GORHAM — The Bruins, Pirates and Black Bears began last month. Now it’s time for small college hockey to start.

The Division III hockey schedule begins this weekend with the University of Southern Maine and University of New England on the road.

USM is at Skidmore in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., on Friday, and UNE plays at Castleton State in Rutland, Vt. USM and UNE will switch opponents Saturday.

USM, 8-13-5 last year, is looking to replace three graduated defensemen and three of its top four scorers.
The Huskies will be led by senior captain Dan Rautenberg of Cape Elizabeth. He was third on the team in scoring last year with seven goals and 11 assists.

“Dan had a solid year last year with a somewhat serious knee issue,” USM Coach Jeff Beaney said. “He’s an explosive skater with great hockey sense.

“He’s our offensive leader, and we need him healthy and back to his (nearly) two-points-a-game average.”

Among the other top returning Huskies are goalie Braely Torris (2.99 goals-against average), defenseman Jon Grandinetti and forward David Nies.

In the preseason poll of ECAC East coaches, USM was predicted to finish seventh out of 10 teams.
UNE, in only its third year as a varsity team, was picked to finish 10th. The Nor’Easters, 6-19 last year, return their leading goal scorer, Tyler Fleurent (10), of Biddeford. UNE also added a former Falmouth High standout, Mike Chase, to the roster.

The Nor’Easters are still undergoing an NCAA investigation from last season due to possible financial aid violations.

UNE again will play at the Biddeford Ice Arena. The school’s new arena at the Harold Alfond Athletic Complex is scheduled to be completed before next season.

THE ECAC EAST and NESCAC no longer have a scheduling agreement.
Still, UNE will play both Bowdoin and Colby once this season.USM has scheduled two games apiece with the two state NESCAC schools.
“They have really become great rivalry games,” Beaney said.

BOWDOIN MEN’S HOCKEY will begin Nov. 19 at Williams. The Polar Bears experienced the extremes of emotions last year. They won their first NESCAC championship last March, only to have the administration forfeit the title in May because of an alleged hazing incident involving the team after the season.

The Polar Bears are nationally ranked this season at No. 8 in the U.S. College Hockey Online poll.

IN WOMEN’S hockey, USM begins its schedule Nov. 11 at St. Michael’s and Bowdoin will start Nov. 19 with a home game against Plattsburgh State.

USM NOTES: The Huskies won the Little East Conference and New England Alliance cross country championships Saturday in North Dartmouth, Mass. Tim Even of Stoneham (and Fryeburg Academy) paced USM with a sixth place on the 8K course (25:47). … The USM women finished second in the Little East meet, with Molly Carl of York placing second on the 5K course (18:05).

ST. JOSEPH’S NOTES: The Monks’ men’s soccer team won its Great North Atlantic Conference quarterfinal match 3-0 over Suffolk. Zach Johnson of Westbrook scored two goals. St. Joseph’s will host Emmanuel at 2 p.m. Thursday in a semifinal. …  Freshman Amber Dostie of Standish won the GNAC women’s cross country championship, covering the 5K Franklin Park course in Boston in 19:45. … Amber’s twin sister, Peyton, was named the North Atlantic Conference field hockey player of the week after recording two goals and three assists in two games. The Monks will host a conference semifinal at 2 p.m. today against New England College.

UNE NOTES: The top-seeded Nor’Easters were upset in the Coastal Commonwealth Conference women’s soccer quarterfinals, losing to eighth-seeded Western New England in penalty kicks after a 1-1 tie. … The second-seeded field hockey team will host Nichols College at 4 p.m. Thursday in a CCC semifinal.

BOWDOIN NOTES: The volleyball team finished 23-2 overall and 10-0 in the NESCAC. The Polar Bears will host the conference tournament Friday through Sunday. … The 15-0 field hockey team will host the conference semifinals at 11 a.m. Saturday and 1:30 p.m. … Bowdoin football players Joey Cleary and Griffin Cardew are pictured in Sports Illustrated’s Faces in the Crowd feature because of their long interception returns – 99 and 100 yards, respectively, – against Tufts on Oct. 8. The Polar Bears (3-3) will be at Bates (2-4) on Saturday.

UMAINE NOTES: Saturday’s football game between the seventh-ranked Black Bears and 14th-ranked Towson will be televised by WABI, Channel 5, in Bangor and picked up by WPME in Portland. … Riley Masters of Bangor won the American East Conference cross country meet for a second straight year, finishing the 8K course in 24:18. … The third-seeded Maine field hockey team will play No. 2 Boston University in an America East semifinal at 4 p.m. Saturday at Durham, N.H.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be contacted at 791-6411 or at: [email protected]

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