The Black Bears will welcome the American International Yellow Jackets of the Atlantic Hockey conference for a two-game series on Friday and Saturday.
As I look at this matchup, I can just see Daffy Duck saying, “Boy, am I a Yellow Jacket!” that’s the feeling I’m getting coming into this matchup. The 3-10 Yellow Jackets are coming in having lost seven straight games and that streak sounds like it’s gonna continue as they travel to one of the best home-ice teams in the country right now, the Maine Black Bears.
The Black Bears are coming off their seventh home victory against the then #7 Umass-Lowell Riverhawks 4-2 on Sunday. Despite Lowell giving Maine their all, a costly penalty gave Maine the advantage they needed as freshman Blaine Byron scored his fifth goal of the season. Maine’s powerplay was the strongest part of their game as they score three of their four goals on the powerplay, the other one being an empty-net tally. Martin Ouellette was phenomenal stopping 26 of 28 shots earning him the third star of the game.
“The power play came through and we played pretty well defensively against one of the best teams in the country,” said Gendron, who has been preaching better even-strength play in recent weeks. Certainly while even strength offense is still suffering a little, they’ll get quite the tune-up this weekend against American International.
We now take a look at the Yellow Jackets, the woeful team from the Atlantic Hockey conference that is currently in the middle of a tail-spin. They just came off a 3-2, 5-2 defeat from RIT as they just can’t seem to figure it out. The one bright spot American International has is there Junior forward Alexander MacMillan who’s their leading goal scorer with a stat line of 8-6-14. Their goaltending is atrocious as they average giving up 5 goals a game. Their goaltending is led by two freshmen that have played 6 games, Hunter Leisnar and Ty Reichenbach. Neither has faired well as the Yellow Jackets just can’t seem to figure it out.
Most recently American International played Lowell a week-and-a-half ago, in which they got creamed 6-1. They just can’t figure it out, 29-year head coach Gary Wright who seems like he’ll be there forever. You have to feel a little bad for this team that hasn’t finished higher than 8th in their hockey conference. But they’re sort of those lovable losers that gets beat up on year in and year out.
Despite my lack of correct predictions, I’m gonna put my prediction this way. With a team like American Int’l that averages giving up five goals a game, it’s not as much as will they win? but more of how much will they win by? My over/under is 4.5 goals for Maine on each night, for anyone that wants to play at home, leave a comment or tweet at me @aquirko with your prediction. I’m gonna say one night they’ll score four goals, the other night they score seven goals. I’m gonna say this is gonna be a fun weekend, just before I need to hit the books for finals.
Stay tuned for a recap of this weekend’s series on Sunday or Monday, we’ll see how this weekend goes. You can hear the games as Cody Beckett, Whitneigh Kinne, and myself will have the call both nights from the Alfond on WMEB 91.9 fm, not sure if we’re doing it on WMEB Plus so those not in the immediate Orono area can hear the game.