Dead River Co. Classic
MAINE vs. HOLY CROSS
Time, site: Friday, 6 p.m.; Alfond Arena, Orono
Records: Maine 1-2; Holy Cross 2-3
Series, last meeting: Holy Cross leads 8-3, HC 68-63 on 1/2/09
Key players: Maine — 5-9 G Amanda Tewksbury (11.3 ppg, 8.3 rpg), 6-0 F Samantha Wheeler (11.0 ppg, 5.7 rpg), 5-5 G Kristin Baker (8.3 ppg, 2.0 apg, .778 FT pct.), 5-9 G Katelyn Vanderhoff (7.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg, 3.3 apg, 2.7 spg), 5-7 G Brittany Williams (5.3 ppg), 6-3 C Samantha Baranowski (72.0 ppg, 4.0 rpg); Holy Cross — 5-10 G Briana McFadden (12.2 ppg, 2.2 apg), 5-8 Bethany O’Dell (12.2 ppg), 6-0 F Whitney Fremeau (11.8 ppg, 6.4 rpg), 5-10 G Meredith Ward (4.4 ppg, 2.4 apg, 1.8 spg), 6-0 F/F Alyssa May (4.4 ppg, 4.6 rpg)
Outlook: The Black Bears return to Alfond Arena for the first of six consecutive home games in the Dead River tournament. UMaine will try to snap a two-game losing streak during which it has averaged only 53 ppg. The Bears are coming off last Saturday’s loss at New Jersey Tech, while the Crusaders have also dropped two in a row, including Tuesday’s 90-57 blowout at the hands of Boston College. UMaine continues to search for chemistry and continuity. The Bears must respect a Holy Cross team that likes to shoot the 3-pointer but has hit only 28 percent thus far. UMaine is looking for more in the way of transition baskets. Both teams have struggled to score consistently and the Bears are trying to develop more of an inside presence that has been lacking.
MAINE vs. No. 3 UMASS LOWELL
Time, site: Friday, 7 p.m., Tsongas Arena, Lowell, Mass.
Records: Maine 4-7-1 (3-4-1 Hockey East), UML 8-3-1 (4-2-1 HE)
Series, last meeting: Maine leads 67-27-3, UML 6-0 on 3/7/09
Key players: Maine — RW Gustav Nyquist (7 goals, 9 assists), LW Adam Shemansky (6 & 4), LW Spencer Abbott (3 & 7), C Robby Dee (3 & 6), D Will O’Neill (3 & 6), D Jeff Dimmen (2 & 4), G Scott Darling (4-3-1, 3.22 goals-against average, .891 save percentage); UML — C Scott Campbell (5 & 8), D Nick Schaus (4 & 8), RW Paul Worthington (6 & 5), LW Chris Auger (4 & 7), LW Kory Falite (5 & 5), D Maury Edwards (2 & 6), G Nevin Hamilton (4-0-1, 2.36, .918)
Outlook: UML swept the three-game series last year. The River Hawks had a six-game unbeaten streak (5-0-1) snapped Tuesday night in a 4-2 loss at Providence. It was the first time the River Hawks had been held to fewer than three goals this season. UML is the No. 7 scoring team in the country (3.75 goals per game) thanks to the eighth-best power play (23.5 percent). Maine will be without three injured defensemen (Mike Banwell, Nick Pryor, Brett Carriere) while UML will be without injured blue-liner Barry Goers. The Bears can’t afford to turn the puck over and must guard against UML’s long stretch break-out passes to the red line. The River Hawks have one of the nation’s most mobile defense corps and their defensemen love to join in the attack. Maine will have to watch for trailers.