The Black Bears will host the Merrimack Warriors for two games this weekend at Alfond Arena.
“There’s four points on the line this weekend, every point is huge.” said Martin Ouellette
This weekend is the last soft weekend for the Black Bears as the schedule only gets tougher as the rest of the season progresses through the final games of the regular season before the Hockey East tournament begins in three weeks.
Maine is coming off a split series at Notre Dame where they managed to win their first road game of the season.
“As a team we battled hard both nights, it was a tough two minutes on Saturday … we played pretty well overall.” -Marty
But some struggles closing out games raises some questions about this team finishing.
“It’s something to look at, it was a weak point in our weekend” said Devin Shore. Red added, “In our Saturday meeting we talked about what went wrong … What happened on Saturday was more psychological than physical. I don’t have any worries about it moving forward. We’ll work real hard to make sure that doesn’t happen.”
It’ll be something to lookout for as it’s a concern going forward but we’ll see if this was just a fluke. But Gendron hinted that, “It could happen, we’ve all seen that before.”
In recent years Merrimack has just been a thorn in Maine’s side as Merrimack after years of struggle finally started contending in Hockey East over the last few seasons.
In the last three seasons Maine went 4-8-2 against Merrimack. Merrimack got the better of the Black Bears in 2012-13 taking two out of three with the other game being a tie.
These teams met in the 2011 & 2012 Hockey East quarterfinals; 2011 being in Merrimack with the Warriors sweeping Maine and 2012 in Orono with the Black Bears winning the series 2-1.
Devin Shore sees that now is the time for this team to make headway in the standings, “There’s six games left in the season, and they’re all pretty much must wins. There’s no more time to waste points, every point is crucial.”
Shore knocks it on the head as Maine is currently in a big battle for 3 spots that would ensure a home series in a quarterfinal matchup. Four points would go a long way for Maine as their remaining opponents after Merrimack include Northeastern and Providence.
But to bring the focus back to this weekend, some of the players are aware of Merrimack. Martin Ouellette said, “We [team] know Merrimack is a hard team to play against.”
“They’re not just gonna hand it to us, we gotta earn it,” said Devin Shore. Any given night anyone could win a game in Hockey East, nothing comes easy in this league. While it could be a great weekend for the Black Bears, they need to work hard for those four points that would be huge towards that bid for the home series.
For this weekend checkout coverage from WMEB 91.9 FM on both nights. Check in around 6:50 pm for the pre game to start followed by puck drop at 7:05 pm. We have a working live stream for those not in the immediate area of Orono. Hope you tune in and stay safe this weekend, check back around Sunday for a recap of this weekend’s action.