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Allen Lessels' College Hockey: A Maine focus for Wildcats
The Wildcats are coming off a tough series in which they dropped a pair of 3-1 games to Union, which moved up to No. 4 in the country with the wins. Worse yet, UNH lost two of its key performers for an extended period of time when junior defenseman Trevor van Riemsdyk went down with a broken ankle and junior center Grayson Downing suffered a sprained shoulder.
Now comes Maine, starting with the annual Whiteout the Whit game at home on tonight at 7:30, followed by a game in Orono on Saturday at 7.
UNH is competing with all three teams for position nationally with an eye on the NCAA tournament as well as for home ice in the Hockey East tournament.
They are in sixth place in Hockey East going into the weekend and are a point behind fifth-place UMass-Lowell and two behind fourth-place Maine.
The top five teams in Hockey East earn a bye for the first round of the tournament and the top four get home ice for the quarterfinals.
The teams that rank No. 6 through No. 11 will square off in a one-game series in the first round.
Teams at Nos. 6-8 will host the first-round games and winners move on to best-of-three quarterfinals hosted by the top four teams.
"Eric Knodel's had a fabulous season and I thought on Saturday night that he really stepped it up," Umile said. "He was great."
"He might be the best in the country," Umile said. "The country, let alone Hockey East. He does a lot."
DARTMOUTH COLLEGE will look for a little revenge on Friday night in Troy, N.Y., against Rensselaer.
The Big Green are 3-13-3 overall and are 2-9-1 in the ECAC. They lost at home to RPI, 7-1, on Nov. 2. RPI is 8-10-4 and 3-5-3.
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PLYMOUTH STATE sophomore goalie Gordon Ceasar, who transferred in from Utica and began playing at the start of the second semester, made 25 saves for a 3-0 shutout of UMass-Dartmouth on Saturday. Ceasar has allowed 12 goals in his six games and has a save percentage of .938 to go with his 3-3-0 record.
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THE ST. ANSELM MEN, 5-7-3, are at Skidmore, 6-7-5, on Friday night and play at Castleton State, 9-8-1, on Saturday at 4 p.m. ... The St. Anselm women, 14-2-0, have a couple of home games with St. Michael's, 1-12-2, on Friday night at 7 followed by a showdown with Norwich, 12-3-0, on Saturday at 3 p.m. ... The New England College men, 11-5-1, are at Castleton on Friday night and at Skidmore on Saturday. ... The UNH women, 9-12-2 overall and 4-5-2 in Hockey East, are at league-leading Boston College on Saturday at 2 p.m. and play the Eagles at home on Sunday, also at 2. BC is 11-1-1 in the league ... The Dartmouth women, 9-12-2 overall and 4-5-2 in the ECAC, play Rensselaer at home on Friday night at 7 and have Union in on Saturday at 4.