Bears’ small player making big impact

Posted Jan. 06, 2010, at 7:59 p.m.
Adam Shemansky   UMaine hockey
Adam Shemansky UMaine hockey

ORONO, Maine — University of Maine hockey coach Tim Whitehead wasn’t sure what to expect from freshman winger Adam Shemansky this season.

Shemansky didn’t know what to expect either.

“I thought I’d be sitting a lot, watching from the stands,” said Shemansky. “I was just hoping to fight for a spot.”

He has done much more than that.

Shemansky is tied for seventh in the country in power- play goals and tops among freshmen with seven.

He has also dished out three power-play assists, making him one of the key components on the nation’s No. 1-ranked power play (29.8 percent efficiency).

Overall, he has nine goals and six assists while playing in all 19 games.

Those are impressive statistics for a guy who stands just 5-foot-7, according to the Maine media guide.

“I’m actually 5-foot-5 and a half. Five-foot-6 on a good day,” grinned Shemansky.

But being the smallest guy on his team is nothing new for Shemansky.

“Every year I’m usually the smallest guy in the entire league,” said Shemansky.

But he compensates with his grit and skill.

“He’s like a little gnat out there,” said senior center David DeKastrozza. “He and Joey Diamond get thrown around a lot but they always get up and find a way to put the puck in the net.”

“I like to think I’m tough,” said Shemansky. “I try to pay the price in the corners. I don’t shy away from anyone.”

“He does things that are real critical for a small guy,” said Northeastern University coach Greg Cronin. “He finds open space, he has good poise with the puck and when he feels pressure, he spins off checks.

“He does a nice job. He has very good instincts in the offensive zone and knows how to get himself into good position. He’s very clever on the power play. He may not be the fastest guy out there but he knows where to go and where the puck is going,” added Cronin.

“My speed is my biggest weakness. I try to make up for it with my anticipation and hockey sense,” said Shemansky who, on previous teams, has been more of a setup man on the power play.

“I’m just happy to contribute to the team in any way possible,” Shemansky said.

“He has great vision,” said Maine junior defenseman Josh Van Dyk. “He can make a pass to anybody. He reads plays so well. All of his goals are from in-tight. He’s exciting to watch when he’s around the net.”

The Robbinsville, N.J. native’s love affair with hockey began at an early age.

“My dad [Dean] played hockey and introduced me to the game. I’ve never taken my skates off since,” said Shemansky, who has played both left and right wing.

“He has been tremendous,” said Whitehead. “He has had to fight for everything he has received in the game. This is no exception. He has had to earn his spot and he has done that from day one with his attitude, focus and execution. I love the way he plays.”

Shemansky had 18 goals and 38 assists in 33 games for the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs last year and said playing for Monarchs general manager/coach Sean Tremblay made him a “more well-rounded player.”

Having former Monarch linemates Kyle Beattie and Matt Mangene with him this year “has definitely made the transition much easier.”

He chose Maine over other schools because the Maine coaching staff “showed great confidence in me.”

He is “very happy” with his decision because “we’ve got a good group of guys, a great coaching staff and the makings of a pretty good team.”

But he isn’t taking anything for granted.

“I’m pretty happy with the way I’ve been playing but I’m not going to get complacent. I know it’s still an uphill battle,” said Shemansky, the sixth leading all-time schoolboy scorer in New Jersey with 278 points.

Maine vs. UNB set Jan. 19

The University of Maine men’s hockey exhibition against New Brunswick has been rescheduled for Tuesday, Jan. 19 at Alfond Arena in Orono at 7 p.m. The game was originally scheduled for last weekend, but was postponed due to a snowstorm.

Tickets for the original game on Jan. 2 will be valid for the game on Jan. 19.

UM plans MLK activities

University of Maine student-athletes are inviting students in grades 3-5 and their families to center court in the Bangor Mall on Monday, Jan. 18 from 1-5 p.m. for a special Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. Black Bear student-athletes will be joining children in four different stations in an effort to keep King’s legacy alive.

UMaine student-athletes will be volunteering at the event and will assist with leading stations and serving as group leaders as well as helping plan and organize the event. Students will be invited to participate in four different stations which will end with painting a mural, illustrating what the students learned and experienced during the day. The mural will be displayed at area schools throughout the community.

Each of the four stations will last approximately 30-40 minutes with students rotating when their station is complete. The stations will consist of group discussions, storytelling, sculpting activities, and team-building games.

Children are asked to please bring an adult with them.

Those seeking more information may contact Brandi Rideout at brandi.rideout@umit.maine.edu or at 207-581-1828.

lmahoney@bangordailynews.net

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