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Allen Lessels' UNH Notebook: Another important weekend for UNH football, men's hockey
Saturday football gamesUNH at Maine
When: Saturday, noon
Where: Alfond Stadium, Orono, Maine
Records: UNH is 5-2, 3-1 in the CAA; Maine is 2-4, 1-2 in the CAA.
Radio: Wildcat Sports Radio Network (WGIR 610 AM, WQSO 96.7 FM, WPKX 930 AM, WNTK 99.7 FM, WCNL 1010 AM, WUVY 1490 AM, WASR 1420 AM.
TV: Comcast Sports New England
Fast fact: It's the 100th meeting of the rivals, who will play for the Brice-Cowell Musket, named after former Maine coach Fred Brice and former UNH coach William Cowell.
Dartmouth at Columbia
When: Saturday, 1:30 p.m.
Where: Wien Stadium, New York, N.Y.
Records: Dartmouth is 3-2, 1-1 in the Ivy League; Columbia is 1-4, 0-2.
Radio: WFRD 99.3 FM
Fast fact: The Big Green lead the all-time series with the Lions, 63-17-1. Columbia lost a heartbreaker to Penn last Saturday, 24-20, with the Lions at the Penn 2-yard-line when time expired.
Western New England at Plymouth State
:When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Where: Currier Field, Plymouth
Records: WNEC is 4-3, 2-2 in the New England Football Conference Boyd Division; PSU is 2-5, 1-3.
Fast fact: Panthers senior running back Andrew Foglia is second in the NEFC in rushing with 648 yards.
St. Anselm at Merrimack
When: Saturday, 1 p.m.
Where: Martone-Mejail Field, North Andover, Mass.
Records: St. Anselm is 1-6, 1-5 in the Northeast-10; Merrimack is 3-3, 2-3.
Fast fact: The Hawks' Keith Charles was the Northeast-10's special teams player of the week. Charles had 300 all-purpose yards in a 48-21 win over Pace last Saturday.
Sean McDonnell's No. 12-ranked football team takes on Maine tomorrow in Orono for the 100th time, anxious to retain the coveted Brice-Cowell Musket that goes to the winner of the game and to take another step toward a ninth straight appearance in the NCAA's Football Championship Subdivision tournament.
The men's hockey team faces No. 11 Boston University in its Hockey East opener and only game of the weekend at the Whittemore Center on Saturday night at 7. The Wildcats are 2-0-0 and jumped into the USCHO national rankings for the first time in a year at No. 15 with a season-opening sweep of St. Cloud State last weekend.
The football Wildcats are 5-2 overall and closing in on the eight-win mark that pretty much guarantees a spot in the playoffs. UNH is 3-1 in the Colonial Athletic Association.
McDonnell and his players talk little about the postseason and games down the road.
During Maine Week, they talk plenty about gun rights.
The Brice-Cowell Musket, a flintlock rifle dating to at least 1745, has been in the Field House since UNH held off Maine, 30-27, last year at Cowell Stadium.
“It's the most important thing in the locker room, it really is,” said senior captain and offensive lineman Chris Zarkoskie.
The Wildcats regained the musket after leaving it behind two years ago in their last trip to Orono.
That day, Maine blocked a 33-yard field goal to win in the final seconds of regulation by Mike MacArthur, a junior out of North Hampton and Winnacunnet of Hampton.
Brian Harvey kicked a 37-yard field goal in overtime for a 16-13 Maine win that snapped UNH's seven-game win streak in the series and end its hold on the musket.
“In the summer time, you're always thinking about Maine and about keeping the musket,” Zarkoskie said. “That year span where we didn't have the musket was very disappointing. It's always good to have it in our locker room.”
The musket helps make Maine Week special.
“It's a fun week,” MacArthur said “From the time you're a freshman, you can tell the difference. There's a buzz around practice and the field house. It's intense. It's the kind of game we all love. It's a pressure game and you want to get up for it and go win the big one.”
The Black Bears are 2-4 overall and 1-2 in the CAA.
They beat up on Delaware, 26-3, at Delaware, two weeks ago and lost a close game at Towson, 24-19, last weekend.
UNH leads the series with Maine, 48-43-8.
Either sophomore Andy Vailas, out of Bedford and Bishop Guertin of Nashua, or redshirt freshman Sean Goldrich will start at quarterback for the Wildcats. Vailas got a hip pointer in last week's 44-40 win over Richmond.
He had started the last five games since Goldrich, who earned the starting job to begin the season, hurt his shoulder in the second game.
McDonnell said that whichever quarterback was feeling and practicing better at the end of the week would get the start against Maine.
As excited as Dick Umile's hockey team is to be off to a dramatically better start than last year and looking ahead to a better season overall, it's also taking a glance to the past.
BU knocked UNH out of the Hockey East tournament in the quarterfinals, ending its season, last March. UNH won the first match of the three-game set in double overtime and lost the final game the same way.
“Everything is in front of us and we can control that because it's a new season,” Umile said. “But you don't forget the missed opportunity we had last year. We got bumped out of the playoffs and that made us all angry and miserable and we've been living with that since, so you definitely carry that into the game.”
BU opened its season with a 5-2 win over Providence last Saturday. Freshman goaltender Matt O'Connor made 26 saves for the win.
UNH opened its season with pair of him wins against St. Cloud State, 5-3 on Friday and 4-2 on Saturday.
UNH will have a moment of silence before tonight's game in honor of Chris Serino, a former assistant to Umile and a head coach of baseball at the school. Serino, who went on to coach hockey at Merrimack College and Malden Catholic High School, died on Monday at the age of 63 after a long battle with cancer.
“He was just a great guy,” Umile said. “He was a very knowledgeable hockey guy and a great coach. Guys loved playing for him whether it was college or high school. He just had a way. He was a great motivator. He was tough, yet the guys knew he loved them.”
THE UNH field hockey team has a showdown with Boston University tonight at 7 in Durham.
The teams are atop the America East standings with matching 3-0 records. BU is 9-5 overall and UNH is 7-7.
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