Seven University of Maine men’s hockey players will lace up their skates for their final game at Alfond Arena on Saturday night for Seniors Night against Boston University.
Even though there have been 25 more losses than wins, the group hopes to conclude their careers with a long playoff run.
UMaine is the sixth seed for the Hockey East quarterfinals and will travel to either BU, Northeastern University or UMass Lowell for a best-of-three series next weekend.
Left wings Brendan Robbins (140 games, 28 goals, 34 assists) and Danny Perez (112, 8 & 11), and center Canon Pieper (65, 4 & 12); defensemen Rob Michel (134, 17 & 36), Keith Muehlbauer (130, 3 & 8) and Sam Becker (99, 1 & 14) and goalie Rob McGovern (60 games, 14-33-7 record, 3.00 goals-against average, .900 save percentage) will be honored prior to Saturday’s game.
“It was the best decision I’ve ever made,” Robbins said of choosing UMaine. “I look back fondly at all the memories, all the friendships I’ve made. There have been ups and downs. We haven’t had the most success. But we’ve been coming on lately.”
UMaine is 4-1-1 in its past six games and 7-4-2 over its past 13.
“It is going to be bittersweet,” McGovern said. “It has been a lot of fun. It’s sad to be leaving. I’m grateful for all the experiences I’ve had here.”
The seniors have a 51-76-18 record, 30-50-11 in Hockey East regular-season play. UMaine is 32-31-8 overall the past two years (20-20-7 HE).
“It has gone by way too quick. It has been the best four years of my life,” Perez said. “It has been a great learning experience.”
“I wouldn’t trade it for the world,” Pieper said.
Becker and Perez said playing in front of the enthusiastic Alfond Arena crowds will never be forgotten.
“Any time we played at home, it was special,” Becker said.
“It is unmatched anywhere in college hockey,” Perez said.
Muehlbauer and Michel said the trip to Northern Ireland for the Friendship Four Tournament last season was a career highlight.
“It was a once-in-a-lifetime event,” Muehlbauer said.
“It was an unbelievable trip for me. We really bonded as a team. It was cool to see a different culture,” Michel said.
Robbins said sweeping UNH in the first round for their first playoff wins a year ago was special, and Muehlbauer said the victory over No. 2 Massachusetts this season was a highlight.
The seniors have a chance to lead UMaine to its first Hockey East semifinal appearance since 2012 and want to build momentum for the playoffs with a win over Boston University.
UMaine has beaten every team in Hockey East except Northeastern (0-2) and Connecticut (0-1-1). That includes a victory over UMass, the HE regular-season champion, and second-place Providence, the No. 8 team.
“We’re confident and if we stick to our game plan, we’ll be good,” Pieper said. ‘We’ve been working toward the playoffs all year, and we’re peaking at the right time.”
Robbins said the Black Bears have shaken off the 6-0 loss at UMass last weekend.
“We’ve gotten it out of our systems,” Robbins said. “We’re getting ready for the playoffs.”