MAINE at VERMONT
Time, site: Saturday, 7 p.m.; Patrick Gymnasium, Burlington, Vermont
Records: UMaine 6-25 (3-13 America East), Vermont 25-6 (15-1)
Series, last meeting: UMaine leads 70-69; Vermont 74-62 on 2/27/18
Key players: UMaine — 5-11 G Aaron Calixte (17.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.2 assists per game), 6-6 G Isaiah White (10.8 ppg, 4.7 rebounds), 6-7 F Andrew Fleming (9.8 ppg, 5.4 rpg), 6-7 F Ilija Stojiljkovic (4.2 ppg, 5.0 rpg); UMass Lowell — 6-2 G Trae Bell-Haynes (14.9 ppg, 4.2, 3.9 apg), 6-8 F Payton Henson (12.1 ppg, 5.8 rpg), 6-3 G Ernie Duncan (11.5 ppg, 40.7% 3-pointers), 6-8 F Drew Urquhart (10.7 ppg, 4.8 rpg)
Game notes: No. 8 UMaine will attempt to win its first America East postseason game since 2005 and end a string of 13 consecutive tournament losses when it faces top-ranked Vermont for the second time in five nights. Vermont defeated UM 86-41 in the Nos. 1-8 quarterfinal a year ago. The Black Bears were competitive in Tuesday’s regular-season finale against the Catamounts in Bangor, but ultimately did not have the depth of offensive weapons to keep pace with Vermont in a 74-62 loss. UVM cleaned up in the conference’s postseason awards, with Bell-Haynes named player of the year for the second straight year while Duncan and Urquhart earned second-team honors and Henson named to the All-AE third team. UMaine’s Calixte also earned third-team honors, the lone Black Bear to be recognized. Unless UMaine is able to pull off the upset, the major question around the program will be the future of head coach Bob Walsh, who is approaching the end of the final year of his initial four-year contract with the program.
MAINE vs. UMBC
Time, site: Saturday, noon
Records: UMaine 20-9 (13-3 America East), University of Maryland Baltimore County 5-25 (3-13)
Series, last meeting: UMaine leads 18-12, UMaine 69-36 on 1/28/18
Key players: Maine — 6-1 G Blanca Millan (17.7 points per game, 5.2 rebounds, 3.1 steals, 1.6 assists), 5-10 G Tanesha Sutton (12 ppg, 7.2 rpg, 3 apg, 1.9 spg), 5-8 G Julie Brosseau (11.5 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 2.1 apg), 6-1 F Fanny Wadling (6.7 ppg, 5.5 rpg, 1.8 apg), 5-6 G Dor Saar (6 ppg, 2.9 apg, 2.3 rpg), 5-8 G Parise Rossignol (4.6 ppg, 2.3 rpg); UMBC — 5-8 G Laura Castaldo (12.3 ppg, 3.1 rpg, 1.5 apg), 5-8 G Te’yJah Oliver (6.9 ppg, 2.5 rpg), 6-0 G Brittani Burgess (6.8 ppg, 5.2 rpg, 2.8 apg), 5-11 F Janee’a Summers (6.5 ppg, 5.4 rpg), 5-10 G Allison McGrath (6.2 ppg, 1.7 rpg), 6-2 F Lucrezia Costa (4.3 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 1.7 apg)
Game notes: McGrath had a career-high 21 points in the 73-65 play-in game win over UMass Lowell on Wednesday night. She connected on 5-of-12 from beyond the -point arc. Castaldo had 23 points. The Black Bears forced 42 turnovers leading to 48 points in the 64-50 and 69-36 victories over the Retrievers during the regular season. Millan and Brosseau combined for 65 points in the two victories and Sutton had 25 more. The Black Bears can’t afford to take UMBC lightly. The Retrievers have lost four conference games by seven points or less to quality opponents like Albany, Hartford, Stony Brook and New Hampshire. UMBC is averaging just 52.5 points per game which is 343rd out of 349 teams nationally. UMaine and UMBC have never met in the postseason. The UMaine-UMBC winner will take on the winner of the Stony Brook-New Hampshire game in Sunday’s 2 p.m. semifinal.
MAINE vs. NORTHEASTERN
Time, site: Saturday, 4:30 p.m., Matthews Arena, Boston
Records: UMaine 19-13-5 (11-9-4 Hockey East), Northeastern 17-16-3 (11-11-2)
Last meeting: UMaine 2-0 on 11/19/17
Key players: Maine — RW Tereza Vanisova (16 goals, 29 assists), C Brooke Stacey (13 & 17), C Michelle Weis (9 & 12), RW Catherine Tufts (11 & 7), D Alyson Matteau (5 & 10), D Brittany Kucera (3 & 12), G Carly Jackson (17-11-5, 1.95 goals-against average, .924 save percentage); Northeastern — RW McKenna Brand (13 & 18), LW Denisa Krizova (11 & 17), LW Kasidy Anderson (12 & 15), RW Veronika Pettey (9 & 17), D Lauren Kelly (12 & 7), D Codie Cross (3 & 13), G Aerin Frankel (8-7-2, 2.02, .930)
Game notes: NU has appeared in three Hockey East championship games but has yet to win a title. They lost to Boston College 2-1 in overtime in last year’s title game. UMaine has never played in one. The winner will take on the winner of the Boston College-UConn game in Sunday’s championship game. Frankel was named the Rookie of the Month after posting a 1.55 GAA and a .939 save percentage in February. UM’s Stacey was the league’s Player of the Week after her third-period hat trick and overtime assist on Vanisova’s goal rallied UMaine from a 3-0 deficit to a 4-3 win over BU in the deciding game in their best-of-three quarterfinal series. The Black Bears need to stay out of the penalty box because NU’s power play is a good one, operating at 22 percent thanks to Kelly’s eight power-play goals. Vanisova and Stacey each have four game-winning goals. UMaine defenseman Anna Zikova was chosen to the league’s all-rookie team.