MAINE vs. NORTHEASTERN
Time, site: Saturday, 7 p.m., Matthews Arena, Boston
Records: Maine 11-6-4 (8-4-2 Hockey East); Northeastern 7-10-4 (6-7-3)
Series, last meeting: Maine leads 50-40-15, Maine 4-2 on 11/13/10
Key players: Maine — RW Gustav Nyquist (6 goals, 20 assists), LW Spencer Abbott (12 & 12), C Robby Dee (9 & 12), LW Brian Flynn (12 & 7), D Will O’Neill (1 & 9), D Jeff Dimmen (3 & 5), G Shawn Sirman (3-0-2, 2.30 GAA, .919 save pct.); Northeastern — RW Wade MacLeod (10 & 10), LW Tyler McNeely (7 & 9), RW Brodie Reid (4 & 9), C Steve Silva (4 & 7), D Anthony Bitetto (1 & 10), D Jamie Oleksiak (2 & 4), G Chris Rawlings (6-8-4, 2.24, .929)
Outlook: The resurgent Huskies have won four of their last five and have allowed just four goals in their last four games. Rawlings has posted back-to-back shutouts over Vermont (2-0) and Harvard (3-0). NU has a dangerous top line of Silva between McNeely and MacLeod. The Huskies are a physical, dump-and-chase team that can cycle the puck effectively. Maine’s forwards will have to contest the dump-ins in order to give the defense corps time to break the puck out of the zone. Maine will have to match NU’s intensity. The Black Bears will try to take advantage of NU’s inexperienced defense corps comprised of three freshmen (Bitetto, Oleksiak and Luke Eibler) and two sophomores, including converted forward Drew Daniels. Maine will be without sophomore right wing Joey Diamond (shoulder). He will be replaced by freshman Mark Anthoine. Flynn has 8 & 3 in his last eight games.
MAINE vs. STONY BROOK
Time, site: Saturday, 7 p.m., Alfond Arena, Orono
Records: Maine 11-7 (5-1 America East), Stony Brook 7-11 (2-4)
Series, last meeting: Maine leads 15-8, Stony Brook 83-64 on 2/10/10
Key players: Maine — 6-7 Troy Barnies (13.7 ppg, 7.5, .536 FG pct.), 6-3 G Gerald McLemore (11.9 ppg, .348 3-pt. FG pct.), 6-3 G Terrance Mitchell (10.2 ppg, .431 3-pt. FG pct.), 6-1 G Raheem Singleton (8.6 ppg, 4.1 apg), 6-7 F Murphy Burnatowski (7.9 ppg, 2.8 rp), 6-7 F Alasdair Fraser (5.9 ppg, 4.2 rpg, .557 FG pct.); Stony Brook — 6-1 G Bryan Dougher (13.2 ppg, 2.3 apg, .878 FT pct.), 6-0 G Marcus Rouse (9.2 ppg), 6-2 G Dave Coley (7.8 ppg, 3.7 rpg), 6-7 F Al Rapier (5.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg, .588 FG pct.), 6-9 F Danny Carter (5.4 ppg, 4.2 rpg)
Outlook: Focus will be a key for the Black Bears, who are coming off a big 72-58 win Wednesday night at Vermont. UMaine must come out with similar intensity and execution to beat Stony Brook and earn its fifth straight victory. The Bears hold a one-game lead over Vermont and Boston University in the league standings. The Seawolves are off to a tough start, having lost two straight and five of their last six. Seventh-place Stony Brook dropped a 67-62 decision Thursday at BU. The Seawolves have been stingy in league play (57.8 ppg), but have scored only 56.5 ppg themselves. SBU leads AE in defending the 3-pointer (.301), which means the Bears likely will try to pound the ball inside in the hope of forcing the defense to react.
MAINE vs. STONY BROOK
Time, site: Sunday, 1 p.m., Alfond Arena, Orono
Records: Maine 3-15 (1-5 America East), Stony Brook 3-15 (0-6)
Series, last meeting: Stony Brook leads 11-9, Stony Brook 59-47 on 2/13/10
Key players: Maine — 5-11 G Amber Smith (10.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg, 1.3 spg, .792 FT pct.), 5-9 G Ashleigh Roberts (10.6 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 2.0 apg), 5-9 G Katelyn Vanderhoff (8.0 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 3.2 apg, 1.9 spg), 5-11 G Tanna Ross (6.9 ppg, 3.2 rpg), 6-4 C Ali Nalivaika (5.2 ppg), 5-7 G Brittany Williams (2.6 ppg); Stony Brook — 5-10 F Kirsten Jeter (12.8 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 2.9 spg), 6-1 F/C Destiny Jacobs (9.1 ppg, 7.8 rpg, .707 FT pct.), 5-7 G Sam Landers (8.1 ppg, 2.8 apg), 5-8 G Jodie Plikus (7.5 ppg), 5-6 Tamiel Murray (4.3 ppg, 3.7 rpg, 1.9 apg)
Outlook: It might be minimal motivation, but the Black Bears have to win this game to avoid falling into last (ninth) place in the conference standings. UMaine is coming off Thursday’s 57-48 loss at Vermont and continues to have difficulty putting points on the board. The Bears have lost three in a row and five of their last six. The Seawolves actually have struggled even more than the Bears. They are mired in a 12-game losing streak that dates back to Dec. 2. Stony Brook is coming off Thursday’s 82-65 home loss to Boston University. UMaine has to contain Jeter inside and get back quickly in transition to avoid giving up layups. In AE play, the Bears rank last in scoring (48.8 ppg) and FG pct. (.311). However, SBU is the league’s most porous defense, allowing 68.2 ppg on .401 shooting.