This time last year, Brian Dumoulin was gearing up to help Boston College make a successful run for the NCAA’s Division I ice hockey national championship.

Now, Dumoulin, a 6-2, 210-pound defenseman from Biddeford who returns home to Maine on Saturday night when the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins play the Portland Pirates in an AHL game at the Cumberland County Civic Center, is still working on making the transition to the pro game.

“It seems like it was just a few days ago I was playing in the Beanpot and stuff like that,” he said.

Dumoulin admitted he is still getting use to the grind of being a professional hockey player.

“One of the big things is consistency, bringing the same effort at the same level every day,” he said. “That’s been the hardest thing for me to adjust, and I continue to work on it.

What’s the biggest different between college competition and the pro game?

“I’d say the mental part of the game is probably the big change,” Dumoulin said. “You’re playing a lot more games and the practices are difficult, too, so you have to be ready at certain times and be ready to bring it every day.”

During the regular season, AHL teams play 76 games. This year, Boston College, by comparison, will play about 34 games during the regular season.

“We have a lot of games each month and each week, where in college you would have a week of practice and then get revved up for the weekend,” Dumoulin said. “Here, every game is a big game and every game is important.”

The Penguins are entering a critical part of their schedule. They start a seven-game, 10-day road trip Friday night against the Providence Bruins and will play against the Pirates in Portland the next two Saturday nights.

With 19 games left in the regular season, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, currently fourth in the AHL’s East Division with a 30-24-2-1 record, remain in contention for one of the Eastern Conference’s eight playoff berths.

One of seven defensemen currently on the roster, Dumoulin is one of only four players who have appeared in 50 or more games for the Pens this season. In 54 games, he has four goals and 12 assists and plus-minus rating of minus-13.

“They’ve given me a lot of opportunity, and I’ve tried to take advantage of it,” Dumoulin said. “I’ve started to play the penalty kill a little bit more, and I’ve been on the power play most of the year.”

Dumoulin decided to turn pro after spending three years at Boston College.

“I felt ready to turn pro and get use to the pro system and the pro style of hockey,” he said. “I felt if I could do that after my junior year and have one year out on some other people it would only benefit me.”

Selected by the Carolina Hurricanes during the second round of the 2009 NHL entry draft, Dumoulin was traded to the Pittsburgh Penguins last June along with veteran center Brent Sutter for center Jordan Staal.

“I really wasn’t in the Carolina system at all because I was still playing for Boston College at that time so really hadn’t adjusted to their style too much,” he said. “(The Penguins) were excited to have me and I was excited for the opportunity.”

Dumoulin said he is excited about returning to Maine to play in an AHL game.

“I was fortunate to play for Biddeford High School for three years and I’m excited to come back and play in Maine,” he said. “I know there’s a lot of people who are following me.”

 

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