ORONO – Maine men’s hockey is in the midst of their final week of preseason preparations before they open their season Friday against St. Lawrence.
After last season ending with a record just over .500 and second round Hockey East tournament exit, this season marks a clean slate for the program.
“Lou Holtz used to say no one ever stays the same you’re either getting better or getting worse, so all of our jobs from the coaches [down to] the players is to get better,” said head coach Red Gendron.
They held their only preseason game Monday against the University of Prince Edward Island, a game they won 6-1.
“Yeah we’re excited..we’re confident in our abilities, obviously getting Monday’s game out of the way was game was good for us getting some chemistry..but again we got a lot of returners..some big names coming back so we’re excited for what the season holds,” said sopohmore goalie Jeremy Swayman.
The Black Bears return six starters including Rob Michel and Keith Muehlbauer, but junior defensiveman Patrick Holway left the team Monday for personal reasons.
Coach Gendron expects this team’s growth to continue into the season, “there are things for us to work on and its an on going process…it’s all year long..everyday is an opportunity to get better..and thats what we need to be focused on.”
Maine is predicted to finish fifth in the Hockey East preseason poll, just behind Northeastern, with 61 points.
“We don’t look at that at all..we know what we’re capable of and we want to be number one this year.. we don’t look at the polls we don’t look at the stats..as a team we want to get four points by the end of the weekend and that’s all we care about,” said Swayman.
The early stretch of their season features matchups against University of Minnesota-Duluth, UMass-Lowell, and Boston University.
However, the only game Gendron is concerned about? “Saint Lawrence, Friday night.”