UMaine hockey captain Brian White played in 101 consecutive games before he missed one. Then when White had to sit out the Bear’s 0-0 tie with Boston College last Saturday, it was because he did what he was told.
“Everyone thinks it’s because of a fight,” White said about the game disqualification he recieved in Maine’s win over Merrimack Friday. “Actually, I didn’t get below the blue line [where a fight occurred near the goalie crease]. Coach told me to see what was going on. I went right to the ref, to the penalty box.”
Because White was called for leaving the bench during a fight, he had to watch the Bears’ next game from the stands – a vantage point he hasn’t had since Feb. 25, 1995, the last time he sat out a game.
So when Maine plays New Hampshire tonight at Alfond Arena, nobody is looking forward to playing the nation’s fourth-ranked team more than White.
Not only did the senior defenseman have to watch Maine battle for badly needed Hockey East points in a defensive stand at the 10th-ranked Eagles’ arena, he had to do so with about 40 relatives.
“Everyone kept asking me why I wasn’t playing,” said White, who went to Arlington Catholic High in Boston. “I just wanted to tape record myself and keep playing it – so I wouldn’t have to keep explaining.”
This weekend White will have even more support in the Bears’ return to Alfond. Maine has played at home since it hammered BC 12-5 on Nov. 22.
But UNH will be a difficult test for Maine, which has not lost in its last four road games.
As of Jan. 4, UNH’s offense was ranked second in the nation, averaging five goals a game, and it has remained just as strong. The Wildcats also had three players among the nation’s top five point leaders and three players ranked in the top 10 in goals per game through the first week of January.
And the last time Maine played UNH it lost 7-0.
However, Maine coach Shawn Walsh said his team is a more seasoned, much-improved club. White said the harrowing loss to UNH in November is a distant memory. The senior said Maine’s improved defense and the fact BC. swept UNH leaves hope for Maine.
“Tying BC, that was a huge game for us to have,” White said. “BC matched up against UNH real well. We felt we matched up against BC real well. That makes us feel good, the fact BC dominated UNH.”