(Portions of this content came from a Black Bear Sports News Release)
The Maine men's ice hockey team announced its schedule for the upcoming season. This is a pivotal year for Red Gendron and Maine hockey. Maine returns nine of its top 10 scorers, seven of its eight defensemen and 2017-18 Hockey East All-Rookie goaltender Jeremy Swayman. Gendron also was given a contract extension after last season.
The Black Bears took advantage of a soft schedule and a down year in the conference to win 18 games last year. A trip to the NCAA tournament should be a realistic goal for the team this year.
Maine opens up the season with a pair of home games against St. Lawrence University on Oct.12-13. The Black Bears then leave the friendly confines of the Alfond for two consecutive weeks, beginning with a trip to the 2018 National Champions. Maine's trip to Minnesota Duluth will mark the 17th time in program history and the seventh time in the 10 years that the Black Bears take on the defending national champion.
Maine then opens up conference play on the road Oct. 26-27 against UConn. A two-game set against UMass Lowell Nov. 2-3 are Maine's only two Hockey East home games before Jan. 11. After a bye week, the Black Bears will travel to Agganis Arena Nov. 16-17 to battle the Boston University Terriers. ECAC Hockey squad Quinnipiac visits Orono Nov. 23-24
The Black Bears dip back into league play to wrap up the first semester, traveling to Vermont Nov. 30-Dec. 1 for a look at the Catamounts.
After the winter break, Maine wraps up non-conference play with three ECAC Hockey games. First up is a road trip Dec. 28-29 to Princeton. Next is a home contest against Colorado College on Wednesday, Jan. 2.The team then wraps up non-conference play on Monday, Jan. 7 against Yale in Portland at the Cross Insurance Arena. The Black Bears and Bulldogs last met during the 1998-99 season.
Maine shifts back to Hockey East play for its final 16 games of the season, starting with a two-game home series Jan.11-12 against Northeastern. The Black Bears hit the road for their first look at Boston College on Thursday, Jan. 17, then return home for a Monday meeting against rival New Hampshire on Jan. 21. Maine continues its season-long three-game home stand Jan. 25-26 with two games against UMass.
The rivalry with UNH resumes Feb. 1-2 in Durham before Maine hosts Providence for a pair Feb. 8-9. Maine will play its lone two regular season contests against Merrimack Feb. 15-16, traveling to Lawler Arena in North Andover. The Black Bears host Boston College the following weekend before its final road trip of the regular season March 2 - heading to Amherst to take on the Minutemen.
For the first time since the 2002-03 season, the Black Bears will conclude the regular season against the Terriers. Boston University and Maine will play a single game on Saturday, March 9 at Alfond Arena.