Men’s Preview: UVM @ Maine (2x)

UVM men finally won again!

I’ll apologize – I completely forgot about the UVM/Dartmouth game last week. No excuses, I was spending most of my Thanksgiving break playing the new Pokemon (which is pretty solid and the most difficult handheld edition) and hyping up the women’s hockey tournament that I just totally forgot.

So now it’s a huge conference weekend in Maine. The Black Bears just got back from Belfast, where they placed third in the Friendship Four (they lost to Providence 3-0 and doubled up RPI 4-2). That brings them to 5-7 overall and 3-4 in Hockey East. There is no middle ground for this team. When they’re good, they’re pretty good (6-2 win over Lowell, 5-2 over BU). When they’re bad, they’re unwatchable (5-1 loss to UConn, 7-0 spanking at home against BU). It’s a young team, and thus will have the ups and downs that all young teams have.

Maine does not really have one standout player; they are  a team that primarily scores by committee with their leading scorer (freshman Eduards Tralmaks) boasting 9 points. Eleven players have at least five points…and that’s without Nolan Vesey (23 points last year) really producing (just three points so far). In addition, though Rob McGovern seems to have forgotten how to stop the puck (.875 SV%), the Black Bears are redeemed by their new goalie, Jeremy Swayman, a Bruins pick, who has a .921.

Three Things to Look Out For:

  1. Desposito. (Get it? Like Despacito? okay I’ll stop) I know I’ve been harsh on the men’s team lately (perhaps even unfair), so here’s some praise. Alex Esposito has been FIRE for UVM recently with goals in his last 3 games. He has a terrific engine, never taking a shift off, and now he’s shown some end product. It’s rare that I’ll mention a UVM player in Three Things, but Espo deserves some praise.
  2. Not-So-Special Teams. Maine’s special teams have been dreadful this season. They are 49th in the nation on the power play (14.58%) and dead last on the PK (70.7%). That’s exploitable, especially because Maine takes the most PIM per game in the nation.
  3. Build Momentum. UVM needs a good weekend coming off an OT win in Dartmouth. If they can grab some points in Orono and take the winnable home game against Brown next week, they’ll go into the Christmas break with some momentum and a couple weeks to heal up (Dzhioshvili, if the rumors I heard at the start of the season were accurate, could be back by the Catamount Cup).

Games are tonight and tomorrow at 7. Maine lives in 2017 and thus has a free live stream on their site.

Women’s preview out later today.

Go Cats.

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