It was announced by Hockey East back in the spring that Frozen Fenway would return again for college hockey. They announced four matchups that’ll span over two days in January. Among those matchups, Maine is tabbed to make a return to Fenway Park on January 11th. But this time around instead of playing arch-rival UNH (Maine defeated UNH 5-4 in OT back in 2012), the Black Bears will take on their other hated rival the Boston University Terriers.
The Maine-BU rivalry dates back to the 1990’s, when both programs were two of the best in the country. The banter between rival head coaches Shawn Walsh and Jack Parker making it one of hottest rivalries around. Both teams traded championships against each other in Hockey East Championship games, BU beating Maine in ’91 and Maine returning the favor in ’93. The rivalry came to it’s biggest matchup yet when both teams met in the National Championship game in 1995 in Providence, RI. BU won that game 6-2 giving the Terriers their then fourth national championship. The contests between these two remain heated despite both coaches Walsh and Parker no longer coaching their respective teams.
Frozen Fenway has been a recently new concept that has grown rapidly since it’s inception back in 2009. It was started for the Boston Bruins to host the 2010 NHL Winter Classic, they took on the rival Philadelphia Flyers, with the Bruins winning 2-1 in overtime. In a smaller scale matchup, BU took on cross-town rival BC in 2010. After a year passed, there was talks of Hockey East hosting their own Frozen Fenway, on a bigger scale. Two matchups were announced Vermont vs. Umass and UMaine vs. New Hampshire for early January 2012. It became so popular that they announced an additional game between Boston College and Northeastern. Now they’re back again with 4 matchups over 2 weekends. The other matchups are Providence vs. Merrimack and Boston College vs. Notre Dame on Jan 4, Umass-Lowell vs. Northeastern will be the opening act before the headline game Maine-BU. Hockey East held a press conference about Frozen Fenway a few weeks ago
Maine is looking to score some revenge on BU from last season. Following a 1-0 BU victory at Agganis Arena back in December, BU came up to Orono in mid-February for two games. In the first game, that doesn’t come without controversy, it had a was a one of the many times that video review didn’t go into Maine’s favor. With about five minutes left in the 3rd Period, freshman forward Devin Shore appeared to have scored the go-ahead goal. But upon further review it was overturned due to goaltender’s interference by freshman Ryan Lomberg. But many have questioned whether that was the correct call, but it stood and Maine-BU played to a 3-3 tie in Game 1. While Game 2 was less controversial, it was more of a classic as Maine overcame a 3-goal deficit in the 3rd period to force a tie. But only to end in heartbreak as BU junior Matt Nieto buried one pass goaltender Martin Ouellette with just 5 seconds left to win 6-5 in OT. Maine will look to avenge that dreadful weekend just 7 months ago.
This game has a making of another true classic like many of the BU-UMaine matchups we’ve seen overtime. Despite the loss of the veteran presence for the Black Bears (i.e. Joey Diamond & Mike Cornell), the young Freshmen now Sophomores Devin Shore, Ben Hutton, Ryan Lomberg, and Steven Swavely are going to be key as these four were in the top five point scorers for Maine in 2012-13. Goaltender Martin “Marty” Ouellette is looking to have another stellar season as he was one of the bright spots of a sub-par season for the Black Bears. It is too early for me to speculate with a prediction, but keep reading as I’ll talk about Frozen Fenway more in depth as we get closer to Frozen Fenway in January.
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