Due to the absence of senior captain Cory Larose, a pair of freshmen, Tommy Reimann and Michael Schutte, have had their roles significantly increased for Thursday’s NCAA Frozen Four semifinal against the University of North Dakota at the Providence Civic Center.
And they say they are ready for the challenge.
Larose received a butt-ending major and game disqualification in Maine’s 5-2 quarterfinal win over Michigan on Sunday and must sit out a game.
Maine coach Shawn Walsh appealed the mandatory one-game suspension of his scoring leader to the NCAA but the suspension was upheld Wednesday.
Reimann will move from right wing on a line with center Lucas Lawson and left winger Matthias Trattnig to left wing on Larose’s line with Ben Guite and Niko Dimitrakos. Schutte, a defenseman-forward, will inherit Reimann’s spot on the line will play the right wing with Lawson and Trattnig.
“Those are big shoes to fill but I’ll do the best I can,” said Reimann who has played one game on a line with Guite against Ohio State on Oct. 31. He hasn’t played with Dimitrakos.
“I’m not going to change my game. I’m just going to stick to basics. Having an extra week of practice will help out a lot. I’ll get some chemistry going with them,” said Reimann. “Ben has been scoring a lot of goals and Niko picks up his game so much in the playoffs. They’re pretty easy to play with. Hopefully, I’ll fit in.”
Reimann, who missed more than three months due to post-concussion syndrome, has two goals and 11 assists in 20 games, including a goal and five assists in his last six.
“Tommy has looked pretty good. He fits right in. We’ll be fine,” said Dimitrakos.
Schutte will be making his debut at right wing. He has played 14 games on defense; four at center and four more at left wing. He has two goals and seven assists in 22 games.
Schutte said he was uncomfortable at forward when Maine coach Shawn Walsh first moved him up from defense because he has been a defenseman throughout his career.
“But I have gotten used to it. I should be ready. The practices here are just like games. They prepare you well,” said Schutte. “I’m just going to get the puck low [in the offensive zone] and try not to turn it over. I think we’ll be a down-low line. We’ll work their defensemen and try to get some scoring opportunities coming out of the corners.”
Wingers have defensive responsibilities in Maine’s various systems but not as many as the centers.
Lawson said Schutte has “pretty good hockey sense and it will be like having a third defenseman on the ice. That’ll free up Matthias and me. So it should be all right.”
Reimann is one of the point men on the power play and Schutte has also manned the point with the man advantage.
Niko Dimitrakos is healing
Dimitrakos, who reinjured his shoulder and thigh in the victory over Michigan, said the extra week off between the regionals and the Frozen Four will be extremely beneficial to him.
“It might have been a problem if we played this week. I would have tried to block it out and fight through it,” said Dimitrakos, who has 11 goals and 16 assists in 31 games. “But this way I can get some rest and continue the treatments from Paul [trainer Paul Culina]. That has helped a lot.”