NO. 8 MAINE vs. NO. 3 NEW HAMPSHIRE, UMASS
Time, site: Friday, 7:30 p.m. (UNH); Sunday, 4 p.m. (UMass); Alfond Arena, Orono
Records: Maine 7-3-4 (5-2-2 Hockey East), UNH 9-2-4 (7-1-2 HE), UMass 3-6-3 (2-3-3)
Series, last meeting: Maine leads UNH 56-45-5, Maine 6-3 on Feb. 6; Maine leads UMass 39-15-5, UMass 4-3 on Feb. 6
Key players: Maine — LW Spencer Abbott (11 goals, 10 assists), RW Gustav Nyquist (5 & 12), RW Joey Diamond (8 & 6), C Robby Dee (5 & 9), D Josh Van Dyk (0 & 8), D Mike Cornell (1 & 4), G Martin Ouellette (1-0-1, 1.44 goals-against average, .941 save percentage); UNH — LW Paul Thompson (10 & 13), RW Mike Sislo (8 & 14), C Phil DeSimone (4 & 16), D Blake Kessel (3 & 8), D Brett Kostolansky (4 & 6), RW John Henrion (5 & 4), G Matt DiGirolamo (9-2-4), 2.30, .924); UMass — RW Michael Pereira (7 & 6), LW T.J. Syner (4 & 6), LW Daniel Hobbs (3 & 5), C Branden Gracel (2 & 6), D Michael Marcou (2 & 5), D Joel Hanley (1 & 6), G Paul Dainton (3-3-2, 2.87, .915); Outlook: The Black Bears will look to extend their unbeaten streak at home (5-0-1) against a pair of teams that have each won their last three games and are 3-0-1 in their last four. Maine will have to keep a close eye on UNH's prolific senior line of Thompson-DeSimone-Sislo. Maine will try to snap an 0-for-29 power-play drought. Maine has won three of the last four meetings with UNH. Both teams are exceptional in transition so puck management, particularly in the neutral zone, will be important. Swift-skating UNH right wing Steve Moses has two game-winners against Maine. UMass lost its top five scorers but the youthful Minutemen have bounced back nicely from an 0-6-2 start. The Minutemen will benefit from the fact they don't play this week while Maine will have to rebound from Friday night's game with UNH. UMass is enjoying its best stretch in their history against the Black Bears with five straight wins over them.
MAINE WOMEN vs. UNION
Time, site: Friday, 2 p.m., Saturday, noon, Alfond Arena, Orono
Records: Maine 7-7-3, Union 1-13-2
Series, last meeting: Maine leads 4-1-1, Maine 4-0 on Dec. 12, 2009
Key players: Maine — C Brittany Dougherty (10 goals, 11 assists), LW Jennie Gallo (10 & 6), RW Myriam Croussette (7 & 9), RW Danielle Ward (7 & 8), D Ashley Norum (1 & 8), D Chloe Tinkler (2 & 4), G Brittany Ott (6-6-3, 2.30 goals-against average, .931 save percentage); Union — RW Emilie Arsenault (3 & 3), C Calle Heywood (3 & 2), C Kelly Alyea (2 & 3), LW Lauren Hoffman (2 & 3), D Perri Maduri (0 & 3), D Dania Simonds (1 & 1), G Kate Gallagher (1-11-1, 2.27, .933)
Outlook: The Dutchwomen have held opponents to three goals or less in 11 of their 16 games but they have been held to two goals or less in 12 of their last 13 games including Wednesday's 1-0 loss to UConn. They have scored only 20 goals in 16 games. Maine had its six-game unbeaten streak (3-0-3) snapped in a 4-3 overtime loss at Vermont on Saturday and would love to go into their extended Christmas break with a pair of wins. Maine won't play again until it hosts Providence College on Jan. 2-3. Dougherty and Gallo have become the first pair of Black Bears to score 10 or more goals in a season since 2006-2007. These will be Maine's final non-conference games as their remaining 14 games are all Hockey East contests. Maine's power play is operating at a solid 20 percent thanks to Gallo's five power-play goals and Dougherty's four.
MAINE vs. PENNSYLVANIA
Time, site: Friday, 7 p.m., The Palestra, Philadelphia
Records: Maine 1-6, Penn 2-5
Series, last meeting: 1st meeting
Key players: Maine — 5-11 G Amber Smith (12.4 ppg, 4.0 rpg), 6-1 F Samantha Wheeler (12.8 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 2.0 apg, 2.0 spg), 5-9 G Katelyn Vanderhoff (7.7 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.3 apg, 1.9 spg), 5-7 G Brittany Williams (3.9 ppg, 2.9 rpg, 2.0 apg), 5-9 G Ashleigh Roberts (6.9 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.1 apg), 6-2 F Corinne Wellington (5.6 ppg, 3.9 rpg); Penn — 5-10 F Alyssa Baron (15.0 ppg, 4.3 rpg), 5-11 F Jess Knapp (9.7 ppg, 8.7 rpg),5-6 G Meghan McCullough (6.3 ppg, 3.0 rpg), 6-1 G Erin Power (4.0 ppg, 6.0 rpg, 2.3 apg), 6-2 C Caroline Nicholson (2.4 ppg, 2.0 rpg)
Outlook: Something has to give as the Black Bears try to halt a five-game losing streak and the Quakers try to stop a four-game skid. UMaine hopes to welcome back Wheeler, who has missed the last two games after suffering a blow to the head in practice. The Bears continue the quest for effective personnel combinations, including more consistency from their post players. UMaine is looking for better rebounding and a continued emphasis on limiting its turnovers. The Bears have showed more offensive punch, but are trying to tighten up their 1-2-2 matchup zone. Both teams have struggled offensively, but Penn is allowing only 57.9 ppg as compared to UMaine's 76.7 ppg. UMaine is playing the first of two games in three days as it continues on to Penn State for a Sunday contest. Penn is playing for the last time in 19 days as it enters final exams. The Quakers won only two games last season.