The University of Maine men's ice hockey team plays its first Hockey East contests of the season this weekend when it travels to Providence College for a pair of games. The Black Bears look to bounce back after dropping a pair of games to St. Lawrence last weekend. Providence played a pair of overtime games at third-ranked Miami last weekend. The two teams finished in a 1-1 draw the first night, before Miami won 4-3 the second night.
A LOOK BACK: Maine dropped a 5-1 decision to St. Lawrence last Saturday night. Greg Carey opened the scoring for the Saints at 7:20 of the first period with an unassisted goal. Kyle Flanagan made it 2-0 when he notched his fourth goal of the season at 14:15. St. Lawrence extended its lead to 3-0 midway through the second period when Carey scored his second goal of the game. Maine got on the board at 4:49 of the third period when Joey Diamond (Long Beach, N.Y.), positioned behind the net, found Mark Nemec (Rouses Point, N.Y.) just inside the blueline. Nemec unleashed a write shot that beat St. Lawrence goalie Matt Weninger. Devin Shore (Ajax, Ontario) also assisted on the goal for the Black Bears. St. Lawrence added a power play goal by Flanagan at 11:09 to dash any hopes of a Maine comeback. Kyle Essery iced the game at 16:16 with his first goal of the season, giving the Saints the 5-1 victory.
Maine outshot St. Lawrence 37-19 in the game. The Black Bears were scoreless in five power play opportunities, while St. Lawrence finished 1-for-5.
Dan Sullivan (York, Pa.) stopped four shots in 20 minutes of play for the Black Bears. He suffered the loss and fell to 0-4-0 on the season. Matt Morris (Ridgewood, N.J.) played the final 40 minutes, making 10 saves on 13 shots. Matt Weninger stopped 36 of the 37 shots that he faced for the Saints.
SCOUTING THE BLACK BEARS: Maine is led by Joey Diamond who has a goal and two assists for three points on the season. Stu Higgins (Troy, Mich.) is adding a goal and an assist. Devin Shore has a pair of assists on the season. Klas Leidermark, Mark Nemec, Mark Anthoine and Steven Swavely are each chipping in with a goal. Will Merchant (Eagan, Minn.), Jon Swavely (Reading, Pa.), Connor Leen (Chester, N.Y.), and Ben Hutton (Prescott, Ontario) all have an assist on the season.
Dan Sullivan (York, Pa.) has played in four games in goal. He is 0-4-0 with a 3.20 goals against average and an .842 save percentage. Matt Morris is 1-0-0 with a 3.23 goals against average and a .875 save percentage.
54 SHOTS ON GOAL: Maine recorded 54 shots on goal in its 4-3 win over Army on Oct. 13 in the 2012 Ice Breaker Tournament. It is the most shots on goal for the Black Bears since registering 61 shots against UMass in the Hockey East Title game in 2004. Maine won that game in four overtimes.
ROOKIES MAKING AN IMPACT: Maine's rookies are making a big impact this season. Nine freshman have seen action in games this year for the Black Bears, with four registering at least one point. Devin Shore has two assists, while Steven Swavely has a goal. Ben Hutton and Will Merchant have each added an assist. Conor Riley (Massena, N.Y.) has seen action in all five games, while Bill Norman (Stockholm, Sweden) has played in three, Ryan Lomberg (Richmond Hill, Ontario) two games and Kyle Williams (Bowdoinham, Maine) one. Matt Morris (Ridgewood, N.J.) picked up the win in goal in Maine's victory over Army. He has seen action in three games.
OUTSHOOTING THEIR OPPONENTS: Maine has outshot its opponents in four of the five games this season. Notre Dame is the lone team that has outshot the Black Bears this season. Maine is averaging 35 shots per games this season, while allowing 23.6.
STEVEN SWAVELY NAMED HOCKEY EAST PRO AMBITIONS ROOKIE OF THE WEEK: Steven Swavely was named the Hockey East Pro Ambitions Rookie of the Week on Monday, Oct. 8. Swavely scored Maine's lone goal in the season-opener against Quinnipiac, with an assist from his older brother, Jon.
WHAT'S NEW: Maine adds eight newcomers for the 2012-2013 season. Ben Hutton, Conor Riley and Kyle Williams join the Black Bears on defense. Also seeing action this year will be redshirt freshman Bill Norman. Hutton, who was a fifth round draft choice of the Vancouver Canucks, played last season for the Nepean Raiders. Riley, who can play both forward and defense, was the EJHL Defensive Player of the Year in 2011-2012. Williams comes to the Black Bears via the New Hampshire Monarchs, where he helped lead the team to the 2012 EJHL title.
Among the forwards are Ryan Lomberg who led the Muskegon Lumberjacks in scoring last season. Will Merchant, who was captain for Eagan High School last year, recently played in the 2012 All-American Prospects game. Devin Shore, who was selected in the second round of the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, played for the Whitby Fury last year. He scored 58 points in 41 games last year. Steven Swavely was captain a year ago for the New Jersey Hitmen, where he averaged over a point a game.
