ORONO — Spencer Abbott began evolving into a consistent offensive threat at the end of last season for the University of Maine men’s hockey team.
The junior left winger registered at least one point in four of Maine’s five Hockey East playoff games, notching two goals and three assists.
And he has picked up right where he left off.
Entering tonight’s Hockey East game at Vermont, Abbott has had his named etched on the scoresheet in every one of Maine’s six games.
His five goals and 11 points lead the Black Bears in scoring.
Dating back to last season, he has an eight-game points streak (6 goals & 8 assists).
“He had a great summer and came back more assertive,” said Maine senior defenseman and assistant captain Jeff Dimmen. “He has really shot the puck well. He has one heck of a shot for a little guy.”
Maine coach Tim Whitehead added, “He has quietly evolved into an elite player. He has become a complete player.”
The 5-foot-10, 175-pound Abbott worked on his shot over the summer but said his success can be attributed more to a new mindset.
“I don’t think my shot has gotten a whole lot better. I’m just shooting the puck more,” said Abbott. “I’m being a little more selfish.”
Junior left wing Brian Flynn said Abbott has carried over a little confidence from last season.
“He has gotten a lot stronger on the puck and he’s a little bit faster,” Flynn said. “He’s a great playmaker, but he’s also a goal scorer. He’s one of the best shooters on the team. He has a great one-timer.”
Abbott acknowledged that a boost in confidence “has been the most important aspect” in his development.
“You can be good but if you don’t have confidence, you’re going to get tight with the puck. You’ll be looking to get rid of the puck instead of holding on to it and making the right play. And you won’t want the puck as much,” he said. “When you have confidence, all you want to do is get the puck. You’re able to make plays because you’re confident.”
Abbott scored two goals in 10 seconds in a 3-2 loss at Michigan State on Oct. 15 to set a school record for fastest goals by one player.
He has gained eight pounds and that has helped him win puck battles.
“It feels good to feel strong out there,” said the 22-year-old Abbott, a native of Hamilton, Ontario. “Guys don’t push you around.”
Abbott plays the point on one of Maine’s power-play units, and he enjoys the role. He had very little experience on the point, previously.
“I played there for half a season my last year of juniors,” said Abbott. “It’s fun. You get to see the whole ice and make plays. You get to touch the puck a lot.”
Abbott is from a hockey family. His father, Wayne, and his older brothers Matthew and Taylor all played.
“My dad has definitely been the biggest contributor to my career,” said Abbott, who added that his father doesn’t mind driving 12 hours one way to watch him play.