A trap game is a game played right before an important contest against an archrival or a highly ranked opponent.
That is what is facing the University of Maine’s men’s hockey team Wednesday night when it entertains the University of Vermont Catamounts in a Hockey East game at 7.
The Black Bears have a date at Boston’s Fenway Park against archrival University of New Hampshire on Saturday evening.
Also contributing to the trap-game equation is the fact Maine swept Vermont in Burlington, Vt., last month; the Black Bears are coming off a Florida College Classic championship and Vermont has lost five of its last six.
The Black Bears have won five of their last six and are 6-1-1 in the last eight meetings with the Catamounts, who are just 1-9-1 in Hockey East.
Maine is 5-6-1 in league play.
Maine is 8-7-2 overall while coach Kevin Sneddon’s Catamounts are 4-13-1.
The Maine players insist they won’t look past Vermont.
“As a senior leader, it’s my job to make sure that doesn’t happen,” said Maine center and co-captain Brian Flynn. “We have to stay focused throughout the week. It’s a huge two points for us and it’s two league points.”
Senior left wing Spencer Abbott said every team in Hockey East is good “whether you think they are or not. If they just pull it together for one game, they could play like one of the best teams in the league,” said Abbott. “If we aren’t sharp, they’re going to knock us off. They’re very good in the offensive zone so we’re going to have to be good defensively before we transition to offense.”
The Black Bears are fully aware that two of Vermont’s four wins have been over nationally ranked teams Minnesota in Minnesota and Ferris State last weekend in Burlington.
They also know they have lost their last three Hockey East games at Alfond Arena.
“Our fans deserve a lot more than our recent showings at home,” said senior defenseman Ryan Hegarty. “Sweeping a [season] series in this league is something special. If we want to have the season we want to have, we need to sweep some teams. This is a good opportunity for us to kill two birds with one stone.”