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Black Bears look to close out December conference schedule with wins over last place Vermont

The Black Bears said the Catamounts bring a style to the ice that’s similar to what they bring, and that’s tough play
Published: Nov. 30, 2021 at 4:40 PM EST
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ORONO, Maine (WABI) - Maine men’s hockey has a homestand that will extend until New Year’s Eve, and this weekend’s match-up with Vermont pits the bottom two teams in Hockey East against each other.

The Black Bears said the Catamounts bring a style to the ice that’s similar to what they bring,...
The Black Bears said the Catamounts bring a style to the ice that’s similar to what they bring, and that’s tough play.(WABI)

A big focus during practice time this week has already been how the Black Bears stack up in front of the net.

For a team that’s searching for the offense that can make the difference between winning close conference games, burying rebounds around the blue paint could be the key.

“We’re trying to generate offense. We can’t get shut out in a game. We try to generate by starting with our net front play. From the start until now, I think we’ve made huge strides in things, and we just need to bury it now. UMass (Lowell) was ranked around the top 15, and I think we were right in the game. We couldn’t score, and they scored one or two,” said Grant Hebert, senior forward.

That 2-0 Saturday loss to the UMass Lowell River Hawks went down in Portland, now it’s back to Orono for the Catamounts.

Head Coach Ben Barr said Black Bear Nation traveled well, and it’s a fanbase that continues to motivate the coaches and players to turn the program around.

“Obviously we haven’t had the wins and losses this year that we wanted. The students and fans still show up here every single night. As a coach and a program, it’s really humbling. It makes you want nothing more than to give them something to cheer for, and we’re going to do that here,” said Barr.

A sweep over Vermont would be critical to Maine climbing the Hockey East standings, considering they won’t play a conference opponent until a trip to Lowell in mid-January after this weekend’s series. Between now and then, Maine will roll through the holiday season against Union College, Penn State, and Alaska Fairbanks.

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