Goalie Matt Morris played for former Maine captain Jim Montgomery and the Dubuque Fighting Sioux. He finished 19-13-2 with a 2.58 goals against average and a .904 save percentage.
A MEMORABLE GAME FOR THE SWAVELY FAMILY: Rookie Steven Swavely scored his first collegiate goal just 3:41 into his first game. What makes the feat even more memorable was that the goal was scored on an assist from his older brother, Jon. The Swavely brothers have played on the same line in the first three games of the season.
THREE NEW CAPTAINS FOR THE BLACK BEARS: Maine has three captains for the 2012-2013 season. Mike Cornell (Franklin, Mass.), Joey Diamond and Mark Nemec will each wear a C for the Black Bears this season.
PLAYING IN 100 GAMES: Adam Shemansky (Robbinsville, N.J.) played in his 100th career game on Saturday, Oct. 13 against Army. Mark Nemec played in his 100th career game on Saturday, Oct. 6 against Quinnipiac. He became the second Black Bear to reach the 100 games played plateau, joining teammate Joey Diamond. Nemec has currently played in 104 career games, while Diamond has seen action in 107 games.
A GOAL IN GAME ONE: Steven Swavely became the first Black Bear rookie to get a goal in his collegiate debut since Adam Shemansky scored in his opening game against Union on Oct. 9, 2009.
ALL-AMERICAN PROSPECTS GAME: Will Merchant played in the inaugural All-American Prospects Game on Saturday, Sept. 29 in Buffalo, N.Y. The game featured the 40 top American prospects for the 2013 NHL Draft.
DIAMOND SECOND AMONG ALL-TIME PENALTY LEADERS: Joey Diamond has 349 career penalty minutes, which ranks second most in Maine history. He is 10 penalty minutes shy of Prestin Ryan's school record of 359 career penalty minutes.
A PAIR OF BROTHERS: Maine has a pair of brothers on the team this season in Jon and Steven Swavely. Jon, a junior on the team, is joined by his younger brother, Steven. They become the 11th pair of brothers in Maine history joining: David and Jack Capuano, Chris and Peter Ferraro, Barrett and Chris Heisten, John and Keenan Hopson, Paul, Steve and Martin Kariya, Anders and Magnus Lundback, Mike and Matt Lundin, Jason and Shawn Mansoff, Jim and John Tortorella, Eric and Jason Weinrich.
ANTHOINE, DIAMOND LEAD NATION IN POWER PLAY GOALS LAST SEASON: Mark Anthoine and Joey Diamond each scored 11 power play goals last season to tie for the national lead. Maine finished second as a team in power play percentage. In addition, then senior Spencer Abbott led the nation in points per game and assists per game.
O'CONNOR, CONNOR AND CONOR: Connor is a popular name on the Black Bears this season. Maine has junior defenseman Brice O'Connor, sophomore forward Connor Leen and freshman forward Conor Riley.
FEELING A DRAFT: A pair of Black Bears were selected in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft. Freshman Devin Shore was chosen in the Second Round, 61st overall, by the Dallas Stars. Classmate Ben Hutton was taken in the Fifth Round, 147th overall by the Vancouver Canucks.
A LOOK AT PROVIDENCE: Providence is 1-2-1 on the season after playing a pair of games at third-ranked Miami last weekend. The team teams skated to a 1-1 tie on Friday night, before falling 4-3 the following day.
The Friars are led by Ross Mauermann who has three goals and two assists for five points. Myles Harvey also has five points via five assists. Mark Jankowski and Paul de Jersey each have two goals and an assist for three points. Shane Luke and Josh Gilmour are chipping in with a goal and two assists for three points as well. Steven McParland is adding three assists. Stefan Demopoulos has two goals, while Noel Acciari has a goal and an assist and Alex Velischek has two assists.
Rookie Jon Gillies has played in all four games in goal for the Friars. He is 1-2-1 with a 2.11 goals against average and a .924 save percentage.
Providence is coached by Nate Leaman (SUNY Cortland '97). He has a record of 15-22-5 in his second season at Providence and an overall record of 153-149-40 in his 10th season as a head coach. He is assisted by Ben Barr (Rensselaer '04), Jamie Russell (Michigan Tech '89) and Jim McNiff (Merrimack '98).
MAINE AND PROVIDENCE ALL-TIME: Maine and Providence have met 108 times with the Black Bears holding the 64-38-6 lead in the all-time series. Maine has won six of the last 10 games. Providence has won two of the games with the other two finishing in a tie.
PROVIDENCE FAMILIAR FOR O'CONNOR: Providence is a familiar foe for Maine junior defenseman Brice O'Connor. His older brother, Ian, was a captain of the Friars and graduated following the 2011 season.