior co-captain David Brezeale continues to anchor the protection corps and Barr stated sophomore Brandon Chabrier and freshman Liam Lesakowski had strong weekends on the blue line and offered some stability.
Chabrier scored his second purpose of the season on Saturday.
Barr additionally preferred the play of freshman winger Sully Scholle, who picked up his first purpose.
The UMaine coach stated the whole staff must “click on” if they’ll achieve success. They’ll’t afford to have a handful of gamers not doing their jobs.
It is going to be like previous occasions this weekend when the nation’s top-ranked staff, Boston School, involves Alfond Area for Friday and Saturday evening contests.
It’s a particular rivalry that dates again to the UMaine glory days when the Black Bears have been going to 18 NCAA Tournaments and 11 Frozen Fours in 26 years and successful two NCAA titles.
UMaine beat BC 2-1 in time beyond regulation within the Frozen 4 semifinals in Anaheim within the 1998-99 season en path to their second NCAA title.
Greg Brown’s 7-1 Eagles have 14 Nationwide Hockey League draft decisions, together with 4 first-rounders.
Bradly Nadeau is UMaine’s solely NHL draft choice.
“They’re an exceptional staff. Their velocity and talent stage is completely different than something we’ve seen. We’re going to need to do every little thing proper for the entire recreation. We now have to play our model of hockey,” Barr stated.