The red hot Maine Black Bears will travel to Gutterson Fieldhouse in Burlington, VT to take on the Vermont Catamounts Friday and Saturday.
This will be a non-conference rematch of their bout earlier this month at Alfond Arena. That series was a split at Alfond Arena in a conference series. Game 1 was an even match, and two unfortunate penalties led to Maine pulling ahead with minutes left in the game to give Maine the victory. Game 2 started with Maine getting on the board first, but then allowing four unanswered goals. It was a lead that was too insurmountable for Maine to recover, though they came close to tying it up.
That was a turning point as Maine has since demolished their last two opponents outscoring them 12-1. Devin Shore and Ben Hutton have finally been getting into a groove as both have scored three goals each in the last two. Shore and Hutton are the number one and two leaders in points on the Black Bears respectively. I expect them to continue this run headed into Vermont.
Vermont is coming off a weekend sweep against UMass last weekend in Amherst. Goaltenders Hoffman and Santaguida each saw action over the two games. On night one, saw Vermont coming back from an early 0-2 deficit to be pulling off a 3-2 victory in Amherst. Night two took this series to Burlington where the Catamounts got on the board late in the first period and just put the game on cruise control. Mario Puskarich (above) scored his team leading fourth goal of the season in the third period as Vermont went on to win 2-0.
The Catamounts are led by senior Chris Mccarthy with a 3-5-8 stat line. Puskarich is the leading goal-scorer with 4 goals and 2 assists. Senior captain H.T. Lenz has been quite the disappointment as he’s registered only two points, both are assists through 10 games. Vermont has been doing better than expectations so far, as they were picked to finish 9th in the conference, they currently sit in fourth place. But their schedule will just get tougher down the road.
This series will be a grudge match from two teams in similar positions right now, Maine has performed slightly better than Vermont so far. The battle between these two teams a few weeks ago at the Alfond gives somewhat of an indication that this is gonna be a good one. Coach Gendron has preached the 60 minute effort and not ease up after scoring. We certainly saw that against BU and BC in the last couple of weekends. The team is finally coming around to an offensive powerhouse, doesn’t mean that this team will be putting up 5-7 goals a weekend, though that would be nice.
The biggest key is figuring out how to avoid the shot-blocking style that Vermont does so well. Whether it’s firing rockets at them till they stop, or just elaborate passing to which they can’t block them. All I know is Red’s been looking at a lot of tape
The sophomores who maybe had fell under the pressure from the hype they received in the preseason might be behind them as they’ve been great as of late. But then again the Black Bears haven’t been on the road for the last few weeks. I expect the results to be similar to their matchup weeks ago at Orono. They’re gonna be close games, with my official prediction calling for a split.
You can view the games on Vermont’s athletic site, follow this link and you can find it from their. I believe the games are free so you don’t have to pay $8 for the video. I will have a review of the series sometime sunday or monday, but until then enjoy the rest of your Thanksgiving weekend everybody. Go Blue