No. 7 MAINE vs. UMASS LOWELL, CONNECTICUT
Time, site: UML, Friday, 7 p.m.; UConn, Saturday, 7 p.m.; Alfond Arena, Orono
Records: Maine 0-0, UML 0-0, UConn 0-0
Series, last meeting: Maine leads UML 71-29-3, Maine 3-2 (OT) on March 14; Maine leads UConn 2-0, Maine 10-4 on Nov. 29, 1978
Key players (last year's stats): Maine — RW Gustav Nyquist (19 goals, 42 assists), LW Brian Flynn (19 & 28), C Tanner House (18 & 21), D Will O'Neill (8 & 23), D Jeff Dimmen (12 & 18), G Shawn Sirman (1-6, 5.19 goals against average, .832 save percentage), G Dan Sullivan (first year); UML — C Scott Campbell (16 & 18), C David Vallorani (9 & 18), C Riley Wetmore (6 & 9), D Maury Edwards (4 & 11), RW Michael Scheu (5 & 8), G Doug Carr (first year), G Marc Boulanger (first year); UConn: LW Andrew Olson (9 & 10), C Sean Ambrosie (7 & 11), RW Jason Krispel (3 & 12), C Justin Hernandez (8 & 5), D Chris Waterstradt (4 & 6), D Alex Gerke (4 & 6), G Garrett Bartus (5-14-1, 3.26, .900)
Outlook: The River Hawks graduated six of their top eight scorers, four defensemen and both goalies. Coach Blaise MacDonald said they will have to play a "meticulously mundane road game" by not turning the puck over and doing a thorough job in the defensive zone. The River Hawks will be quick and have returned some quality forwards like Campbell and Vallorani. Edwards was an All-American two years ago but struggled last season. Maine will try to dictate the tempo and put pressure on the young defense corps and freshman goalie. UML loves to fly its wings as soon as its defensemen gain control of the puck in the defensive zone so Maine's defensemen will have to make sure they retreat and intercept the long breakout passes. Maine coach Tim Whitehead is gunning for his 200th win at Maine. UML will seek to avenge its HE quarterfinal dismissal by Maine. Maine beat Acadia University (Nova Scotia) 5-1 in an exhibition last weekend and UML blanked St. Francis Xavier (Nova Scotia) 3-0. UConn, which didn't play an exhibition, is an Atlantic Hockey team that is coming off a 7-27-3 season. The Huskies struggled to score goals last season, averaging 1.59 goals per game while being held to one goal or less 19 times. They return their top seven scorers and should be significantly improved. Bartus played in 20 games as a freshman. Maine can't afford to take them lightly or look past them toward next weekend's series at Michigan State. Maine will be without C Klas Leidermark (concussion) and defenseman Ryan Hegarty (sprained ankle).