Gophers and Bears clouded by arena’s fog

by Sarah Mitchell

A first-class arena doesn’t always go with national championship territory. At least that’s the case for the Maine men’s hockey team.
In a season-opening, two-game series against the Bears (2-0-0 overall), Minnesota was in a fog, literally. And that isn’t referring to the Gophers (0-2-0) losses on Saturday and Sunday.
Alfond Arena’s air conditioning system posed a problem over the weekend. The air conditioner broke down in time for the season opener which, combined with warm fall temperatures, caused a fog to form and hover over the rink late in the third period on Sunday.
The fog was so thick that a minute-long delay of the game became necessary. Team benches were cleared and the players skated around the ice in a warm-up fashion — circling from blue line to behind the goal — to clear the air while the fans started the wave.
“At times when you’d look down the ice you’d have to look up in the air and down because the fog would stay low,” said Gophers freshman goaltender Pete Samargia. “At times you couldn’t see the red light.”
All in the Family
Bears coach Shawn Walsh knows how to recruit within the family. In his 16th season at Maine, Walsh is in the beginning stages of coaching his third and final Kariya brother.
The younger brother of NHL players Paul (Anaheim) and Steve (Vancouver), Martin lived up to the family legacy in his collegiate debut. Martin scored two goals against the Gophers and was credited with an assist.
The forward’s showing this past weekend leaves Walsh with just one question. What’s he doing when Martin’s run with the program ends?
“Looking for nephews and nieces,” Walsh said.
Local ties
Bears freshman Tom Reimann has come a long way, literally. The 5-foot-10 winger is the only player on Maine’s roster hailing from Minnesota.
A Blaine native, Reimann said he “really didn’t slip through the Gophers’ hands because they didn’t look at me much.” Realizing this, Reimann went on to play juniors and was scouted by Maine while playing in Montana.
Reimann is in his second season with the Bears after redshirting during their national title run last year. On Saturday, Reimann assisted on Maine’s first goal of the season. Bears winger Barrett Heisten was also credited on the first period goal, scored by his brother Chris.
“Coming into the season there were a lot of expectations for me,” Reimann said. “I was a little nervous, but I played well (Saturday). I struggled (Sunday).”
Reimann also said strength was a key thing to work on.
“I got thrown off the puck a couple of times,” Reimann said. “For the most part I thought I played well.”

Sarah Mitchell covers men’s hockey and welcomes comments at [email protected]