BANGOR — The University of Maine men’s hockey team practiced at Bangor’s Sawyer Arena on Tuesday and Wednesday and it brought back memories for freshmen left wing Mark Anthoine.
The Lewiston native played for Saint Dominic High School before leaving to play Junior hockey.
“It’s funny. I was on the bus the other day and I was talking to coach (associate head coach Dan) Kerluke,” said Anthoine. “My freshman year was the last year he was coaching (at Bangor High). They beat us (at Sawyer) but then we beat them in the playoffs.”
Anthoine said returning to Sawyer “definitely brings you back to your roots. You’ve got the small town rink setup. It’s nice.”
He said the ice is “usually good at Sawyer because it’s freezing out there. My toes were frozen in practice.”
Anthoine has been a nice addition to the Black Bear lineup. He is the only freshman who has played in all 12 games and he has three assists. He has played primarily on the fourth line and he has also seen some duty on the penalty kill.
“He spent an extra year in the USHL (United States Hockey League) and that really helped him,” said associate head coach Bob Corkum. “He was the most ready among our freshman to come in and contribute right away. And he has been doing a very nice job for us.”
Corkum coached Anthoine when he played for the Junior Pirates B team in Portland and was the league’s youngest all-star. He saw a lot of potential in him.
“He moved the puck well and he had a nice scoring touch,” said Corkum. “His role with us will develop over the years. He’s just getting his feet wet at this level. He will continue to get better at handling the speed at this level just like all the freshmen.”
“Mark has been a very steady contributor from the start and he’s only going to get better,” said Whitehead. “He brings a nice, strong physical presence to the lineup and he’s a very good skater. He has worked hard at his skating and that has become a strength now.
“He has skill and a good scoring touch. It hasn’t come out yet but it will eventually come out,” said Whitehead, who added “it’s great to have a Maine kid in the lineup.” He feels Anthoine will become “a very valuable member of our team.”
Anthoine was an all-star in the prestigious USHL a year ago, notching 27 goals and 25 assists in 60 games between Chicago and Sioux Falls.
The 5-foot-10, 190-pound Anthoine has been really happy with his rookie year to date.
“I’m honored to be playing every night. I hope to keep it that way. I love playing,” said the 20-year-old Anthoine. “I’ve been trying to bring something to the table every game, whether it be physical play or making plays. I’m just trying to do whatever I can to help us win.”
He said he has learned “a lot of things like how quickly you have to move the puck and make decisions. It’s mostly the little things. Once you get to this level, one little (mistake) at one end of the rink can cost you a goal at the other end.”
He loves playing at Alfond Arena and in his home state.
“It’s awesome. Whenever we win at home, you have to give props to the fans. It makes everything fun,” said Anthoine, whose goal is to keep improving.
“I want to get better every day. I’m going to work on something new. I want to expand my role and do whatever I can to help us get better as a team. And I know we will,” said Anthoine.
“Mark consistently works hard and keeps things simple,” said senior center and captain Tanner House. “You can tell he has a lot of skill. He’s a big, strong kid who can control the puck and protect it down low pretty well. He has been a great addition.”
Nyquist looks to break out
Goals have been hard to come by for UMaine junior right wing Gustav Nyquist, who led the nation in scoring a year ago and was a Hobey Baker Award Hat Trick (final three) finalist.
Nyquist has four goals and 11 assists but he has just one empty-net goal in his last four games.
He had 19 goals and 42 assists a year ago.
Nyquist had 11 shots on goal in the Bears’ 4-0 and 4-1 losses at Boston College over the weekend, including a penalty shot that was saved by John Muse in the first period of Friday’s game.
“I had some chances at BC. I’m pretty disappointed in myself,” said Nyquist. “I should have been able to score on some of the chances over the weekend.
“But that’s the way it is sometimes. I’m trying not to think about it too much. It’ll come. I’m not too worried,” said Nyquist, who intends to continue working on his shot.
He noted that his line has always had to deal with playing against a good checking line on the other team.
“But we’ll bounce back,” said Nyquist, who leads the Bears in shots on goal with 49. “I’m looking forward to the Providence series (Dec. 3-4).
Newton earns All-America honor
UMaine field hockey forward Kelly Newton has been named to another All-American third team, this one sponsored by WomensFieldHockey.com. She had been selected to the Longstreth/National Field Hockey Coaches Association All-America third team earlier this week.
Newton, a native of Vancouver, British Columbia, had 19 goals and seven assists for 45 points in 19 games and was the America East Offensive Player of the Year. She owns the school’s career scoring record with 112 points.
Whitehead upset about Lynch’s death
Whitehead was saddened to hear about the death of former Black Bear defenseman Paul Lynch. He died Monday at the age of 28.
Lynch had two goals and four assists in 22 games as a freshman during the 2001-2002 season and had three assists in 10 games as a sophomore before deciding to transfer to UMass to try to get more playing time.
“He was a real nice kid. He was quiet but well-liked. He was a hard worker,” said Whitehead. “It’s a real shame. My heart goes out to his family.”