Preview: #5 Maine Black Bears

Hockey East Preview: #5  Maine Black Bears

2010-11 Storyline: Hobey Baker Finalist Gustav Nyquist not enough to bring Maine to the NCAA tournament.

2011-12 Storyline: The Black Bears battle for home ice led by the one-two punch of Brian Flynn and Spencer Abbott

Player To Watch: Brian Flynn

Player Missed Most: Gustav Nyquist

Newcomer To Keep An Eye On: Jacob Rutt

Random Fact: Alfond Arena underwent a number of renovations over the summer.  No word if the baked potato bar survived the overhaul.

Usual Beer The Triangle Pre-game Post-game Spot: Pat’s Pizza

It’s never easy to replace the production of a Hobey Baker finalist, but Maine will have to do just that.  Helping address that loss is the fact they have two forwards returning who scored 17 or more goals on the year in Brian Flynn and Spencer Abbott.  Joey Diamond will also be counted upon to take on more of the scoring load.  Other returning players will have to be counted on the most because, on paper at least, this recruiting class seems to be one of Maine’s weakest in some time.

The Black Bears’ defensemen, led by Will O’Neill, are probably one of the more solid groups top to bottom in the league.  They’ll have to be because goaltending is a question mark.  I noticed a couple previous previews touting the fact that Dan Sullivan was selected to last year’s All-Rookie team.  All well and good but who else was going to be selected?  The goalie tandem at Lowell?  Sullivan put up solid numbers for a freshman but was very hot and cold during the season.  It remains to be seen just how good he’ll be going forward.

They’ll Finish Lower Because: Sullivan struggles in net and Martin Oullette is unable to do any better.

They’ll Finish Higher Because: The defensemen are not forced to make up for subpar goaltending.

Fear The Triangle Fearless Hockey East Predictions
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5. Maine Black Bears
6. Massachusetts Minutemen (preview upcoming)
7. Vermont Catamounts
8. Providence Friars
9. Northeastern Huskies
10. Lowell River Hawks

The athletic department has interviews with all three captains from yesterday’s media day.

First up is Danny Hobbs.

Next up is T.J. Syner.

And finally assistant captain Mike Marcou.

Matt Vautour’s story from media day focuses on the rumors surrounding Notre Dame.  He also mentions that the Fenway game has sold 34,000 tickets.

College Hockey News has a good overall look at the Notre Dame situation and conference realignment in general.

Happy to report that the Syner family dog was found.