The UMass men’s hockey team has been a wagon all season, and the Hockey East regular-season champions will look to continue their dominance Saturday night against the University of Maine.
The Minutemen, ranked No. 2 in Division I, will host the Black Bears on Senior Night at Mullins Center. The game will be aired on NESNplus at 8 p.m. ET.
UMass (17-5 in conference, 25-7 overall) can clinch the top seed in the conference tournament with a win over sixth-seeded Maine (10-8-4 in conference, 14-14-4 overall). Only eight of the 11 Hockey East teams qualify for the tournament, and Maine still has a chance to capture home ice in the quarterfinal round. So, you can bet the Black Bears will come out flying Saturday night.
And that’s just fine with Minutemen head coach Greg Carvel, who wants his team to finish strong before the postseason.
“It’s a good team for us to play against because they play an honest, physical brand of hockey,” he told NESN.com on Wednesday.
UMass has been one of the best — if not the best — teams in the country all season. Eager to prove they deserved to be mentioned among the nation’s elite, the Minutemen dominated in the first half the season. However, complacency set in during the holiday break, according to Carvel, who believes his team lacked its “edge” once games resumed.
But the Minutemen have won six of their last eight, including a win over last-place Merrimack on Thursday that earned them the regular-season crown, and appear to have rediscovered their game.
“The only negative thing I could say about our team is, we came out of the holiday break without that edge,” Carvel said. “But we’re playing with that edge again.”
After Saturday’s game, UMass will have one game — next Friday against UConn — remaining on its schedule. So, what does Carvel want to see from his club as the regular season winds down?
“Just continue the standard of play,” he said. “Continue playing at a high level.”
You can watch UMass take on Maine on Saturday, March 2 at 8 p.m. ET on NESNplus. Here is NESN’s complete college game schedule for the weekend of March 1-3.
Friday, March 1
5 p.m. ET — Women’s Hockey East quarterfinals Game 1: Vermont at Northeastern (NESNplus)
7 p.m. — Hockey East: UMass Lowell at New Hampshire (NESN)
Saturday, March 2
8 p.m. — Hockey East: Maine at UMass (NESNplus)
2:30 p.m. — Women’s Hockey East quarterfinals Game 2: Vermont at Northeastern (NESNplus)
Sunday, March 3
1 p.m. — ACC Women’s Basketball: Virginia at Notre Dame (NESNplus)
2:30 p.m. — Women’s Hockey East quarterfinals Game 3 (if necessary): Vermont at Northeastern (NESNplus)
3 p.m. — ACC Women’s Basketball: Miami at NC State (NESNplus)
Check out where to find NESN and NESNplus on your service here.