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Where Will UMaine Hockey Go From Here?


Well, that's about how we all expected it to end, didn't it?

By "it," I mean the unceremoniously disappointing season the University of Maine hockey team put up, a 15-17-4 campaign that culminated in a 2-1 Hockey East quarterfinal loss to Northeastern on Saturday.

Was the officiating quite questionable in this series? You could argue that. But it's hard to argue that this team was an utter disappointment this winter.

Maine finished sixth in Hockey East, the same place it finished in 2017-18. Expectations were that of a top-four league finish and TD Garden appearance this winter.

Does that put a target on coach Red Gendron's back? Does that put pressure on athletic administrator Ken Ralph to take a hard look at where this program is heading this offseason?

We have to remember Ralph came to Orono by way of Colorado College, which like Maine, is an institution that thrives on success on the ice. It's hard not to say yes to each question. I have a lot of respect for Gendron, but the natives are getting restless. Again. Tim Whitehead did take this program to four Frozen Fours while Gendron has yet to see Causeway Street.

Maine fans have every right to be frustrated at the mediocrity this program is mired in. It is in stark contrast to the success Amy Vachon is enjoying with the women's basketball program.

You can also argue that Alfond Arena is past its prime, and that you can't sell 42-1-2 and the Karyia's to kids who weren't even born the last time Maine won a national championship. Kids want to play in flashy new facilities nowadays. I love Alfond Arena, but it's not a modern, 2019 college hockey facility.

Women's basketball is getting quality recruits to UMaine and having success because of on-court results and playing in the flashy Cross Insurance Center. Imagine if Gendron had a brand new arena to sell to recruits?

The returning corps of Black Bears are talented, led by goaltender Jeremy Swayman. If we see the same results at this time in 2020, the target on Gendron's back will undoubtedly be bigger.

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