It's been five years since the Maine Black Bears, one of college hockey's perennial powers, have seen the NCAA tournament, but now they're back with a bang.
Led by the top three scorers in Hockey East, Spencer Abbott, Joey Diamond and Brian Flynn, Maine has the firepower to match its first-round opponent, 2011 National Champion Minnesota Duluth. The Maine power play ranked second in the nation behind Harvard this season, converting at an impressive 26.9 percent mark.
The only question is whether or not they will have Abbott. College hockey's leading scorer (20 goals and 41 assists for 61 points) was injured after taking an elbow to the head in the third period of Maine's 5-3 Hockey East semifinal win over Boston University. He missed the loss in the conference final to Boston College and is listed as questionable for the opening weekend of the NCAA's.
The Black Bears are still a good team without Abbott, but it's tough to win a game or two without your leading scorer.
For more on the road to the Frozen Four in Tampa, stick with our 2012 NCAA hockey tournament StoryStream.