First off, I apologize for the lack of coverage of the Dartmouth game. I was caught up homework creek without a paddle.
Anywho. Going into the season, everyone thought Maine was going to be a truly horrible team. Coming off their worst season in two decades (8-24-6), Maine was ranked dead last in the Hockey East preseason poll. Worse than UNH. Worse than Merrimack. Worse than UMass.
Though the Black Bears have still been pretty bad, rocking a 4-6-2 record, they have exceeded expectations so far. Two of those victories came against two teams currently in USCHO’s top 6 in Quinnipiac and Lowell. The problem has been their lack of wins away from Alfond: they’re 0-3-2 on the road. Oh god, I hope I didn’t jinx it.
Rob McGovern has emerged as a very good #1 college goaltender. His freshman year was iffy, posting a .905 save percentage, but he’s turned it up his sophomore year and currently sports a .921. Three times this year he’s stopped 39 shots, two of which willed Maine to a point. Senior Matt Morris and freshman Stephen Mundinger are his backups.
The defense is very young, with only two players above sophomore year. This team does not lack size on that inexperienced blueline either, with Hungarian U20 international Olivér Herner standing at 6’7″, Stephen Cochrane at 6’6″, and Red Wings prospect Patrick Holway at 6’4″. The upperclassmen, Eric Schurhamer and Mark Hamilton, have been their go-to guys when the D needs to produce points, with five points each. This big defense will be a test for a smaller, skilled Catamount team.
Up front, Maine’s go-to has been the one-two punch of seniors Blaine Byron and Cam Brown. Both have 12 points so far, and Byron has extra motivation as he tries to earn a pro contract with the Penguins, who drafted him. Freshman Mitchell Fossier has also shown well in his first collegiate season with 9 points. Most of this production has come at even strength, as Maine’s power play has been a pitiful 8.7%, 6th worst in the nation.
Both games on CatamounTV. We’ll have coverage of Friday’s game, but not Saturday’s, as I’ll be on the road all day.