Eduards Tralmaks said he wanted to get back to doing what he does best in the University of Maine’s series against Omaha and that is being a gritty power forward.
That meant getting his 6-foot-4, 210-pound frame to the front of the opponents’ net. The junior right wing did just that in Saturday afternoon’s 3-2 victory over Omaha, swatting home two rebounds, including the game-winner with just 2:44 left, at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland.
UMaine improved to 10-8-4 while Omaha fell to 8-9-3.
The teams played to a 2-2 overtime tie on Friday night in Orono.
Tralmaks explained that he had been drifting away from the net front in recent games.
“I need to drive to the net. That’s the kind of player I am,” said Tralmaks, who knocked home the rebound of a Mitch Fossier shot to score his second consecutive game-winner in Portland.
“I love this rink,” said Tralmaks, a native of Riga, Latvia. He figured in all three goals with an assist to go with his two goals.
On Saturday’s game-winner, Tralmaks said he got a piece of Fossier’s shot from the point.
“I chipped it down and it hit the goalie [Austin Roden]. It came back to me and I put it home,” said Tralmaks, whose goal was his team-leading 11th of the season.
Tim Doherty also assisted on the goal.
UMaine head coach Red Gendron said Tralmaks’ net-front presence is what makes him special.
Sophomore defenseman John Schuldt had opened the scoring for Omaha at the 14:50 mark of the first period. It was his first career goal in his 44th game.
Senior left wing Sam Rennaker equalized at the 13:19 mark of the second on a breakaway after coming out of the penalty box, his third of the season, and Tralmaks supplied UMaine with its first lead of the series 3:18 later.
Omaha senior left wing Tristan Keck tied it with his fourth goal at the 16:29 mark.
Junior Jeremy Swayman finished with 32 saves for the Black Bears and freshman Roden wound up with 24. Roden was starting in place of Isaiah Saville, who was on his way back from the World Junior Championships in the Czech Republic, where he played for the United States team.
Swayman, a fourth-round draft pick of the Boston Bruins, now has 726 saves which leads Division I. His .936 save percentage ranks eighth.
Omaha went into Saturday’s game with 18 goals over its previous four contests.
UMaine’s top line of Doherty (2 assists) between Fossier (3 assists) and Tralmaks (2 goals, 1 assist) combined for two goals and six assists.
“That line was obviously huge for us,” Gendron said. “We got contributions from other people but they were the story.”
Fossier now has 21 assists which is tied for second in the country.
“We played better than we did on Friday night. We played a full 60 minutes instead of 40,” Gendron said, referring to UMaine’s sluggish first period on Friday.
Schuldt scored off a 3-on-2 rush following a UMaine turnover. Ryan Brushett and Kevin Conley earned the assists.
Rennaker’s breakaway was set up by Fossier and Tralmaks as he jammed home his own rebound.
Tralmaks converted the rebound of a Doherty shot before Keck scored from the low slot off assists from Martin Sundberg and Nolan Sullivan.
UMaine killed off all six Omaha power plays to climb to eighth in the nation in penalty-killing (88 percent). Omaha killed off three UMaine power plays.
The Black Bears host the United States National Team Development Program’s Under-18 team at 7 p.m. on Jan. 11 for an exhibition game.