Maine hockey looks to reverse trend of losing non-conference openers

St. Lawrence swept Maine at Alfond Arena last season. Will Maine pay back the favor this weekend? (Photo: Bangor Daily News)

The University of Maine men’s hockey team hasn’t won back-to-back non-conference games to open a season since 2006, when the black bears begun their Frozen Four run with a 7-1-1 record.

Red Gendron and the Black Bears will travel to Canton, N.Y. this weekend to open the regular season against St. Lawrence of the ECAC — the first time Maine will play a true road game against SLU in 10 years.From 2007 through 2012, Maine is a combined 1-8-3 in its first two non-conference games. Coincidentally — or not — Maine hasn’t returned to the Frozen Four since 2006.

To be fair, Maine is 2-1 when opening the season against Hockey East schools. (Anyone vote for a schedule change?)

But, SLU may be a tall task to ask for a sweep. After all, it was St. Lawrence who marched into Alfond Arena last season and not only swept the offense-inept Black Bears, but outscored them 10-1 in the two games. Maine is 11-6 lifetimes against St. Lawrence, a showdown that began in 1980.

For Maine, all eyes will be on Devin Shore, the teams leading scorer from a season ago, and who the Black Bears certainly will rely on — at least to start the season — to put the puck in the net for a team that struggled mightily to score in Tim Whitehead’s final season behind the bench.

Who to watch out for: Greg Carey

Carey tallied 51 points for the Saints last year in arguably one of the most competitive conferences in college hockey — after all the national championship came down to Yale and Quinnipiac. Carey finished in the top 10 of Hobey Baker voting last season. The senior averages more than a point a game and netted 38 goals as a junior.

Game time: 7 p.m.

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