The University of Maine men’s hockey team is adding a defenseman from the Czech Republic for the second semester.
Jakub Sirota, who was playing for the Lone Star Brahmas of the North American Hockey League, will be eligible to play when the Black Bears return to action Dec. 28-29 for a two-game series at Princeton University.
The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Sirota posted four goals and 26 assists for the Brahmas over 57 games the last two seasons. He registered six assists in 24 games this season.
During the 2016-2017 season, he played for the Cedar Rapids RoughRiders of the United States (Junior) Hockey League and had four goals and three assists in 39 games.
UMaine was down a defenseman after junior Patrick Holway left school for personal reasons in October prior to the first game of the season. Holway was the team’s No. 2 scorer among defensemen a year ago with six goals and 13 assists in 33 games including 2 & 3 on the power play.
“[Sirota] was scheduled to come here next fall but we’ve decided to bring him in at the end of the first semester to augment our lineup,” UMaine head coach Red Gendron said.
“He’s a very smart and efficient player,” Gendron said. “There’s no wasted motion. He’s an excellent puck mover and he will be able to defend well. He’s smooth, he’s long and he has a good stick.”
Gendron said Sirota can help the team on the power play and the penalty kill and his playing time will be dictated by how quickly he can transition to the greater pace of hockey at the college level compared to Junior hockey.
Sirota, who turns 20 on Dec. 20, has played for the Czech Republic National Team at the Under-17, U-18, U-19 and U-20 levels.
The Black Bears (5-7-2 overall, 3-3-2 Hockey East), have used the same six defensemen all season: Seniors Rob Michel (2 goals, 3 assists), Sam Becker (0 & 3) and Keith Muehlbauer (0 & 1), sophomores Brady Keeper (2 & 4) and Alexis Binner (0 & 5), and freshman Simon Butala (0 & 0). Binner is the only one who hasn’t played in all 14 games, as he has appeared in 13.
Sophomore Cam Spicer (0 & 1) has dressed for four games and sophomore Veli-Matti Tiuraniemi, who had 3 & 5 in 26 games a year ago, hasn’t played yet this season because of a lower body injury but is close to returning.