In one month, the puck will drop on the Red era in Maine Hockey lore. Finally, the White days are behind the Bears.
Under Whitehead, Maine saw too many of its top talent leave early for the pros — Teddy Purcell, Jimmy Howard and Big Ben Bishop to name a few — without replacing them. It was a constant rebuild mode for Whitehead & Co. The Pro-Timmy camp will argue Shawn Walsh had the same issue — namely Paul Kariya — but he reloaded those teams. Two years after the Best Season in College Hockey History (42-1-2), Walsh and the Bears returned to the national title game with a new top 5 and new goalies. Walshie lost Ingraham, Kariya, Montgomery, Dunham, Snow, the Ferraro brothers, Matt Martin and many more, but he replaced them with Dan Shermerhorn, Blair Allison, Tim Lovell and freshman Scott Parmentier.
That’s enough of Whitehead talk.
Onto Red Gendron, who returns to Alfond after a two-decade hiatus. (By the way, UMaine, can’t you put up a picture of Red wearing a Maine sweatshirt?) Red will have two top-tier sophomores that if they stay with the Black Bears have a future as All-Americans. Forward Devin Shore and defenseman Ben Hutton finished registered the top and third most points, respectively, for the Bears last season.
The bad news is — and this is likely a reason why Whitehead is gone — only two Black Bears last year had more than 20 points. To put that in perspective, 21 years ago Paul Kariya had 100. A 100.
Why does everything come back to Whitehead?
Maine will kick off the season with an exhibition against Dalhousie — and here I thought it was just a school for wannabe dentists. Dalhousie finished second-to-last in an eight-team conference last year at 8-17-3 — New Brunswick, who Maine will play later in the season, finished first. From that team, the Tigers lost their top goal scorer.
It ought to be a cakewalk for the Bears before they head to North Country New York to take on St. Lawrence the following weekend. It’s not quite the non-conference schedule of old, but St. Lawrence finished at 18-16-4 last season in the country’s top conference, yep, the ECAC. By comparison, St. Lawrence had six players north of 20 points last season, and only two were seniors. The Saints are slated to bring back Greg Carey, who led the team with 51 points and received Hobey Baker chatter.