University of Vermont Catamounts (2-7-2, 2-5-2 Hockey East) at University of Maine Black Bears (2-9-2, 1-5-1 Hockey East)
Time/TV: 8:00 p.m. ET, CBS Sports Network (find it here)
Announcers: Dave Starman
Two Hockey East teams who are looking to turn things around this season face each other at one of the best venues in college hockey, Alfond Arena. tonight on CBS Sports Network.
Vermont and Maine have combined for four wins in 24 games this season and are near the bottom of the Hockey East standings. The Black Bears currently are tenth (out of ten teams) with three points while their opponents tonight are seventh and barely holding onto a playoff spot. So while both teams have had their struggles, they have also had recent reasons to believe the tide is turning.
The Catamounts are coming off being swept at home by then-#4 Minnesota. While Friday night's 5-1 loss is one to forget, Vermont played their best hockey of the weekend in Saturday's third period before falling to the Golden Gophers 3-1. Goaltender Brady Hoffman (undrafted) made 30 saves both nights and has established himself as the go-to guy between the pipes. Despite Connor Brickley (Florida Panthers) continuing out with an injury, Brett Bruneteau (Washington Capitals) and Jacob Fallon both scored while leading scorer Chris McCarthy added an assist to his total (4G-4A) .
Unfortunately for Vermont, Brickley will also miss tonight's game.
Maine, at the same time, has won and tied their last two games after a seven-game losing streak and starting the season 1-6-1. However, they have also been off since November 16th and have seen Vermont play four games in that time.
It's a start but just that. Although the Black Bears are led by Joey Diamond, who had 47 points last season, the senior currently only has 4 points and the team as a whole is 58th (out of 59 teams) in total offense with an average of 1.42 goals/game. Defense hasn't been much better with Maine giving up over 3 goals per game. There is a bright spot despite that, though. Freshman Devin Shore (Dallas Stars) leads the team with 6 points (1G-5A), including points in each of the last three games.
There is something in watching two hungry teams have something to prove but in the end, this is a game that on paper isn't as pretty as the arena that is hosting it.