The University of Maine men’s hockey team has landed its first player from North Carolina.
Goalie Sean Romeo of Cary, N.C., who plays for the Youngstown Phantoms (Ohio) in the prestigious United States Hockey League, has verbally committed to attend Maine beginning in the 2014-’15 season.
Current Black Bear goalies Martin Ouellette and Dan Sullivan are juniors and are scheduled to graduate following the 2013-’14 season. Matt Morris is currently a freshman.
Romeo is 15-12 with a 2.91 goals-against average and a .904 save percentage. He has won six of his last eight decisions and has allowed 15 goals in those eight games.
He will return to the Phantoms next season.
Romeo said he will be a scholarship player at UMaine.
“I’m really excited. I talked to a few schools but Maine really caught my attention,” said the 18-year-old Romeo. “It has a great hockey program, it’s a great school and a great reputation for producing [NHL] goaltenders. It’s a good fit.”
He also said the fact Maine is losing two goalies was a factor.
“And I played a little [against] Matt Morris last year. He’s a good goalie, and I’m looking forward to being on his team,” said Romeo.
The 6-foot, 166-pound Romeo is from a non-traditional hockey area but fell in love with the sport at a young age.
“I was a soccer player when I was real young and they played hockey next to the soccer field. We watched it and I asked my mom if I could play [hockey]. I played roller hockey and ice hockey,” said Romeo. “And I loved being the goalie.”
Youngstown coach and general manager Anthony Noreen said Romeo is having a great season.
“He is an extremely technical goaltender,” said Noreen. “He’s one of those guys who makes every save look easy because he’s always in such good position. He takes up a lot of net.”
He also said Romeo is very composed in the net and is a hard worker. Romeo works closely with Phantoms goalie coach Shane Clifford, who was formerly the goalie coach for the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Romeo’s coming to Maine is contingent upon his acceptance into the school and his meeting NCAA eligibility requirements.