For the University of Maine’s hockey team, reaching the Hockey East semifinals for the first time since 2006 should prove beneficial in the future.
Maine will graduate just four players: right wing Dave deKastrozza, center Brett Carriere, left wing Kevin Swallow and goaltender David Wilson so it is conceivable that the Bears should challenge for NCAA Tournament berths in the future.
“This is huge for us,” said sophomore right wing Gustav Nyquist. “We talked about it all year. Last year we made it to the Hockey East playoffs and won a game [6-3 in game two of their quarterfinal series at Boston University]. This year, we won a playoff series [against UMass Lowell]. Our next big goal is winning the Hockey East championship and qualifying for the NCAA Tournament and I think we’re ready for it.”
Maine didn’t qualify for the Hockey East tournament two years ago.
“Our first goal this year was to host a quarterfinal series and we attained it,” said coach Tim Whitehead. “The second goal was to advance to the [TD Banknorth] Garden, which we did. Our next goal is to make the NCAA Tournament and we have to win the [Hockey East] Tournament to do that. This would be our first champi-onship since 2004 and if we do that, we’ll refocus again.”
Maine sophomore defenseman Ryan Hegarty said their accomplishment is certainly noteworthy and has future implications, but they shouldn’t be satisfied with it.
“We want to win the Hockey East championship,” said Hegarty.
After winning the Hockey East title in 2004 by beating UMass 2-1 in that memorable triple overtime thriller, the Bears lost to Boston College 2-1 in double overtime in their 2005 semifinal; they lost to BC 4-1 in the 2006 semifinal; got swept at UMass in the 2007 quarterfinals and missed the tourney by finishing ninth two years ago.
Hobey Baker award set for April 9
Nyquist is the school’s 10th different Hobey Baker Award finalist and first since Greg Moore in 2006.
Maine has had a total of 12 finalists.
David Capuano and Jean-Yves Roy were two-time finalists.
Prior to Moore, Steve Kariya was the previous finalist in 1999.
Scott Pellerin won it in 1992 and Paul Kariya won it the ensuing year.
The 10 finalists will be voted upon by a 24-member selection committee and another round of fan balloting.
Those results will be whittled down to three finalists and that will be announced on April 1.
The Hobey Baker Award will be presented on Friday, April 9 from Detroit, Mich., site of the Frozen Four. It will be telecast live on ESPNU.
Dumoulin contributes for BC
Biddeford’s Brian Dumoulin has made a definite impact as a freshman defenseman at Boston College.
Dumoulin, who was chosen to the Hockey East All-Rookie team, had a goal and 16 assists in 36 games entering BC’s semifinal against Vermont.
He led the Eagles in plus-minus with a plus-28.
A player is awarded a plus-one when he is on the ice when his team scores an even-strength or shorthanded goal and is assessed a minus-one when he is on the ice for an opponents’ even-strength or shorthanded goal.
“He has had an exceptional year for us and that’s hard to do for an 18-year-old freshman in our league,” said BC coach Jerry York. “The stat that jumps out at me is his plus-minus. It’s the best in the league. That’s an incredible stat for a freshman.”
Dumoulin was plus-24 in 27 league games.
“He’s a real good defenseman and has progressed very quickly here,” added York.
Dumoulin played for Biddeford High School before leaving to play for the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs in the New England Junior Hockey League.