After spending four years patrolling the blue line for Merrimack College, University of Maine defenseman Dom Dockery will be squaring off against his former team when the winless Black Bears entertain the Warriors on Friday and Saturday nights.
Dockery said he hasn’t given much thought to facing his former team.
“I look at it as another weekend and another game. Once I’m out there, there will definitely be some emotion. I’ve got a lot of close friends on the team who I talk to on a regular basis. But I’m going to do my best for myself and my team,” Dockery said.
“Hopefully, both teams will play well and we’ll come out on top,” he added.
UMaine is 0-7-1 overall, 0-4-0 in Hockey East, while the Warriors are 4-6 and 2-5. Four of UMaine’s last five losses have been by a goal, including Saturday’s 3-2 overtime loss to UConn.
Merrimack is coming off an impressive 4-3 road win at Boston College and has played a tough schedule that includes seven games against Providence, Boston University, defending national champion UMass and Boston College.
The Warriors are coached by former Colby College and Lake Superior State head coach Scott Borek, who was also an associate head coach at New Hampshire and Providence. He is in his fourth season behind the Merrimack bench.
Dockery appeared in 108 games during his four seasons as Merrimack and registered three goals and 16 assists. He is looking for his first point as a Black Bear.
“It would be nice to score my first goal as a Black Bear this weekend but I’m not thinking about points,” said Dockery, a graduate student who would like to help UMaine dent the win column.
He said the team is better than the record reflects and once they get that first win, more will follow.
“Each week, we are taking steps so that we will be in a good spot at the end of the year,” he said.
He said they need to put together a full 60-minute performance and said his current and former teams match up well, saying Merrimack is “big, heavy team” that finishes checks like the Black Bears do.
“There will be a lot of ice bags handed out,” said Dockery, a 6-foot-2, 194-pound native of Lockport, N.Y.
UMaine first-year head coach Ben Barr said Dockery is a “great kid with a great attitude.”
“I’m sure he’s excited to play his former team,” Barr said. “He works hard in practice and can be a solid, shutdown defenseman.”
UMaine has gone 10-3-2 over the last 15 games with Merrimack and 11 of those games were decided by one goal or were ties. UMaine is 3-0-1 vs. Merrimack in their last four meetings.
UMaine is led by Adam Dawe (2 goals, 4 assists), Keenan Suthers (1 and 5) and Jakub Sirota (1 and 3) and will be looking to get its punchless 1-for-28 power play on track.
Merrimack has seven players with at least six points led by Max Newton (4 and 6), Ben Brar (5 and 3) and Declan Carlile (3 and 5). Logan Drevitch (2 and 4) is the son of former UMaine defenseman Scott Drevitch.
Junior Matt Thiessen (0-3-1, 3.22 goals-against average, .901 save percentage) and sophomore Victor Ostman (0-4, 3.52, .890) have shared the goaltending for UMaine while Merrimack has 6-foot-8 reigning Rookie of the Week Hugo Ollas (1-1, 2.43, .919) along with Zachary Borgiel (3-4, 3.48, .875).