Under first year head coach and former player Mike Gabinet, the UNO hockey team spent a majority of the season in the national polls. After just missing out on the NCAA tournament, Gabinet and the Mavs hope the newest class of recruits can elevate the program to the next level.
Matej Tomek, Derek Daschke and Kevin Conley are just some of the players in the 2018-19 recruiting class. All these recruits are playing in the United States Hockey League, the highest level of junior hockey in the United States. Thirteen of the 26 players on UNO’s roster this past season were from the USHL.
Tomek was drafted by the Philadelphia Flyers in the third round of the 2015 NHL Draft. He originally committed to North Dakota but decided to decommit and come back to junior hockey before settling on UNO. Before the 2015 draft, he was rated as the 107th best prospect by hockeyprospect.com. Tomek has two years of eligibility remaining and should compete for playing time right away behind Evan Weninger and Kris Oldham.
Daschke is in his fourth season in the USHL and is a seasoned veteran at this point. He serves as the captain for the defending league champion, Chicago Steel. This season he has racked up 29 points. While once committed to conference foe Western Michigan, Daschke may redshirt for a year with the Mavs returning six of eight defensemen.
Chayse Primeau will be a Maverick next season. The son of former NHL player Keith Primeau, this is his second full season in the USHL, playing one for the Lincoln Stars and currently for the Dubuque Fighting Saints, where he has amassed 38 points, trying to help the Saints fight their way into the league playoffs. Primeau will compete for playing time with all the new freshmen.
Ben Meyers will come to the Mavs after playing one season for the Fargo Force. Meyers is second on the team with 24 goals along with 19 assists. His 43 points are tied for second on the Force. The Mavericks are getting an offensive producer who may have a chance to play right away with some key offensive contributors departing. Could Meyers and Primeau form the next great Maverick Hockey duo?
Bray Crowder continues the line of USHL players going on to play Division I hockey, coming from the Muskegon Lumberjacks. Another child of a former NHL player, Crowder fits the bill of a defensive defenseman, scoring just 18 points this season. Crowder is staring a redshirt in the face, much like Daschke.
Kevin Conley rounds out the class. Conley is already an NCAA champion, having won with Denver last year before returning to the USHL. Conley played a season with the Youngstown Phantoms and returned with the Sioux Falls Stampede. He has hockey experience on the big stage and could use that at UNO. The Mavericks may have gotten a steal and Conley will see the ice immediately.