2015-16 Team-by-Team Previews: Maine Black Bears

2015-16 Roster | 2015-16 Schedule

Head Coach: Richard Reichenbach (3rd Season)
2015-16 Captains: Emilie Brigham (C), Abbey Cook (C) Eve Boissonneault A), Brooklyn Langlois (A)

2014-15 Season Recap

Record: 10-20-3 (9-11-1 WHEA/4th place)
Hockey East Postseason: Conference quarterfinals; swept by Connecticut in best-of-three quarterfinal series

The Black Bears began the season with two straight wins, beating New Hampshire in conference play and then earning an overtime win against Robert Morris. They settled for the split the next day against the Colonials, and picked up a tie in their next series against Mercyhurst before getting swept by Quinnipiac. Against Boston University on Oct. 25, they split their series with a big 4-2 upset win, which sparked a three-game unbeaten streak that saw Maine tie Connecticut and shut out Northeastern, 1-0.

They dropped two more in nonconference action against Brown and then split with Providence, losing game two in overtime. The Black Bears swept Vermont but were overmatched by Boston College the following weekend, losing by a score of 8-1. Their troubles in out-of-conference play continued against Union as they were unable to earn a win against the Dutchwomen, suffering a loss and then settling for a tie. They started off January with a loss to BU and a win over the Friars, and then came away winning the season series against Northeastern with a 4-2 win on Jan. 25.

The weekend after that, Maine picked up a 3-0 shutout win over New Hampshire, but that would unfortunately prove to be their last victory of the 2015-16 season. The Black Bears dropped their last six games of the regular season, but still clinched the fourth seed and home-ice advantage for the Hockey East quarterfinals. They drew Connecticut in that series, and the Huskies officially ended Maine’s season with the sweep in the first round of the playoffs.

After an excellent junior season for the Black Bears, goaltender Meghann Treacy was named a Hockey East First Team All-Star. Head coach Richard Reichenbach was a top-three finalist for the league’s Coach of the Year award, and defender Kelsey MacSorley earned Hockey East Honorable Mention All-Star accolades as well.

Meet the Newcomers

G Carly Jackson, Canadian Under-18 Team, Cumberland Blues

Jackson won a silver medal with Team Canada at the 2015 IIHF Under-18 World Championships, and also skated for the Team Nova Scotia U18s at the Atlantic Challenge Cup, winning gold.

The staff on Jackson (via GoBlackBears.com):

“Carly is fast, quick, competitive goaltender who has played for the Canadian U18 team, winning a Silver at the world championships, the Nova Scotia U18 team, winning multiple gold medals at the Atlantic Challenge cup and representing Nova Scotia and Team Atlantic at Canadian national championships.”

D Allyson Matteau, Canadian Under-18 Team, Northwood School

Matteau was a teammate of Jackson’s on the silver medal-winning Canadian U18 squad. She helped her team to an Esso Cup championship, and notched career totals of 40 goals, 34 assists, and 74 points in high school. She also led Team Quebec to a gold medal at the 2015 Canada Winter Games.

The staff on Matteau (via GoBlackBears.com):

“Alyson plays with a mentality that she wants to control the play when she is on the ice.  She leads by example with her hunger to win every game.  Alyson posses a strong shot, the ability to see the ice well and play with her head up. She represented Canada at the recent U18 World Championship where she won a Silver medal with Carly Jackson.

D Carly Menges, Gilmour Academy

As a captain at Gilmour Academy, she recorded eight goals and 15 assists in 2014-15.

The staff on Menges (via GoBlackBears.com):

“Carly is a D who rushes the puck, looks to create offense and also plays a smothering style of D.  Her size and ability to skate give her a unique balance that few possess.  Carly is a complete athlete with [a] great understanding of the game. “

D Cassidy Herman, Ottawa Jr. Senators

Herman served as an assistant captain for the Jr. Senators last season, scoring five goals, 14 assists, and 19 points in 38 games. She also earned an invite to the OWHA’s Under-18 High Performance Summer Development Camp.

The staff on Herman (via GoBlackBears.com):

“Cassidy gives an outstanding effort every shift that is rare to find.  She is full speed every shift for the entire shift.  Cassidy finished the regular season with five goals 14 assists for 19 points in 38 games. She possesses elite skating ability with strength and balance.”

F Lydia Murray, Sault Ste. Marie Wildcats

In 52 games with the Wildcats, Murray tallied 35 goals, 33 assists, and 68 points. She helped her club to a bronze medal at the 2015 Provincial Championships, and was invited to Canada’s National Women’s Under-18 Selection Camp.

The staff on Murray (via GoBlackBears.com):

“Lydia’splay is far beyond her age as a high level forward.  She is able to think the game offensively at a high level but also defensively. Lydia attended the Canadian U18 Summer strength and on ice camps, and also she has led her Sault team to the semifinals of the Ontario provincial championships.”

F Cailey Hutchison, Northwood School

Hutchison was a teammate of Matteau’s at Northwood (N.Y.), finishing last season with 18 goals, 11 assists, 29 points, and a +11 rating. She has also earned invites to USA Hockey national development camps over the years.

The staff on Hutchison (via GoBlackBears.com):

“Cailey is fast, strong and her development the last few seasons has been truly impressive.  Cailey has attending multiple USA Hockey national camps and is a fun player to watch every time she steps on the ice because she has a positive effect on the game every shift.”

