The University of Maine hockey team’s depleted defense corps got some help this week.
Samuel Duerr, who was scheduled to join the program in the fall, has joined the team for the second semester.
The 19-year-old from Chicago had been playing for the St. Cloud Norsemen of the North American Hockey League where he tallied two goals and eight assists in 22 games.
UMaine had just seven defensemen after Dominic Dockery, a graduate student transfer from Merrimack College, Kabore Dunn and Perry Winfree left the team within the past month.
Dockery played in all 17 games and had an assist while Dunn appeared in four games and Winfree in two and neither had registered a point.
Dockery wanted to begin a pro career, Dunn was looking to return to junior hockey and Winfree was seeking to transfer to another school.
“My advisor called me and told me the situation at Maine and what was going on,” explained the 6-foot-1, 201-pound Duerr, who has also played in the British Columbia Junior Hockey League and the United States Hockey League after attending Shattuck-St. Mary’s School in Faribault, Minnesota.
“He said they were short a couple of bodies and they needed someone to come in,” said Duerr, who verbally committed to UMaine in 2020.
“It’s super exciting. It’s going to be a change of pace. It’s so much faster here. It’s going to be a change of everything but I’m up for it,” he said.
He practiced with the team for the second time on Tuesday morning and said the energy is awesome.
“Coach [Ben Barr] runs a great practice. They’re awesome to be a part of,” Duerr added.
He said his new teammates were very welcoming and that he is going to try to keep things simple.
“I want to keep the puck out of our own net. Get the puck out of the [defensive] zone. Make a good first pass,” he said. “I’m going to start from there and let the game come to me.”
Barr said Duerr has a great opportunity.
“It’s weird when players come in the middle of the year. It’s not ideal. So we appreciate that he is willing to do it,” Barr said. “He has a good stick. He will have to adapt to the speed of the game. But he’s a smart player and he comes from my high school [Shattuck-St. Mary’s] and they do a great job teaching the game.”
Barr added that he is looking to bring in four or five freshmen defensemen this fall.
Duerr will likely make his debut on Jan. 7 when UMaine hosts the University of Alaska from Fairbanks
This weekend’s series at Penn State was canceled due to COVID-19 cases at UMaine.