MAINE vs. MINNESOTA-DULUTH
Time, site: Friday (7 p.m.), Saturday (7:30), Alfond Arena, Orono
Records: UMaine 2-2, Minnesota-Duluth 2-2-2
Series, last meeting: UMD 6-4, UMaine 1-0 on Dec. 28, 2012
Key players: Maine — LW Mitch Fossier (3 goals, 2 assists), D Rob Michel (2 & 3), C Tim Doherty (2 & 1), D Patrick Holway (1 & 2), RW Eduards Tralmaks (2 & 1), G Jeremy Swayman (1-1, 3.61 goals-against average, .873 save percentage), G Rob McGovern (1-1, 5.39, .877); UMD — RW Nick Swaney (2 & 5), D Mikey Anderson (3 & 3), LW Riley Tufte (3 & 2), C Peter Krieger (2 & 2), D Jarod Hilderman (1 & 3), G Nick Deery (0-1-2, 2.86, .871), G Hunter Shepard (2-1, 3.01, .847)
Game notes: UMD is ranked 10th in one national poll and 11th in the other. Swaney, the National Collegiate Hockey Conference Rookie of the Week, is second among the nation’s freshmen in points and assists. Scott Sandelin’s youthful Bulldogs, who lost to former UMaine captain Jim Montgomery’s Denver Pioneers 3-2 in the national championship game a year ago, have been hit hard by graduation and early defections. They lost five of their top six scorers along with goalie Hunter Miska, who played in 39 games as a freshman but signed with Arizona in the offseason. The key matchup in the series will be Minnesota-Duluth’s potent power play, operating at 28.6 percent efficiency which is 13th best in the country, against UMaine’s woeful penalty-killing which is dead last at 47.4 percent. “We had some misunderstandings pertaining to roles but we have gotten them clarified,” explained UMaine’s Michel. “We actually did a very good job on the penalty kill Saturday (6-3 win over Miami). That was a big step for us. We’re heading in the right direction.” UMD has outshot its opponents 238-130 and the plus-108 differential leads the country.