The buzz is back around the University of Maine men's hockey program. The No. 11 ranked Black Bears host their archrivals No. 15 New Hampshire tonight at what will be a sold out Alfond Arena, something that is becoming routine once again in Orono.

The Black Bears will look to snap a 2-game skid when they take the ice tonight after being off last weekend. Despite the idle week, Maine only fell one spot in the national rankings and are off to a 6-3-1 start to the year with wins over defending national champion Quinnipiac as well as Boston College, who was No. 1 at the time.

The program made a leap last year from the bottom of Hockey East to a top-6 finish which saw the Black Bears host a home playoff game vs. Vermont, with the Catamounts ending Maine's year earlier than Ben Barr and company would have liked.

Hockey fans in Maine have been patiently waiting for the day the two-time national champs would return to the sport's limelight. It's been 11 years since Maine last skated in the Hockey East Championship at the TD Garden or made it to the NCAA Tournament.

While we don't want to get too far ahead of ourselves, after all, tonight's game will still be just the 11th of the season, the signs are pointing in the right direction for the continued rise of the program under Coach Barr.

What result would make the 2023-24 season a success in your eyes?

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