UMaine goalie Victor Ostman, formerly of the Chicago Steel, tracks the puck during a United States Hockey League game. Credit: Courtesy of the Chicago Steel

There are going to be plenty of holes to fill for the University of Maine men’s hockey team next season. Forwards who produced 43.8 percent of the goals and the nation’s best goaltender have departed.

But head coach Red Gendron said they have brought in another great recruiting class with eight players donning Black Bear colors for the first time next season.

The class includes five forwards, a defenseman and two goaltenders.

The newcomers will not only supply the Black Bears with a variety of different talents, Gendron said they are tremendous character kids.

Gendron said forwards Lynden Breen, Brad Morrissey and Donovan Houle-Villeneuve have the potential to crack the top two lines during their careers and fellow forwards Zach Aughe and Tristan Poissant will contribute to the identity of the team by playing a punishing game in line with UMaine’s grinding forecheck style.

Kabore Dunn is a high-end point-producing defensemen and goalies Victor Ostman and Connor Androlewicz will be battling for the starting job with sophomore Matthew Thiessen.

The 5-foot-8, 146-pound Breen scored 18 goals and had 30 assists for the Fargo Force in the United States Hockey League. Gendron called the New Brunswick native an excellent point-producer who has good hockey sense and great passion for the game while being an intense competitor.

Morrissey (5-8, 179) is from Prince Edward island. He registered eight goals and 11 assists in 30 games for Lincoln of the USHL.

“He has a lot of speed, good hockey sense and a big shot,” Gendron said.

Houle-Villeneuve racked up 31 goals and 36 assists for Flin Flon in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. He is considered a prototypical power forward who has speed, skill and a physical dimension to his game.

Houle-Villeneuve is a 6-foot, 185-pound Montreal native.

Aughe (6-4, 201) hails from Michigan. He posted five goals and 13 assists for Aberdeen in the North American Hockey League. He is a big, strong right winger and versatile power forward who can skate, according to Gendron.

The 6-1, 181-pound Poissant is from Quebec. Gendron called him a big kid and an elite skater with outstanding speed. He logged 13 goals and 25 assists for Johnstown of the NAHL.

Dunn, a native of British Columbia, notched 10 goals and 20 assists in 55 games for Fort McMurray of the Alberta Junior Hockey League.

“He is an elite offensive defenseman,” Gendron said. “We expect him to be very helpful moving the puck up the ice and creating offense for us. He has the ability to make uncommon plays.”

Ostman (6-3, 205) is from Sweden. He registered a 2.34 goals-against average and a .913 save percentagte for the Chicago Steel of the USHL.

Gendron said Ostman is big, athletic, possesses a calm demeanor and plays with a lot of poise.

Androlewicz turned in a 3.62 GAA and a .869 save percentage for Sioux City and Lincoln of the USHL. Gendron said the 6-2, 194-pounder has tremendous athleticism to go with his size.

“The goaltending position will absolutely be up for grabs,” Gendron said.

UMaine finished with an 18-11-5 record last season. Its 12-9-3 Hockey East mark was good for a fourth-place finish, the best in Gendron’s seven years with the program.

The student-athletes’ participation at UMaine are contingent upon their acceptance by the university and compliance with NCAA eligibility rules.