ORONO, Maine — After sitting out for a year after transferring from Brown University, University of Maine hockey center Tim Doherty is making up for lost time.
Doherty, a redshirt sophomore, goes into a two-game series at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute tied for second on the team in scoring (12 points) and goals (six) with six assists, one point behind sophomore left wing Mitch Fossier.
Doherty is in the midst of a five-game points streak (4 goals, 3 assists) and he has scored a goal in each of his last three games.
“Hopefully, I can keep it rolling and we can keep winning,” said Doherty, a native of Portsmouth, Rhode Island.
His success comes as no surprise to UMaine junior goalie Rob McGovern, who played youth hockey with Doherty.
“He always done this his whole life. It’s nothing new, especially if you’ve followed him since he was young. You know what he’s capable of,” said McGovern.
He has proven to be a valuable all-situation player, competes on the power play and the penalty kill, and owns two power-play goals.
Doherty said being used in all situations is, “never a bad thing. You can always learn from your experiences.”
“He has earned those opportunities. The bottom line is, he has scored quite a bit for us, particularly lately. He has generated offense and has played really well all year long,” said UMaine head coach Red Gendron. “He is a gritty player. He has a real nice skill set and very good hockey sense.”
McGovern urged him to come to UMaine after he left Brown.
“I was excited when he finally committed,” said McGovern. “He’s a great guy. Everyone loves to be around him. He works hard and he’s obviously a great hockey player.”
The 6-foot, 180-pound Doherty was able to practice with the team last season while sitting out his transfer year.
“Last year was tough … practicing every day without the games,” said Doherty. “I couldn’t have been more excited for this year. It was a good first half and we’re looking to have an even better second one.”
He said he didn’t feel rusty coming into the campaign after a season without playing in a game.
“You skate a ton during the year obviously and then the summer is big. I felt fine coming into this season and then I’ve gotten more confident throughout the year,” said Doherty.
He has been pleased with his season and with the team’s first half.
“It’s a real close group. Whoever I’m on a line with, it’s pretty easy. It seems that all four lines have been able to produce which makes it really good for us,” said Doherty.
He said the atmosphere at Alfond Arena was one of the primary reasons he came to UMaine.
“I also really liked the coaching staff and I knew a couple of guys up here, like (McGovern) and it was a real good group of guys,” said Doherty.
“He has been huge for our team,” said UMaine sophomore center and co-captain Chase Pearson. “He is one of our leading scorers and has been a great guy in the locker room as well.
“He’s a good defensive player and he very skilled in the offensive zone. He has a good mind with the puck and when you put all those things together, that’s what Tim Doherty is,” said Pearson.
Pearson and Gendron said both Doherty and Quinnipiac University transfer Canon Pieper worked extremely hard in practice last season even though they knew they couldn’t play in games.
“It was as if they were competing for a spot (in the next game) and that gave us the best chance to win,” said Pearson. “For them to do that and to be sharp every day it takes a lot of mental focus and it is a testament to them that they were able to do that for a full year.”
“They worked their tails off during a difficult year for them. They put themselves in position to have whatever measure of success they are each enjoying right now,” said Gendron.
Doherty said there is still plenty he must work on.
“Defensively, I want to improve on my one-on-one down low (in the defensive zone). I want to a little tougher and harder to beat,” said Doherty. “I want to do anything I can to help us keep winning.”
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Doherty is a first cousin to former Boston College defenseman Ted Doherty, who gave him some encouraging words during the Christmas vacation.
“He said we should never sell ourselves short. He said we have a real good team. Obviously, he has been through it so he knows,” said Tim Doherty.