Boston College has two league games coming up this weekend: at UMass-Amherst tomorrow night, then home vs. Maine on Saturday. Since Fear The Triangle was nice enough to talk UMass with us a few weeks ago, we reached out to Alex Quirk, broadcaster and writer at Maine's student radio station WMEB, to talk Black Bears.
1. Maine is in the midst of a brutal stretch of their schedule - UVM, UVM, BU, BU, BC. After losing the first three, they've got @ BU and @ BC this weekend. Realistically, what is Maine hoping to get out of this weekend? What would be satisfactory?
Well, any points at this point would be what this team is hoping for as the team has gotten off to a slow start in conference play. In terms of what would be satisfactory there's multiple sides to that answer. For the team itself four points is satisfactory, but I'd have to say personally, a point or two would be satisfactory. Based on Maine's history on the road, an abysmal 1-15-3 since the start of last season, the points haven't come easy for the Black Bears.
2. Speaking of BU, last week Maine welcomed the Terriers to Alfond Arena. Maine held an early lead in that game but BU overcame them. How did Maine matchup against the early frontrunner in Hockey East?
Maine I say played well, their big issue was finishing scoring chances. After their first goal 1:13 into the game, they just sat back and let the Terriers come to them. The Black Bears could've won the game, they had so many Grade A scoring chances, but couldn't capitalize on some great chances. Romeo played decent stopping 25 shots, but you're not gonna win many games when you only score one goal. The difference in the game was special teams, but 5-on-5 they stood tall against a very talented team.
3. Goaltending was a big question coming into this season, and neither Matt Morris nor Sean Romeo currently has a save percentage over .900. Do either of them seem to have a leg up in the goaltending battle? Do you see either improving into a top goalie?
It's really hard to tell, but at the moment, I'd have to say Sean Romeo. I say that based on the fact that he was given the start against BU last Friday, that being said neither goalie truly has a leg up in this battle. Matt Morris at times have shown flashes of brilliance, but can't seem to get it down consistently when he's between the pipes. In the long run I'd have to say Morris can improve into a top goaltender, his big thing is he needs to work on defending top shelf, both glove and blocker side.
4. Maine is 9th in Hockey East in team offense and 10th in team defense. Which do you see as more likely to improve?
I think Maine's offense will improve, this team is beginning to show depth scoring, something that plagued the team last season. Top-to-bottom they have players that can score, they just need to improve on precision. But with time this team will be scoring more goals come later in the season. Defense will be tricky to improve, personally I think they'll finish better than tenth, but not by much since the defense has been beaten on many goals.
5. BC has had a tough time at Alfond Arena in recent years, while returning the favor and handling Maine most of the time at home. Coincidence? Or do BC-Maine games seem to play out with a different style at Alfond?
You can say that really about any opponent, there's something about the Alfond that makes it a truly magical barn. When that place is rocking, it's like no other in college hockey and when you get an opponent like BC, it draws a big crowd. For whatever reason it may be, Maine just plays better at home, because the road hasn't been kind to the Black Bears in recent time. On the contrary, when BC hosts Maine, the Black Bears tend to struggle in Conte Forum, minus the '12-13 sweep, which I think goes back to playing in your own building as the edge.
6. Which freshmen have impressed for Maine so far this season?
I'd have to say Malcolm Hayes, who brings a lot to the team. First and foremost his size is what stands out, 6'-2" 220 lbs. He initially came to Maine as a defenseman, but converted to forward just a few games in and his presence has been felt. Despite playing on the fourth line he's made an impact, he's been given time on the powerplay, where he's scored both of his goals. At times he's taken some bad penalties, but discipline hasn't been a major issue. He's a great kid with a bright future ahead of him at Orono, and we look forward to seeing what develops.