The Red Gendron era takes another step as the first year head coach leads the UMaine hockey team into a first round playoff game against Merrimack tonight at Alfond Arena.The Bears missed out on a bye after getting swept at home by Providence last weekend. The new Hockey East playoff format has the bottom six teams in the standings playing a one game elimination prior to next weeks quarterfinals.

Maine and Merrimack met at Alfond just three weeks ago with the Bears taking both games by scores of 2-1 and 3-2. This will be the third time in the last four years the Bears and Warriors have met in the playoffs.

Devin Shore leads the Bears in scoring with 13 goals and 27 assists for 40 points, while defenseman Ben Hutton has 13 goals, tying a school record for goals in a season by a defenseman.

The puck drops at Alfond Arena at 7pm and school officials say plenty of tickets are still available to check out Maine's final home game of the season. The winner of this game will advance to the best-of-three quarterfinal round. Teams will be re-seeded after this weekend with the lowest remaining seed playing #1 Boston College.