With their win against Boston University on Friday night, the Maine Black Bears will face off against Boston College for the seventh time in the Hockey East Championship. The last time these two teams faced off, Boston College won, Maine is 2-4 against the Eagles. But, Maine may be forced to play one of their most important games of the seasons without superstar Spencer Abbott.
Abbott received a nasty hit by Boston University’s Sean Escobedo. Escobedo received no call on the hit, but the Maine head coach seemed to think the hit was not as clean as the officials saw it on the ice.
“It was an elbow to the head,” said coach Tim Whitehead, “That’s not a good thing. Obviously in a big game like this, if a kids not going to come back in the game, especially a tough competitor like him, that’s probably not a good sign. It’s unfortunate.”
If Abbott isn’t able to play for the Black Bears, the loss would be huge. Abbott is one of the best players in the league and he even has the title to prove it as he was recently named the Hockey East Player of the Year. Abbott notched 20 goals and racked up an impressive 39 assists this season with the Maine Black Bears.
However, with the loss of Abbott, players that generally are not top goal scorers stepped up big for Maine. Defenseman Will O’Neil was spectacular for the Black Bears all night, and he even scored two goals in a row for Maine almost exactly six minutes apart. Prior to the Semifinal game, O’Neil had only one goal on the season.
“When a guy goes down like that,” said O’Neill, “everybody is going to step up.”
Mark Anthoine also stepped up and netted in a power-play goal after taking Abbott’s spot to net in his second goal of the game and help finalize the 5-3 victory for the Black Bears.