F Nicole Arnold, Kirkwood H.S., Madison Capitals

Arnold helped the Capitals advance to the 2015 USA Hockey National Championships. At Kirkwood (Mo.), she was the only girl on the boys’ varsity hockey team.

The staff on Arnold (via GoBlackBears.com):

“Nicole has great size and range; she is a player who is able to do it all.  She can play different positions up front and her play is consistent.  Nicole’s agility and balance on the ice are her strengths.  In games she lives in the [sic] area’s other players do not want to go.”

F Estelle Duvin, French National Team

At the 2015 IIHF Under-18 Division I World Championships, Duvin was named the tournament’s Best Forward while guiding her French squad to a gold medal. She led the tournament with nine goals and 13 points in just five games. She also played for France’s senior squad at the 2015 IIHF Women’s Division I Group A World Championships, scoring four points in five games and earning a third-place finish.

The staff on Duvin (via GoBlackBears.com):

“Estelle is an offensively hungry player who wants the puck on her stick at all times.  She finds many different ways to create offense whether she is making moves, shooting, screening, tipping or finding rebounds.  Estelle plays on the French National team and has represented France in numerous world championships.”

2015-16 Season Preview

Key Departures: F Hailey Browne, F Jennifer More, D Brittany Huneke
Key Returners: G Meghann Treacy, F Emilie Brigham, F Audra Richards, F Brooke Stacey, F Morgan Sakundiak, D Brooklyn Langlois, D Kristin Gilmour, D Kelsey MacSorley
Key Additions: F Estelle Duvin, F Lydia Murray, F Cailey Hutchison, D Allyson Matteau, G Carly Jackson

Last year, the Black Bears posted their best season since going 17-11-6 in 2011-12. That was largely boosted by their record in Hockey East play, and the overall parity in the conference; just one of their 10 wins came in nonconference action. With the second-worst shots on goal margin per game in the league at -7.70, as well as the league’s weakest offense with 1.64 goals per game, it’s clear that Maine was not controlling play on a regular basis last season. But they were able to keep the puck out of their own net and secured a spot in the top half of the Hockey East standings. They’ll likely be relying on the same things to help them maintain that spot this year.

The Black Bears’ best player last season was all-conference first team goaltender Meghann Treacy, and she’s back in net for her senior season. Despite facing 990 shots, she was very strong between the pipes, with a .930 save percentage and 2.41 goals-against average. She’s been just as good this season, with a .935 save percentage, and Maine needs her to continue with that level of play in order to have as much success within their conference as they did last season.

The defense in front of her isn’t losing much, which is good news for a team that is searching for consistency. The only big loss there is in Brittany Huneke, and though she was an experienced D who picked up quality minutes while chipping in with nine assists, the Black Bears’ defensive corps should be able to absorb that hit with their returning players and the ones they’re bringing in. Alyson Matteau, a Canadian U18 Team alum, is the most notable addition there, and she’ll be expected to step in right away. Senior Brooklyn Langlois and junior Kristin Gilmour are the leaders back there; both are solid defensive options but don’t have particularly strong offensive skillsets. 10-point defender Kelsey MacSorley was the team’s leading defensive scorer last season, and she’ll likely play the same role again this season. They’ll be hoping to see more from sophomore Mikayla Rogers, and rookie Cassidy Herman should also find herself a regular home among the top-six D.

Leading scorers Emilie Brigham and Audra Richards return up front, though Maine has lost other top scorers Jennifer More and Hailey Browne to graduation. Brooke Stacey had a pretty good rookie campaign, finishing fifth on the squad in scoring with 11 points, and it would be big for the Black Bears if she can take a step forward and up that production as a sophomore. Junior Morgan Sakundiak is the only other returning player who can definitely be counted on to provide some offense; otherwise, Maine will mostly be looking towards its freshmen to contribute. French national team member Estelle Duvin is the most well-equipped to do that immediately, though she still hasn’t played a game yet this season. Lydia Murray and Cailey Hutchison may also be able to chip in, but the Black Bears will almost assuredly be lacking in depth.

That weakness on the depth chart at both skater positions is going to hurt Maine the most this season, as is the absence of any real high-end skill. The Black Bears aren’t a team that is capable of driving play, and they’ve also got a few holes to fill with those three key losses in Browne, More, and Huneke. They’ll once again be relying heavily on Treacy to carry them; though they ranked third in Hockey East last season in scoring defense at 2.64 goals against per game, that’s mostly due to Treacy’s play in net, as opposed to Maine’s overall defensive efficiency. But the conference is, once again, not very strong throughout, and Maine could end up with another fourth-place finish if Treacy can take them that far, though they won’t break into the top three.

Schedule Highlights

Oct. 2 at New Hampshire (W 4-0)
Oct. 4 at Boston University (L 4-2)
Oct. 9-10 vs. Quinnipiac (L 3-1, L 5-1)
Oct. 17 at Boston College (L 4-0)
Oct. 18 at Merrimack (W 2-1)
Oct. 23-24 vs. Brown
Nov. 1 at Vermont
Nov. 6 vs. Northeastern
Nov. 14-15 at Boston University
Nov. 22 vs. Connecticut
Nov. 27-28 at Robert Morris
Dec. 5-6 vs. Boston College
Jan. 16-17 vs. Northeastern
Jan. 23-24 vs. New Hampshire
Feb. 12-13 at Connecticut

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