Preview: Maine men’s hockey vs. Minnesota-Duluth

Posted March 23, 2012, at 9:19 p.m.

NCAA Northeast Regional

NO. 11 MAINE VS. NO 5 MINNESOTA-DULUTH

Time, site: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, DCU Center, Worcester, Mass.

Records: Maine 23-13-3, Minnesota-Duluth 24-9-6

Series, last meeting: UMD leads 5-3, UMD 4-1 on 12/27/2005

Key players: Maine — LW Spencer Abbott (20 goals, 41 assists), RW Joey Diamond (25 & 22), C Brian Flynn (18 & 29), RW Matt Mangene (15 & 18), D Will O’Neill (3 & 28), D Ryan Hegarty (2 & 12), G Dan Sullivan (22-10-3, 2.54 goals-against average, .910 save percentage); UMD — C Jack Connolly (19 & 39), C Travis Oleksuk (21 & 30), RW J.T. Brown (23 & 13), LW Caleb Herbert (13 & 19), RW Mike Seidel (17 & 13), D Brady Lamb (9 & 21), G Kenny Reiter (22-8-6, 2.40, .912)

Outlook: The Bulldogs’ top five scorers are on two lines as two-time Hobey Baker Award finalist Connolly centers Seidel and Keegan Flaherty (7 & 4) and Oleksuk is flanked by Herbert and Brown. Maine coach Tim Whitehead said they are very similar to Boston University. They have a lot of talent and experience in all three areas. UMD is the defending national champion so the Bulldogs are battle-tested in the NCAA spotlight. Maine’s players will be making their NCAA debuts. Whether Abbott plays or not, Maine can’t dwell on it. They can’t afford to spot the Bulldogs a two-goal lead like they did against Boston College in the Hockey East championship game loss (4-1). Maine should have a home crowd advantage. The Black Bears must maintain their discipline and keep their feet moving in order to offset UMD’s physical play. They may also be able to draw penalties.

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