Maine men's ice hockey practice on September 21, 2022, at Alfond Arena. Credit: Linda Coan O'Kresik / BDN

The University of Maine men’s hockey team has lost a forward — and replaced him.

Mike Mancinelli, who transferred to UMaine a year ago from Arizona State, decided earlier this month not to return to the team.

Sully Scholle has taken his place on the roster.

Scholle verbally committed to UMaine and was scheduled to begin his Black Bear career in the 2024-25 season.

Mancinelli played in 30 games for the Black Bears last season and had one goal and 10 assists. He had eight goals and 14 assists in 56 games over two campaigns at Arizona State.

“We wish Mike all the best. He’s a good kid from a good family,” said UMaine head coach Ben Barr.

“He knew if he came back here, we would be asking a lot of him. He came a long way last year but he realized that he had to keep getting better if he wanted to [play] here and I don’t think his heart was in it. That’s fine. I appreciate him being honest with us.”

The 20-year-old Scholle, who is from Chaska, Minnesota, will be a good addition to the team, according to Barr.

Scholle had 26 goals and 28 assists in 59 games for the New Mexico Ice Wolves of the North American Hockey League last season. He had seven goals and nine assists in 22 games for the Ice Wolves the previous year and added seven goals and six assists in 13 playoff games.

He was a former teammate of UMaine defenseman Brandon Holt, who was a captain of the 2021-22 New Mexico team and will be a sophomore at UMaine this season.

New Mexico plays in the 29-team South Division of the NAHL. UMaine junior defenseman and assistant captain David Breazeale also played in that division for the Shreveport Mudbugs of Louisiana.

The 5-foot-10, 170-pound Scholle also played in 18 games for the Des Moines Buccaneers of the United States Hockey League in 2021-22 and had four goals and an assist.

“We knew if we needed to bring him in this year, he would be ready,” Barr said. “He has played junior hockey long enough. He was flexible either way with it.”

Barr called Scholle an all-around good player.

“Production-wise, he had a good year last year in that [South] division and kids from that division, for whatever reason, seem to be ready to play when they get to our level and are able to make an impact.”

Barr credited him with playing in a tough division.

“He can skate, he can make a play and he’s a hard-working kid who has had a great attitude ever since he got here a couple of weeks ago,” Barr added.