New Year, Fresh Start, Same Focus for Primeau

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Jordan McAlpine
SPORTS EDITOR

Chayse Primeau scored a career-high nine goals, 14 assists and 23 points last season. However, he said those numbers mean nothing and it’s a new year. Photo courtesy of Omaha Athletics.

Chayse Primeau knows there are accolades and expectations surrounding him heading into his senior season. A Second-Team NCHC All-Conference selection in 2020-21 and a member of the NCHC Preseason All-Conference Team heading into this season, the six-foot-three center has deservedly earned that recognition. At the same time, it’s something he doesn’t put too much stock into.

“It’s an honor to be recognized, but it’s a preseason poll,” Primeau said. “There’s work to be done and 36 games to actually put in the work.”

As one of the Mavericks’ biggest surprises of last season, Primeau became one of Omaha’s most consistent offensive threats throughout the season. He scored a career-high nine goals, 14 assists and 23 points, which was tied for the team lead. However, those numbers are in the rear-view mirror and last year is in the past.

Primeau said he spent this summer training back home with one focus on his mind — improve every day. Early in the offseason there were some pro teams interested in him, but his decision to come back was ultimately fairly easy, especially with the way last season ended and the number of guys who also returned for this year. As cliche as it sounds, there’s unfinished business.

“We’ve got a special group of guys coming back here and we want to get back (to the NCAA Tournament) and prove we’re better than what we did last spring,” Primeau said. “Especially bringing in a guy like Brannon (McManus) too, that depth and experience is huge and I think having all of the seniors and upperclassmen that we do is a real benefit. We just need to try to build off what we did last season.”

Primeau wants to build off of last season individually too.

“Obviously you want to keep improving every year,” he said. “I had a good year last year, but it’s a new year and I have to go in with the mentality: that year means nothing right now. It helped me with some confidence and I’m going to try and keep building off that, but last year is over with and it’s a fresh start.”

In addition to the scoring punch, Primeau posted a career-best .513 faceoff win percentage, +2 plus/minus rating and was called upon in nearly any type of situation. He said one of his biggest focuses the past two seasons has been on becoming a better overall player and the scoring has only complimented that.

A big part of his success last season was a byproduct of the situation he found himself in while skating between Taylor Ward and Tyler Weiss. Although the lines have been switched up to see what combinations work and where the chemistry is at, Primeau said the three have been skating together again for most of training camp. The trio combined for 29 goals and 68 points over the Mavericks’ final 20 games last season.

No matter who Primeau is playing with or where he finds himself in the lineup this season, his focus is going to be the same. The individual success and the numbers and accolades are nice, but his main goal is a team one.

“My goal is to win a national championship and that’s the task at hand for me,” he said. “That’s all I want to do.”

The Mavericks open the 2021-22 season against Lake Superior State on Saturday at 7:07 p.m.

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