Maine Hockey Journal

Maine’s top offensive threats try to avoid sophomore slump

Orono, ME – Last year, the University of Maine Black Bears relied on a pair of freshmen to provide the offense. Now Gustav Nyquist and Brian Flynn look to build on their freshman success and avoid the dreaded sophomore slump.

“I have great teammates out there and they will help me a lot,” said Maine forward Gustav Nyquist. “They helped me last year, without them I can’t do anything.”

The Halmstad, Sweden native had 13 goals and 19 assists to lead the team. He was also named to Hockey East’s All-Rookie team.

Maine’s second leading scorer last season just behind Nyquist was Brian Flynn, a Lynnfield Massachusetts native. The former New Hampshire Junior Monarch had 13 goals and 12 assists in 38 games.

Flynn hasn’t thought about a sophomore slump.

“All positive thoughts,” he said. “I feel like I have a lot of confidence coming into the year, hopefully it will show on the ice.”

Maine’s head coach Tim Whitehead is impressed what the dynamic duo has done over the summer.

“Knowing their personalities, both those guys are great competitors,” said Whitehead. “They worked really hard this summer. Brian and Gustav have really added a lot of muscle on their frames.”

Nyquist spent a portion of the summer at the Detroit Red Wings’ prospect camp.

“It was great,” said Nyquist “I learned a lot and it was mostly prospects there. I felt good about it; I met pretty much all the guys and all the coaches. It was a good experience for me.”

The Red Wings are impressed on the way Nyquist has developed.

“They were happy with the way I was playing last year,” he said. “I still have to continue to keep getting better and keep getting stronger to play with those guys.”

With the current NHL Collective Bargaining Agreement, teams look sign and their college and junior aged prospects as early as possible. Detroit tends to let their players develop and that’s what they are planning to do.

“I think they do a great job with their prospects,” Nyquist added. “They let us develop here; it’s a perfect situation for me over here. I get to play a lot and I can get stronger during the week because we don’t have that many games. We only have 40 games per season.”

Brian Flynn hasn’t focused on any personal goals this season.

“Team goals are to earn a bid to the NCAA tournament and home ice in the Hockey East playoffs,” said Flynn. “I don’t set any personal goals. If the team goals come through, I am sure the personal goals will come through.”

The Maine Black Bears open the 2009-2010 season next weekend in Schenectady, NY with a two-game series against Union College.

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