Since its season ended in late March, the University of Maine men’s hockey team has been eager to get back to work. It moved a step closer Wednesday with the release of the 2010-11 schedule.
The 34-game schedule includes seven nonconference games, four against teams in this year’s NCAA tournament: North Dakota, Miami (Ohio), St. Cloud State and Cornell.
“We’ve tried to get the best nonconference schedule we can, and it doesn’t always work out perfectly,” Maine Coach Tim Whitehead said. “This year lined up pretty well, with North Dakota and Michigan State lining up as home-and-away series. We planned those nonleague games and finalized those a year or two in advance.”
After an exhibition Oct. 3 against Acadia of Nova Scotia, the Black Bears open the season and the Hockey East schedule Oct. 8 against UMass-Lowell at Alfond Arena in Orono, then kick off a stretch of five nonconference games the next day when they face Connecticut of the Atlantic Hockey Association. It will be the first game against the Huskies since 1978.
Maine will travel to East Lansing to face Michigan State for two games Oct. 14-15, then return home to face North Dakota the following weekend.
Maine resumes its Hockey East schedule Oct. 30 at Vermont and will participate in the four-team Florida College Classic, along with Cornell, St. Cloud State and Miami, which has played in the past two Frozen Fours. The Black Bears are the defending tournament champion and face Miami for the first time since 1995.
Maine will host games Nov. 19-20 against Boston College, the defending national champion, in a rematch of the Hockey East championship game. The Eagles defeated Maine 7-6 in the final.
Maine finished 19-17-3 and was No. 18 in the USCHO.com/CBS College Sports top 20 poll.
All Friday and Saturday home games begin at 7 p.m., and the two Sunday games — Dec. 12 against Massachusetts and Jan. 16, 2011, against Boston College — are at 4 p.m. Maine will face the U.S. under-18 team at 4 p.m. Jan. 2, 2011, at the Cumberland County Civic Center.
NOTES: Maine’s four seniors — Kevin Swallow, David deKastrozza, Dave Wilson and Brett Carriere — will graduate this weekend, and former Maine goalie Ben Bishop will receive his degree. The Black Bears will hold their end-of-the-year banquet Friday at Jeff’s Catering in Brewer.
Staff Writer Rachel Lenzi can be reached at 791-6415 or at: