Eduards Tralmaks, a left wing for the Chicago Steel and an incoming University of Maine freshman, has earned Clark Cup Most Valuable Player honors in the United States Hockey League.
The Steel won their first USHL title with a 2-1 overtime victory over the Sioux City Musketeers in front of a sellout crowd of 6,309 at the Tyson Events Center in Sioux City, Iowa, on Tuesday night.
Tralmaks, who is from Riga, Latvia, tied the game in the second period with his 10th playoff goal. That ties the USHL record for most playoff goals.
The previous Clark Cup MVPs who wound up at UMaine were goalies: Matt Morris with Dubuque in 2011 and Matt Lundin with Sioux Falls in 2007.
The 6-foot-3, 187-pound Tralmaks had two assists to go with his 10 goals in 14 playoff games. He registered 11 goals and 16 assists in 46 games during the regular season. He missed some games due to injury.
The 20-year-old played for the Boston Junior Bandits during the 2015-2016 season and posted 28 goals and 27 assists in 40 games.
UMaine head coach Red Gendron said being named the Clark MVP is a significant accomplishment, since a high percentage of USHL players wind up playing Division I hockey.
“He is a big, strong forward with tremendous hands who is good in the high-traffic areas,” said Gendron. “He’s a very good player. We have high expectations for him.”
Goal scoring has been a problem for the Black Bears as they haven’t been able to crack the top 25 in scoring during the last four seasons. UMaine was 55th among 60 teams in the country two years ago, averaging only two goals per game, but climbed to 33rd last winter when they averaged 2.83 goals per contest.
Leading scorers Blaine Byron (18 goals, 23 assists) and Cam Brown (4 & 35) have graduated but the next seven point-producers will return.
Tralmaks is one of eight incoming freshmen. The class includes four forwards, three defensemen and a goalie.
They will try to help the Black Bears improve upon an 11-21-4 record (5-15-2 in Hockey East).