MAINE vs. UMASS
Time, site: Friday, Saturday, 7 p.m., Mullins Center, Amherst, Mass.
Records: Maine 16-10-6 (13-8-4 Hockey East); UMass 6-20-5 (5-15-5)
Series, last meeting: Maine leads 40-16-5, Maine 4-1 on Dec. 12, 2010
Key players: Maine — RW Gustav Nyquist (16 goals, 26 assists), LW Spencer Abbott (15 & 20), LW Brian Flynn (18 & 14), C Tanner House (10 & 21), D Will O’Neill (3 & 15), D Jeff Dimmen (6 & 9), G Dan Sullivan (9-5-1, 2.28 goals-against average, .903 save percentage); UMass — LW T.J. Syner (9 & 16), RW Daniel Hobbs (9 & 15), LW Michael Pereira (10 & 13), D Joel Hanley (3 & 15), C Chase Langeraap (8 & 6), D Adam Phillips (8 & 5), G Paul Dainton (6-15-4, 2.96, .910)
Outlook: UMass has won the last eight meetings at the Mullins Center, which is 10 feet wider than Maine’s Alfond Arena. UMass’ record is misleading. The Minutemen have lost nine one-goal games including four straight. UMass hasn’t won since a 6-0 victory at Vermont on Jan. 22. The Minutemen are 0-8-2 since then and they haven’t scored more than three goals in a game. Pereira, Hanley and Phillips are among seven freshmen who have played in at least 23 games. The Black Bears must follow the blueprint that has produced five straight wins: exceptional coverage in front of their net, low-risk attack with limited turnovers and solid goaltending from Sullivan. UMass is quick so any turnovers can quickly turn into odd-man rushes. Maine went 6-for-14 on the power play in the sweep of Merrimack last weekend and UMass is 53rd among 58 teams on the penalty kill at a 12.9 percent success rate.