University of Maine's Lynden Breen tries to outskate an opponent from UMass Lowell at the Alfond Arena in Orono on Jan. 13, 2023. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

Two teams that earned NCAA Tournament berths last season, including the team that won the national championship, highlight the University of Maine men’s hockey team’s non-conference schedule this coming season.

In addition to the non-conference schedule, the Hockey East schedule will see the Black Bears play four different Hockey East three times and the other six teams twice.

Last year, UMaine played three games apiece against Boston College, Boston University, UMass Lowell and Merrimack, and every other Hockey East team twice.

This season, the Black Bears will play three games each against New Hampshire, UConn, UMass and Northeastern.

Headlining the non-conference schedule is Quinnipiac University from Hamden, Connecticut, which went 34-4-3 en route to its first ever NCAA title.

UMaine dealt the ECAC team one of its four losses, 4-0 on Oct. 22 in Orono before the Bobcats posted a 6-2 win the next night.

The teams will meet at the M & T Bank Arena in Hamden on Oct. 27-28.

Colgate, which won the ECAC Hockey League Tournament before being ambushed by Michigan 11-1 in their NCAA Tournament game, will visit Orono on Jan. 5-6. Colgate beat UMaine 5-2 and the teams skated to a 1-1 tie in their two-game set in Hamilton, New York, last season.

The Rochester Institute of Technology went 25-13-1, including an 18-7-1 mark in Atlantic Hockey, and will face UMaine in the first round of the Dartmouth College Ledyard Bank Classic Tournament on Dec. 29-30. RIT was upset in the Atlantic Hockey semifinals by Holy Cross in a three-game series.

UMaine head coach Ben Barr and his Black Bears will open the season against Barr’s alma mater, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, on Oct. 12-13 in Orono.

Barr co-captained the 2003-04 RPI team and began his coaching career there. RPI was 14-20-1 a year ago.

UMaine will travel to Schenectady, New York, for a single game against Union College on Dec. 6. Barr was an assistant coach at Union, which went 14-19-2 in 2022-23.

RPI and Union are in the ECAC Hockey League.

UMaine will return to Portland to take on Atlantic Hockey team Bentley on Dec. 9. Bentley was 11-21-2 a year ago but dealt UMaine a 5-1 setback.

UMaine will open its Hockey East schedule at Merrimack on Nov. 3-4 before hosting Boston College the following weekend.

“The Hockey East schedule is always challenging. The teams are all very good. But our non-conference schedule is challenging as well,” Barr said, adding that the schedule doesn’t have a “crazy” amount of travel.

”It’s going to be great to go back to Portland. It will be fun to play RPI on Homecoming Weekend and playing Quinnipiac will be a good challenge,” Barr added.

UMaine went 15-16-5 in Barr’s second season behind the bench after going 7-22-4 the previous season. UMaine was 9-11-4 in Hockey East after a 5-17-2 mark the previous year.

The Black Bears were picked to finish last in the preseason coaches poll a year ago but wound up sixth.

They will return their top four scorers, including second team All-Hockey East center and leading scorer Lynden Breen, five seasoned defensemen and second team All-Hockey East goalie Victor Ostman.

There will be 10 newcomers, including center and first-round NHL draft pick Bradly Nadeau and defenseman and second-round pick Artyom Duda.