Black Bear freshman defensemen making an impact while learning college hockey

Posted Nov. 14, 2013, at 11:35 a.m.
UMaine freshman hockey player Eric Schurhamer
UMaine freshman hockey player Eric Schurhamer Buy Photo
UMaine freshman hockey player Dan Renouf
UMaine freshman hockey player Dan Renouf Buy Photo

ORONO, Maine — One of them is from Ontario and the other is from Minnesota.

One is 6-foot-2, 205 pounds and the other is 5-11, 195.

They are not only freshman defensemen at the University of Maine, Daniel Renouf and Eric Schurhamer are also defense partners and roommates off the ice.

Making the transition from junior hockey to Division I has been challenging, but they have made an impressive adjustment.

They will look to continue their progress at 7 p.m. Friday when the 4-4-1 Black Bears, 1-2-1 in Hockey East, entertain longtime rival Boston University (4-5, 2-2).

St. Paul, Minn., native Schurhamer, the smaller of the two, registered his first point with a power-play goal in Saturday night’s 4-3 loss to Vermont while Renouf, who is from Pickering, Ontario, has two assists in nine games.

It can be risky to play two freshman defensemen together but it has worked.

“They make good decisions with the puck and they keep it simple,” said Maine senior left wing Mark Anthoine. “Schurhamer has been great at the point and had a nice goal against Vermont. Renouf is very talented.”

“They’re still learning. But they’ve adapted well and will continue to get better over their four years, I’ll guarantee that,” senior right wing Jon Swavely added.

Their games are similar.

“We both like to move the puck and jump up into the rush when necessary to help out the forwards because they help us out,” said Schurhamer.

“Because we have pretty similar games, we feed off each other. If one of us gets up into the rush, the other will stay back. We communicate well. It works out for both of us,” said Renouf. “We’re both offensive-minded but we know our defensive roles for sure.”

“He’s got some size on me so he can push people around a little better than I can,” grinned Schurhamer.

They said being roommates has helped them on the ice.

“We get along off the ice and that translates well on the ice. We help each other in all aspects … on the ice, off the ice and in the classroom. It’s going well,” said Renouf.

They said the the primary challenges during their transition have involved staying on their toes, moving the puck quickly and realizing they can’t afford to take a shift off because every opposing line is a handful.

They have been satisfied with their progress but know they have a long way to go.

And they are looking forward to the game with BU.

“We have to crash the net and get a lot of shots,” said Schurhamer.

Boston University has a five-game unbeaten streak at Alfond Arena (3-0-2) and is 8-1-3 over the last 12 meetings in Orono.

Like Maine, the Terriers have a new coach in former BU defenseman David Quinn, who replaced retired 40-year head coach Jack Parker.

Red Gendron is Maine’s first-year head coach, replacing the fired Tim Whitehead.

Maine continues to be led in scoring by Anthoine (5 goals, 2 assists), Cam Brown (1 and 6), Blaine Byron (3 and 3) and Ben Hutton (3 and 2) along with goalie Martin Ouellette (4-4-1, 2.31 goals-against average, .921 save percentage). BU, which has scored one goal in each of its five losses, features defenseman Ahti Oksanen (2 and 7) and Garrett Noonan (2 and 6) along with center Cason Hohmann (2 and 5) and right wing Robbie Baillargeon (2 & 5). Sean Maguire (1-3, 2.03, .941) and Matt O’Connor (3-2, 3.02, .920) have shared the goaltending.

Freshman center Nick Roberto, who decommitted from Maine after Whitehead was fired, has 2 and 2.

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