The Maine hockey team will take its momentum on the road this weekend.

There is a two-game winning streak, thanks to last weekend’s home sweep of Canisius.

There is leading scorer Blaine Byron’s five-game point streak, as the sophomore has six goals in his past eight games and nine overall.

And there is freshman Nolan Vesey, owner of four goals in his past five games.

“I think I’ve been playing a lot better, not just offensively, but my all-around game,” Vesey said. “Yeah, the offense is nice, so I’ve just got to keep it going.”

Maine (6-13-1) is traveling to Amherst to face Massachusetts (5-14) on Friday and Saturday. This series does not count in the Hockey East standings. But the last time the teams met it did, and the Black Bears earned a sweep in Orono on Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.


THE MAINE women’s basketball team, which built an 8-4 record before the Christmas break, is suddenly on a two-game slide after a loss at home to Albany and a last-second setback at Yale on Wednesday.

The Black Bears resume conference play Saturday at Hartford, which knocked them out of the America East tournament last spring.

The Black Bears continue to get strong all-around performances from forward Liz Wood (13.3 points, 6.6 rebounds, 2.9 assists per game) and guard Sigi Koizar (14.6, 3.7, 2.7). Center Anna Heise has had 10 or more points in each of the past three games.

But consistency from the team’s other role players remains elusive.

Coach Richard Barron would like to see more Black Bears take a confident step forward.

“I don’t know that anyone on our team yet has quite moved to the level where I think that they can be individually as players in terms of their confidence and demanding the ball, kind of asserting themselves,” he said. “It’s both a blessing and a curse because we have such great team chemistry, we don’t have any selfishness. We’ve got people who want to play within a system. But I still think we’ve got enough talent that people can really step up and play their game, almost a looser, freer style than what we’re doing within the system.”


THE MEN’S basketball team fell to 1-13 on the season with a 68-54 loss against Vermont in Portland on Wednesday. It’s been a difficult first year for new Coach Bob Walsh, who continually laments his team’s inability to defend.

But he’s trying to instill a new attitude and is rewarding those who practice hard with playing time. So it is that Garvey Melmed, a freshman walk-on guard from Old Town, has started the past four games.

Walsh said that’s because he’s been a consistently tough-nosed practice player, despite the fact that he had to miss the team’s Tuesday practices last semester due to a class conflict. Melmed had no idea when he signed up for his classes in the fall that he was going to be a member of the basketball team.

“The habits we form in practice are so important to what we want to accomplish here,” Walsh said. “Garvey is a perfect example of that.”

Melmed is averaging only 0.8 points and 0.8 rebounds while playing 13 minutes per game. But his presence in the starting lineup is sending a message to the rest of the team during a rough rebuilding season.

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