Gustav Nyquist, junior right wing 

The nation’s leading scorer last season with 19 goals and 42 assists, Nyquist chose to return to the Black Bears for a third season and is Maine’s marquee player. Maine’s eighth player to be nominated as a finalist for the Hobey Baker Award, he has played the past two seasons on the top line with Tanner House and Brian Flynn. “I’m trying to improve every day and help the team as much as possible,” Nyquist said. “The Hobey was fun but not what I think about. As long as we’re winning, that’s what’s important.” 

Tanner House, senior center

Playing primarily on Maine’s top line, House has developed into a two-way center who is Maine’s captain for the second season. Maine’s third-leading scorer last season with 18 goals and 21 assists, House teamed with Nyquist and Flynn for a combined 56 goals and 91 assists – more than 35 percent of Maine’s offense in 2009-2010. “I want to make sure I’m doing all those the little things right,” House said. “I want to be good defensively and just set a good example for the freshmen and the other guys on the team, and make sure we’re all on the same page.” 

Will O’Neill, junior defenseman

An Atlanta Thrashers draft pick in 2006, O’Neill was Maine’s leading scorer among defensemen with eight goals and 23 assists in 39 games. One of the team’s feistiest players on defense, O’Neill was second on the team with 69 minutes in penalties. “I want to bring a winning attitude and a happy face in the locker room every day,” O’Neill said. “I want to contribute on both ends of the power play, offensively and defensively, and I did that last year and hope to do that again as a junior.” 

Robby Dee, senior center

The Minnesota native emerged as one of Maine’s faceoff specialists last season, despite missing six games because of injuries. Drafted by the Edmonton Oilers in 2005, the 6-foot-2, 195-pound forward also had his best season offensively, finishing with 13 goals and 12 assists. “I want to do anything I can to help the team,” Dee said. “Whatever the team needs me to do, offensively, defensively or on special teams, whatever the coaches need me to do, I’m ready to do it.” 

Joey Diamond, sophomore right wing

Diamond punctuated last season by scoring the game-tying goal in the Hockey East championship game with 27.3 seconds left in regulation, but will be counted on to provide an offensive presence, as well as a gritty presence in front of the goal. Diamond scored nine goals and three assists in 32 games, and led the Black Bears with 73 penalty minutes last season. “There’s a lot I want to do,” Diamond said. “I want to bring momentum, confidence and help realize what we have at stake. Whatever I can do to contribute, I hope it helps.” 

– Rachel Lenzi