Black Bear Nation FTS: Tourney Time Edition

After a week of previews, picks, and prognostications, the time for talking and hyping finally came to an end this weekend.  At long last, it was time to get down to business for men’s hockey and men’s & women’s basketball as they began their quests for conference glory and automatic qualification into their respective NCAA tournaments. 

As we here at Fill The Steins expected, it was a weekend of mixed results for our heroes.  Unfortunately, it was more bad news than good for the Black Bears, and more bad news than we predicted in our Tourney Time preview series.  As always, we’ve got all the key details of the weekend that was in Black Bear Nation with the FTS: Friday to Sunday.  Let’s get to it!!!

Men’s Hockey wins 2-0: After a poor run of form to end the regular season, the Black Bears got a dream start in their Hockey East tournament opening round game against Merrimack.  Mark Anthoine, the pride of Lewiston, opened the scoring just 2:01 into the 1st period to give Maine a 1-0 lead. 

That was all G Martin Ouellette would need, as he turned away all 29 of the Warriors’ shots on goal.  Devin Shore added a late empty net goal (hey, we predicted that, too!) to secure Maine’s berth in the Hockey East quarterfinals.

While the Black Bears had a relatively comfortable time on Saturday at the Alfond (at least as comfortable as 1-0 for 58 minutes can be), Maine will face a much tougher test in the aforementioned quarterfinal round.  It is, however, also an opportunity for revenge for the Black Bears, who will travel to Providence to take on the Friars.  Maine will, of course, be looking to erase the recent memory of the Friars’ season-ending weekend sweep of the Black Bears at the Alfond and win 2 of 3 from Providence to advance to the Hockey East semifinals at the TD Garden.

We’ll have our full, official preview of next weekend’s quarterfinal series for all of you in Fill The Steins Nation here on the site on Wednesday.  We’ll also be joined by WMEB lead play-by-play announcer for Maine Hockey, Cody Beckett, on this week’s UCU Fill The Steins Podcast.  You can listen LIVE on Sunday at 7pm and anytime by visiting our archives.  Don’t miss it!!!

Women’s Basketball loses 63-62 (OT): We knew going in that this 4-5 quarterfinal matchup would be very, very competitive.  We also thought our heroes would prevail.  If not for a very shaky start that saw Hartford jump out to a 13-2 lead, the Black Bears might just be on their way to the America East semifinals.  Instead, Maine spent the overwhelming majority of the game clawing their way back from that early deficit, a deficit they just couldn’t ultimately overcome.

After that early debacle, Maine outscored the Hawks 50-39 throughout the remainder of regulation to send the game to overtime.  Maine’s comeback was lead by the tremendous Ashleigh Roberts, who scored 20 points, grabbed 9 rebounds, and dished out 5 assists to lead the Black Bears in all three categories.  That comeback fell just short, however, as after a back-and-forth overtime, Hartford was able to extend their lead to 4 before a late 3-pointer by Sigi Koizar brought the final scoreline to 63-62.

Despite the season-ending loss, the 2013-14 women’s basketball campaign was most certainly a success.  After a four win season last year, Coach Richard Barron’s squad finished the year 16-14 and 10-7 in America East play.  We fill the steins to Coach Barron and the ladies on a great season that appears to be just the beginning of bigger and better things for Maine women’s hoops!

Men’s Basketball loses 80-54: The Maine men put their supporters out of their misery early on Saturday evening, as they fell behind Stony Brook 26-9 in the first 13 minutes of their America East quarterfinal matchup and never came close to sniffing the lead en route to their lowest offensive point total of the year and their 23rd loss of the season.

As expected, Maine was dominated on the glass, with the Seawolves holding a 44-34 rebounding advantage.  The biggest factor in the defeat was Maine’s carelessness with the ball.  The Black Bears committed 23 turnovers, which led to 26 Seawolves points, their exact margin of victory.

With Saturday’s defeat, Maine’s final record is 6-23 overall and 4-13 in America East.  Now that the season is complete, new Athletic Director Karlton Creech can begin his promised evaluation of the men’s basketball program.  By now, you should all know how we think it should end…

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