Although the University of Maine men finished ninth in Hockey East and failed to qualify for the conference tournament, the league’s coaches honored junior goalie Ben Bishop by selecting him to the All-Hockey East second team.
“That’s really cool,” said Bishop from Peoria, Ill., where he is playing for the American Hockey League’s Peoria Rivermen. “It’s a great honor. There’s a lot of good goalies in the league. This isn’t the way I wanted to go out, but it’s nice to be honored by the coaches.”
Bishop, the All-Rookie Team goalie two years ago, was the only Black Bear selected to the first or second teams or the all-rookie team.
The 6-foot-7 Bishop played in all 34 games and posted a 13-18-3 record, a 2.43 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage. His save percentage was third best in the conference and his GAA was fifth best.
In Hockey East games only, his .923 save percentage was second behind Player of the Year Kevin Regan of New Hampshire, who compiled a .940 save percentage.
Bishop’s 2.41 GAA was fourth. He had a 9-15-3 league record.
The third-round choice of the St. Louis Blues finished with a flourish, compiling a 5-3 record, a 1.60 GAA and a .947 save percentage over his last eight games. Two of his losses came in overtime at Boston University (2-1 and 1-0).
Bishop said of the last eight games, “It was the best I’ve played in my life. I decided to not focus on anything except stopping the puck. There were no other distractions. I didn’t worry about playing the puck. That really helped me out.”
Bishop concluded his career with a 55-35-7 record, a 2.29 GAA and a .917 save percentage. He led the Bears to two consecutive Frozen Four appearances and is second in career saves (2,399), third in career save percentage, games played (99) and minutes played (5666:49), fourth in GAA and fifth in wins.
He has already made his pro debut, turning aside 20 shots in a 3-2 loss to the Milwaukee Admirals a week ago. He will play tonight against visiting Lake Erie.
He said his debut went well.
“I was happy with the way I played. Hopefully, I can build on that,” said Bishop.
He said the pro game is much different than college.
“They get better quality shots. There’s a little bit more space out there and the game is a lot more controlled,” said Bishop.
“The first couple of practices, it was a pretty big adjustment,” he said. “If you leave them a little area to shoot at, they find it. They release their shots quicker and the shots are harder. There’s a lot of one-touching the puck, so you have to be able to read the two guys off the puck.
“But after a week of practicing and getting accustomed to the lifestyle, I feel real good out there now.”
UM men’s soccer team adds 10
Fullback Daniel Tannous, the captain of Canada’s Under-17 national team in World Cup qualifying and a finalist for the Canadian Youth Player of the Year in 2007, headlines a list of 10 players who have signed National Letters of Intent to join the University of Maine men’s soccer program this fall.
Their coming to Maine is contingent upon their acceptance into the school and meeting NCAA Clearinghouse requirements.
Second-year coach Pat Laughlin said he primarily earmarked his team’s needs at the back and striker positions after his Black Bears went 3-13-1 last fall.
Maine had gone winless the previous season.
The Bears allowed 39 goals last fall while scoring nine.
“I’m excited about this class,” said Laughlin. “They will make our practices more competitive as well as improving our depth and quality in our games.”
The gifted Tannous has played for Canada’s National Team at the Under-15, U-16 and U-17 levels and Laughlin expects him to contribute immediately.
Two of the other fullbacks are highly skilled transfers.
Mike Moloney, who played at Phoenix College in Arizona, and Englishman Stuart Rodgers, who is coming to Maine from the University of Texas-Brownsville, are both athletic and should be formidable defenders.
Curtis Socobie from Orangeville, Ontario, and Belfast’s Yates Murphy are the other defenders. Socobie provides the Bears with a dominant left-footed player they didn’t have a year ago, and Murphy supplies size and an aerial presence with his 6-foot-3 frame.
Up front, Laughlin said they have a “dynamic scorer” in Michigan Dream Team striker Ross Seagram. Hard-working Chris Wilkins and playmaker Ethan Lincoln, both from Massachusetts, should also bolster the attack.
Efficient two-way player Justin Facer and versatile Sal Sapienza will upgrade the Black Bear midfield.