Back to Class: There’s something wrong in Maine

We’re taking you “Back To Class” for our roundup of the weekend’s action in college hockey. Look for more college hockey on NBCSN Friday, November 16 at 7:30 p.m. ET as Cornell takes on Harvard. 

There’s something very wrong with the Maine Black Bears.

Last season, they were an NCAA tournament team with a Hobey Baker finalist in forward Spencer Abbott. While Abbott is gone, fellow big scorer Joey Diamond is back again this season but coach Tim Whitehead’s team is very much in the dumper.

After getting dumped by No. 1 Boston College on Friday 4-2, Maine was shutout 4-0 by their hated rivals from New Hampshire dropping their record to an abysmal 1-8-0. Maine’s lone win? A 4-3 decision over Army in the Icebreaker Tournament — the same Army team who was beaten soundly by Penn State 5-0.

Maine’s problems might be too many to count right now. Junior goalie Dan Sullivan is off to a miserable start and backups junior Martin Ouellette (Columbus) and freshman Matt Morris have been worse. They’re 1/44 on the power play so far this season (2.3%) a rate that’s miserable at any level.

As for Diamond? The good news is he leads the team in scoring. The bad news? He has just one goal and three assists. If Maine doesn’t start fixing things soon, they could wind up missing the Hockey East playoffs, never mind the NCAAs.

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Series of the weekend: Boston University and North Dakota faced off in Grand Forks and made it worthwhile splitting the weekend set. North Dakota took down the Terriers on Friday night 4-2 while BU turned it back around on the formerly Fighting Sioux by the same score on Saturday. Can we see more inter-conference stuff like this, please?

Upset of the weekend: Give it up to MSU-Mankato for taking down the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Saturday night scoring a 5-3 win over the No. 2 team in the country.

Zengerle out: Wisconsin will be without big scorer Mark Zengerle for five-to-six weeks with a broken finger. The Badgers have sputtered to start the season and this won’t help.

2014 Regionals: If you’re planning way ahead for the 2014 NCAA tournament, you’ll need to book a hotel in either St. Paul, Worcester, Bridgeport, Cincinnati to do it. Interesting seeing the NCAA go back to Cincy after having nightmarish issues there in 1996. Now the committee will hope Miami University can earn a spot to make it their home for the weekend.

(Photo: CollegeHockeyInc.com)

Looking back at the Blackhawks’ Scott Foster game

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With the 2019-20 NHL season on hold we are going to take an occasional look back at some notable “this day in hockey history” moments. Today, Scott Foster gets to play a game for the Chicago Blackhawks. 

Before there was David Ayres with the Carolina Hurricanes, there was Scott Foster with the Chicago Blackhawks.

It was two years ago Sunday that Foster, an accountant by day, was forced into action as the emergency goalie against the Winnipeg Jets.

He stopped all seven shots he faced in 14 minutes of ice-time to help the Blackhawks hold on for a 6-2 win. You can see the highlights of his performance in the video above.

At the time of Foster’s appearance the entire thing was pretty unheard of because the NHL hadn’t really seen an appearance like this — a non-professional player forced into a game — in the modern era.

It all happened because of a series of goaltending injuries that left the Blackhawks shorthanded at the position. Chicago signed Foster to an amateur tryout contract the night before the game due to injuries to Corey Crawford and Anton Forsberg. He was supposed to serve as the backup to rookie Collin Delia as he made his NHL debut. Everything was going as planned until Delia was also injured early in the the third period, forcing Foster into the game.

His performance earned him No. 1 star honors for the game.

Because the Blackhawks were already comfortably ahead when he entered the game he did not get credit for the win. It was probably the biggest highlight of the season for the Blackhawks as they missed the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade.

At the time Foster’s appearance and performance was mostly celebrated and treated as the feel-good story that it was.

But when Ayres had to enter a game for the Hurricanes this season — and ended up being the winning goalie against the Toronto Maple Leafs — there was a very vocal minority that thought it was an embarrassment for the league and that, maybe, the emergency goalie protocol needed to be changed. It was eventually decided that no change needed to be made. Even with two instances in the past couple of years it is still a very rare occurrence that needs a very specific set of circumstances to actually happen.

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.

Olympic hockey on NBC: 2018 women’s gold medal game

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Hockey Week in America continues Sunday with the unforgettable Olympic women’s gold medal game in 2018.

NBC will present the women’s gold medal game at the 2018 Olympics between Team USA and Canada, won by the Americans in a 3-2 shootout in PyeongChang. With the victory, the women’s ice hockey team claimed its second ever Olympic gold medal and ended the Canadians streak of four straight gold medals.

Kenny Albert, AJ Mleczko and Pierre McGuire called the gold medal game in PyeongChang.

You can catch a replay of the 2018 women’s Olympics gold medal game Sunday on NBC at 1 p.m. ET or watch the stream here.

SUNDAY NIGHT SCHEDULE
• Maple Leafs vs. Bruins (Game 7, Round 1, 2013 playoffs) – 8 p.m. ET on NBCSN
• Golden Knights vs. Sharks (Game 7, Round 1, 2019 playoffs) – 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN
• Kings vs. Blackhawks (Game 7, Western Conference Final, 2014 playoffs) – 12 a.m. ET on NBCSN

More information about NBC Sports’ Hockey Week in America can be found here.

Capitals vs. Penguins on NBCSN: Kuznetsov’s overtime series clincher

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Hockey Week in America continues Saturday with memorable playoff performances in the Sidney Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin rivalry.

In 2018, the Capitals and Penguins met in Round 2 for the third straight postseason. Pittsburgh won the previous two series en route to back-to-back Stanley Cup titles. But this time Washington would have its revenge. Evgeny Kuznetsov would score in overtime of Game 6 to help the Capitals advance as they went on to win their first championship in franchise history.

You can catch Game 6 of the 2018 Penguins vs. Capitals playoff game Saturday night on NBCSN beginning at 12:30 a.m. ET or watch the stream here.

SATURDAY NIGHT SCHEDULE
• Capitals vs. Penguins (Game 6, Round 2, 2018 playoffs) – 12:30 a.m. on NBCSN

More information about NBC Sports’ Hockey Week in America can be found here.

Capitals vs. Penguins on NBCSN: Bonino Bonino Bonino!

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Hockey Week in America continues Saturday with memorable playoff performances in the Sidney Crosby vs. Alex Ovechkin rivalry.

The Capitals needed a win to force Game 7 in Round 2 of the 2016 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Facing the Penguins yet again, the clawed back from a 3-1 third period deficit to force overtime. It was there, however, that Pittsburgh once again topped their Metro Division rivals. This time it was Nick Bonino breaking their hearts to put the Penguins on a path to the franchise’s fourth Stanley Cup title.

You can catch Game 6 of the 2016 Penguins vs. Capitals playoff game Saturday on NBCSN beginning at 10 p.m. ET or watch the stream here.

SATURDAY NIGHT SCHEDULE
• Capitals vs. Penguins (Game 6, Round 2, 2016 playoffs) – 10 p.m. on NBCSN
• Capitals vs. Penguins (Game 6, Round 2, 2018 playoffs) – 12:30 a.m. on NBCSN

More information about NBC Sports’ Hockey Week in America can be found here.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.