Jeff's Take: College Hockey Season

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ORONO, Maine (WABI) - The College Hockey season is upon us. Jeff Solari shares his high hopes for the season...

I'm excited. We are less than a week away from dropping the puck on the new UMaine hockey season!

The program seems to be back! Most experts pick the Black Bears to finish in the top half of Hockey East. But, I expect more. This is the year Maine gets back to the NCAA tournament! Or, at least it better be.

We are entering year six of the Red Gendron era in Orono. The rebuild needs to be over. Time to win is now...seriously.

Do you think North Carolina basketball or Texas football would give a coach 6 years to rebuild their flagship program? No way.

But that's what Maine has done, and its time for their faith in Red to pay off.

The team is trending up. 18 wins last year and a first round playoff win.

Those 18 wins are the most in Gendron's 5 years at the helm.

Did you know Tim Whitehead averaged 18 wins a year his last four years? He got fired.

Gendron has brought in good players and he has a ton of returning talent.

So, high expectations for a coach, who has been paid more than a million dollars by UMaine so far ,are more than fair.

I expect the revival to continue and for Maine to win more than 18 games this year.

I expect a trip to Boston for the Hockey East Frozen Four and I expect Maine to play in the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2012. Anything less in year 6 of a rebuild is unacceptable.

That's my take, I'm Jeff Solari.