Hockey East Predictions: #9 and #8

#9: University of Maine Black Bears

Reason for Optimism:

The Black Bears squeezed into 8th place last year, despite an offense that ranked last in the league. Maine returns 4 out of the top 5 scorers from last year’s team, and all 4 of those players were freshman, so they will presumably will be able to provide a lot more offense with another year under their belt. Goalie Martin Ouellette will be a senior this year, and put up solid numbers last year with a GAA of 2.42 and SV of .917%.

Reason for Pessimism:

Despite Maine returning 4 out 5 of their top scorers, they ranked last in offense, and overall are 8th in returning offense (and 9th in returning goals scored). Maine also ranked 9th last year in both the Power Play and Penalty Kill.

Bottom Line:

Maine needs to see offense ratchet up this year, and Ouellette to continue his solid performance, as well as an improvement in their special teams. A “sophomore slump” could be devastating if it kept their offense down. If their offense improves and Ouellette continues to backstop the team, they could do well, but if the opposite happens they could easily be battling for the basement.

#8: University of Vermont

Reason for Optimism:

Vermont returns the second highest percentage of offense in Hockey East, with 87% of points returning, and their team is quite veteran, with only 3 seniors who played most games graduating.

Reason for Pessimism:

Despite returning a lot of offense, UVM also ranked 9th in offense. UVM often runs a more defensive game in general with a strong emphasis on goalies and defense, but they’ll need offense to step it up. Their goalie, Brody Hoffman, put up decent but not incredibly impressive numbers.

Bottom Line: 

UVM needs Hoffman to step it up, and their offense to do a little better than last year. Vermont’s veteran team will be a big plus this year, and if Hoffman plays well and they get some more points, the Catamounts could make a play for the middle spots in Hockey East.

 

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About kingcullen

I'm a 21 year old college student at Northeastern University.
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