The University of Maine men’s hockey team will try to gain some confidence and a scoring touch at 7 p.m. Friday when it entertains the University of New Brunswick’s Varsity Reds for an exhibition game.
UMaine coach Red Gendron will be looking for improvement from his team, which was easily handled by No. 14 Quinnipiac University from the ECAC 4-0 on Tuesday night in Hamden, Connecticut.
Quinnipiac outshot UMaine 40-20 including 19-4 in the first period.
The Black Bears are off to an 0-2-3 start while the Varsity Reds are 4-0. UNB also has a 5-2 exhibition win over Boston College and a 3-2 loss to UMass Lowell. UNB has won four Canadian national championships the past nine years and was the runner-up to Alberta a year ago.
Gendron will use the game to evaluate his team before it resumes play against Hockey East rival UMass and either Yale or Princeton at a tournament in Trenton, New Jersey on Oct. 30-31.
“I’m going to give an opportunity to some kids who haven’t played much yet to show us what they can do. They’ll have a chance to prove to me why they should play,” said Gendron.
Those expected to play who haven’t been in the lineup yet include freshmen defensemen Keith Muehlbauer and Stephen Cochrane, sophomore forward Jack Musil and senior defenseman/forward Billy Norman.
“It will also give people who have played and haven’t produced an opportunity to build some confidence and demonstrate why we should continue to have faith in their ability,” added Gendron.
Maine’s biggest issue has been its lack of goal production.
Maine has scored only two goals in its last four games and is coming off back-to-back shutout losses to Quinnipiac and Union College (2-0). Maine hasn’t scored in 125 minutes, 56 seconds and has scored just once over its last 221:36.
Maine has nine players who have played all five games and are pointless.
“We haven’t executed at the critical moments on offense,” said Gendron. “We haven’t been getting enough pucks to the net, we haven’t been screening and, when we have good shots, we haven’t been putting them on net.”
The problem for the Black Bears is that they don’t have any game-changers. They are a blue-collar, lunchpail type of team that has to outwork its opponent and play solid defense to be effective. They aren’t talented enough to win if they get outworked.
Goals won’t come easy. Nobody has scored more than 12 goals in a season. They will need a scoring-by-committee approach.
They will not only need their primary offensive weapons to produce, they will have to get something from their defense corps and third- and fourth-liners.