Cumberland County Civic Center in Portland has been kind to the University of Maine men’s hockey team of late.
And they’re hoping that trend continues tonight at 7 when the Black Bears face perennial ECAC contender St. Lawrence.
Maine is unbeaten in its last 11 regular-season games in Portland (8-0-3) and added an exhibition win over the U.S. National Team Development Program’s Under-18 team last season.
Maine has an overall record of 16-6-3 at the CCCC. Its last loss was a 3-2 setback to New Hampshire on March 2, 1995.
Although the Bears only play there once a year and usually only have one practice and a pregame skate before they play, junior defenseman Jeff Dimmen said, “The fans make it a home-ice advantage for us. We feel real comfortable there because the fans support us.”
“It’s been good to us and hopefully it’ll keep up,” added Dimmen.
“We get different fans [than the Alfond fans] there, and it’s good for them [to get a chance to see us play],” said Maine junior center and captain Tanner House. “And there’s more of a pro feel to it.
“We usually do pretty well and everyone gets excited to go down there and play,” added House. “Some guys haven’t even seen Portland before, so it’s nice to get down there and have a change of venue.”
Maine sophomore goalie Scott Darling said it will be fun to play in a “big rink like that, an AHL rink [home of the Portland Pirates]. It’ll be a lot of fun. We’ll have a new group of fans.”
Darling was hoping to play because “St. Lawrence has six or seven of my [junior hockey] teammates.”
Maine coach Tim Whitehead said, “It’s always a highlight of our season.
“The crowds come out and the players always play hard. It’s great to go down there. [CCCC General Manager] Steve Crane and his staff do a great job making us feel at home. It really is a home game for us with the way they treat us.”
In addition to the game, the Maine players will hold a free Skate with the Bears from noon until 1 p.m. at the CCCC that is open to the public.