by Tim Rosenthal/Staff Writer
Head Coach: Tim Whitehead
2006-07 record: 23-15-2 (14-9-2 Hockey East)
Key Returnees: Rob Bellamy F SR., Keenan Hopson F SR., Billy Ryan F SR, Brett Tyler D SR., Ben Bishop G JR., Simon Denis-Papin D JR., Matt Duffy D JR.
Key Losses: Teddy Purcell (underclassman), Michel Leveille, Josh Soares, Mike Lundin, Mike Hamilton, Brent Shepheard, Keith Johnson
In 2006-07, the Maine Black Bears made their second consecutive Frozen Four appearance and fourth in six years. Some thought after four straight losses to Massachusetts that Maine would be out. But with some help the next week, the Black Bears were able to sneak in as a No. 3 seed in the East Regional.
"I was very proud of the guys. We had a lot of injuires but we stuck together and in the end we got to go to the Frozen Four," Maine coach Tim Whitehead said.
One of the keys to last years run was Ben Bishop's play in net. Having to battle injuries throughout the season, Bishop persevered throughout the tournament and was one of the keys in the Frozen Four run.
"He (Bishop), came back in good shape," said Whitehead. When asked about his status this year coach Whitehead stated that "He's 100 percent fully recovered."
This season the Black Bears will have a tough task ahead of them, having to replace the whole top line of Michel Leveille, Teddy Purcell and Josh Soares. Although Whitehead did break up the line at the end of the year, the impact these three players made when they were together was uplifting to the team.
"Our biggest challenge this year compared to last year is to find goal scoring," said Whitehead." A few names that Whitehead mentioned that might improve from last year are Billy Ryan and Kennan Hopson (both seniors).
The Black Bears are going to be young. With eight incoming freshmen, such as forward Tanner House and defenseman Michael Banwell, there will be a lot of opportunities for the class of 2011 to contribute.
"The last couple of years we had very few impact freshmen," said Whitehead about the recruiting class. "This year we had a big strong year recruiting wise, all guys are coming in ready to play and there will be a lot of opportunities."
The 2007-08 Maine Black Bears will look for repeat success from 2006-07, but it might take a little bit of transition to do so.
"We are young, but if anything it is real exciting," said Whitehead. "It will be more interesting as the veterans elevate and as the young guys step in. I think we will have a competitive lineup."