ORONO, Maine — The University of Maine men’s hockey team isn’t dwelling on its missed opportunity to sew up a first-round bye and the opportunity to host a best-of-three quarterfinal in two weekends after being swept at home over the weekend by Providence.
The Friars’ win extended Maine’s losing streak to three games and winless skein to four (0-3-1).
If the Black Bears beat Merrimack, they will go to Providence for a best-of-three series.
“You can look at it different ways. Sometimes, with a bye [and two weeks off], players can get out of the loop. We have a game this weekend, and that gives us a chance to build momentum,” said senior left wing Mark Anthoine.
“You can’t worry about things you can’t change. It gives you unneeded stress,” said freshman Devin Shore.
“Everyone has to dig down deep inside them and realize that we need to bring more to the table. We have to use the three losses in a row as motivation to get better and better,” said Maine captain Brice O’Connor .
Special teams struggling
A key component in the playoffs is special teams play, and the Black Bears have been struggling in that area of late.
Over its last 12 games, Maine is 4-for-42 on the power play (9.5 percent), while the opponents are 10-for-49 (20.4 percent). In Maine’s last seven home games, the Black Bears are 1-for-23 with the man-advantage, while the opponents are 5-for-30.
“We’ve got to be better on special teams. We’re going to look at different combinations this week,” said Black Bears coach Red Gendron.
“The power play definitely has to sharpen up. But we’re not too far off. We had good puck movement and some good looks over the weekend, but the puck didn’t go in. It happens sometimes. We’ve got to work harder,” said Shore.
Mothers’ anthems are memorable
One of the highlights of Senior Night Saturday night at Alfond Arena was the rousing harmonies of Sue Swavely and Andrea Shore, who sang the Canadian and American national anthems. Swavely is the mother of Maine players Jon and Steven Swavely, and Shore is Devin Shore’s mom.
“That was truly one of the great things that happened Senior night,” said Gendron. “It shows that Maine hockey is a family that belongs to everyone.”
“It sent chills down my spine. It was incredible,” said Dan Sullivan whose sister, Rebecca, is a professional jazz singer who has also sung the anthem at Maine games.
The Swavely brothers and Shore were proud of their mothers.
“It was inspiring. It got me fired up,” said senior center Jon Swavely.
“For her to share her passion while I was doing my passion meant a lot to me and my family. My brother and dad were there, too. They did an incredible job,” said Shore.
Shore and Steven Swavely said their mothers practiced on Skype before rehearsing in Orono.
“The practice paid off for them. They did an awesome job,” said Swavely.