Friday Night the UMaine Black Bears will face rival Boston University Terriers in a one-game tilt on Friday Night at Alfond Arena.
The Black Bears and Terriers will renew their historic once again in what will have a different feeling to the game.
For the first time, legendary head coach Jack Parker won’t be behind the bench for the BU terriers at Alfond Arena. Parker was head coach of BU from 1973 to 2013, the Black Bears didn’t form their hockey program until 1977. On the other hand this will be the first time new Maine head coach Red Gendron faces BU as head coach (remember he was an assistant at Maine 90-93).
The Black Bears are coming off a weekend split at home versus Vermont where they won Friday night 2-0, before Saturday’s crushing 4-3 defeat in which they gave up four unanswered goals and saw their comeback just fall short in the waning seconds of the game. Over the weekend Andrew Cerretani and Brice O’Connor suffered injuries on Friday and Saturday respectively. No updates on either player at this moment.
Many of the youngsters for Maine shined over the weekend with Cam Brown & Bill Norman getting 2 points each; Freshmen Eric Schurhamer scored his first collegiate goal (and point) on Saturday, Blaine Byron also notched a goal on Sat. Senior assistant captain Mark Anthoine continues to blossom into a great player as he’s scored his fifth goal of the season on Saturday.
But Maine continues to show struggles on Even Strength (5-on-5) play, as they went 12 periods over a span of five games without scoring an even strength goal.
On the contrary Maine’s powerplay has been phenomonal as it has been a primary means of offensive scoring lately, 43.5% of Maine’s scoring have come off the powerplay. It’s been a strange turnaround as Maine came off a season where they had one of the worst power plays in the country last season. I expect it to continue to improve on Friday night.
Boston University, as previously mentioned have a new head coach, David Quinn and his Terriers aren’t off to a bad start as they sit in a tie for third in Hockey East. The 2-2-0 (4-5-0) Terriers have had quite an interesting schedule to start; they participated in the Big Ten/Hockey East challenge with three games against Wisconsin, Michigan, and Michigan St going 1-2. BU has been in a bit of a rough patch losing their last two games against Providence and BC over the last two weekends.
Sophomore Ahti Oksanen leads the team with a 2-7-9 stat line (Goals-Assists-Points). Senior and NHL draft prospect Garrett Noonan is second with a 2-6-8 stat line. This team doesn’t have an established leading goal scorer like Maine does (Anthoine) as they’re highest goal scorer has only three goals and it’s held by two players (O’Regan & Lane). Thirteen different Terriers have recorded at least one goal.
Unlike UMaine, BU has an established two-goalie system. Sophomores Matt O’Connor and Sean Maguire have split the nine games with O’Connor playing the fifth game. Coach Quinn has gone with a rotation with goalies switching off every game. Based on this system, the projected net minder will be Sean Maguire as O’Connor played BC on Saturday.
The Maine-BU rivalry has been a heated rivalry dating back to the early-mid 90’s when Maine’s coach Shawn Walsh and BU’s Jack Parker butted heads as BU and Maine were two of the best teams in the country. Both teams traded Hockey East Championships by beating each other, BU beat Maine in 1991 and Maine getting revenge in 1993 en route to a championship. The rivalry came to it’s ultimate clash when both teams met in the 1995 National Championship in Providence, RI. BU won that matchup in dominating fashion pulling off a 6-2 victory to earn their fourth national championship.
One thing that is concerning for Maine is the fact that they haven’t defeated BU at home since November 8, 2009. Since then, they’ve gone 0-3-2 in the last five. Last season they went 0-1-1 back in mid-February. Both of those games were classics that unfortunately neither went in Maine’s favor.
Maine will look to finally turn their bad luck at home against BU in this one game Friday night in a preview for their second matchup which will take place at Fenway Park on January 11, 2014 as part of Frozen Fenway.
Should be an exciting one at Alfond Arena. For more of a preview, tune in to WMEB 91.9 FM where my colleagues and I will preview this matchup further. Then to hear the game tune in again to WMEB 91.9 FM or online at http://wmebsports.com/wmeb-plus/. An alternative way to get to the online stream is by getting it through Ustream, just search WMEB Sports on Ustream and you’ll find us.
And for those in the immediate Orono area, GO TO THE GAME!!! Especially students, you get in for free with your Mainecard, no excuses. Game is at 7 p.m. #BeatBU #gomaine