Eduards Tralmaks endured a subpar sophomore hockey season last winter. The University of Maine left winger posted only eight goals and nine assists in 36 games.
The performance came after a productive freshman season during which he scored 11 goals and dished out 14 assists in 37 games.
That didn’t sit well with the native of Riga, Latvia.
“I was really disappointed, and I made a promise to myself that I would do everything I could over the summer to make sure that didn’t happen again,” he said.
He has kept that promise so far this season.
Tralmaks scored six goals through the first five games and shares the Division I lead with Cole Caulfield of the University of Wisconsin.
He takes a four-game goal-scoring streak into Friday’s 7 p.m. Hockey East game at the University of Vermont.
The 6-foot-3, 190-pound Tralmaks (3 assists), who leads 3-2 UMaine with nine points, was named the Hockey East Player of the Week after scoring three goals and assisting on two more in last weekend’s split at Quinnipiac.
Tralmaks worked out with a strength and conditioning coach in Latvia over the summer and returned to UMaine in better shape.
“My conditioning was a little bit off last season. I worked so hard over the summer,” Tralmaks said. “l wanted to come back knowing I did everything I could to be as confident as I can.”
Tralmaks said he also did a lot of running to ensure that he can go all out for an entire 50-second shift.
He has concentrated on being a power forward and attacking the net, something he got away from last year.
“Eddie is doing a real good job getting to the net,” UMaine head coach Red Gendron said. “He has a tip-in goal, a stuff [wraparound] goal and a couple of rebound goals. Five of his six goals have been scored from within 3 feet of the goal line.”
He knows that asserting himself in the “dirty areas” — directly in front of the net where there is resistance from opposing defensemen and the goaltender — will yield scoring chances.
“Me being a big guy, I’ve got to get there,” Tralmaks said. “I’ve been scoring goals from where I didn’t score before.”
That is a contrast to last season, when he attempted to utilize skating and shooting skills at the expense of exerting a physical influence.
Gendron said Tralmaks also is capable of scoring from 15 to 20 feet out, as he did in Saturday’s 4-3 loss to Quinnipiac.
“He has a pro shot,” Gendron said.
“He is a big body, and he uses his size to his advantage. He’s got skill, too,” UMaine junior goalie Jeremy Swayman said.
“He can pass and make plays as well as shoot the puck pretty well,” he added.
Tralmaks is joined on a line by senior right winger Mitch Fossier and either senior Tim Doherty or freshman Ben Poisson at center. He is focused on contributing however he can, following in the footsteps of a former teammate.
“I want to play like Chase Pearson did last year,” Tralmaks said.
Pearson, who passed up his senior year to sign with the Detroit Red Wings, was UMaine’s leading goal scorer last season with 16. He was chosen Hockey East’s best defensive forward.
Tralmaks knows the Black Bears will have their hands full with Vermont, which features All-Hockey East second-team goalie Stefanos Lekkas.
“They’re always fun to play against. If they aren’t our best rival, they’re our second best rival behind New Hampshire,” Tralmaks said. “[Lekkas] is one of a kind. He moves great and he’s aggressive. We’re going to have to shoot the puck quickly and get to the net front and put in some dirty goals.”