University of Maine men’s first-year hockey coach Ben Barr will lead a depleted lineup of Black Bears to Providence College for the last regular season road trip as the two teams square off at Schneider Arena.
The Poisson brothers, UMaine’s Ben and Providence’s Nick, will square off again as they did for a two-game set at Providence a year ago.
Junior Ben Poisson had a pair of goals and his brother had an assist in the first game, a 4-3 win for UMaine. Neither figured on the scoresheet the second night as Providence triumphed 3-2.
“That will be cool for their family,” Barr said.
The Black Bears will be without injured defensemen Jakub Sirota (knee) and Sam Duerr (upper body) and center Adam Dawe will miss Friday’s game after being suspended for a hit in the loss against New Hampshire that resulted in a boarding major and game misconduct.
The games are at 7 p.m. Friday and 4 p.m. Saturday.
The series will also feature Barr against his mentor, former UMaine assistant Nate Leaman, who is in his 11th season behind the Friars bench.
Leaman hired Barr as his assistant when he was the head coach at Union College in 2008. It was Barr’s first job as a full-time assistant after being a volunteer assistant at his alma mater, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in New York.
“Nate is a great friend and a great mentor,” said Barr, who coached against Leaman when he was the associate head coach at UMass. “He gave me my shot in coaching.”
Barr said he is used to being shorthanded and trying to get the most out of his team.
“It has been like this all year,” Barr said. “You just have to deal with it. You have to get everybody to play with passion and energy and play to the best of their ability.”
Providence is 19-13-2 but just 10-11-1 in Hockey East. The Friars are 4-6-1 in their last 11.
UMaine is 6-18-4 and 4-14-2.
“Providence is a real deep team. It will be a test for our battle level. They’re extremely physical, they’re quick and they pack the front of their net and protect it. We’re going to have to match their physicality.”
Leaman’s Friars are desperate for wins to aid their NCAA Tournament aspirations.
Nick Poisson (10 goals, 24 assists) is their leading scorer along with Parker Ford (12 & 13) and Patrick Moynahan (11 & 14). Jaxson Stauber is 18-13-2 with a 2.11 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage in goal.
Linemates Lynden Breen (7 & 11), Donavan Houle (10 & 6) and Ben Poisson (7 & 5) continue to lead UMaine along with defenseman David Breazeale (2 & 12). Victor Ostman is 5-12-1, 3.18, .903 between the pipes.