Two commitments may give UMaine an offensive boost

Posted July 14, 2010, at 8:19 p.m.

    The University of Maine men’s hockey team has received verbal commitments from a pair of forwards and have lost a forward who verbally committed but changed his mind and signed with the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

Ryan Lomberg of the Mississauga (Ontario) Reps and Brian Morgan from the Boston Junior Bruins’ Empire League team have announced their intentions to attend Maine on athletic scholarships beginning in the 2012-2013 season.

But Darcy Ashley of the Summerside Western Capitals in the Maritime Junior Hockey League put his name on a Halifax contract after being selected in the second round of the QMJHL draft by the Mooseheads.

The earliest players can sign their National Letters of Intent is November of their senior year in high school. If they don’t sign then, they can sign in November or April any time after that.

The 5-foot-9½, 175-pound Lomberg, who is 15, had 54 goals and 37 assists in 64 games for the Reps in the Greater Toronto Hockey League’s AAA Midget division while the 5-11, 175-pound Morgan, who is 16, had 39 & 57 in 61 games for the Junior Bruins.

Reps coach Frank Pietrangelo, a former University of Minnesota and NHL goalie, said Lomberg is a “great signing” by Maine.

Pietrangelo said Lomberg may not be the flashiest player out there but “he does everything well. He’s an excellent player and leader. He’s been my captain the last couple of years. They’re getting a gem.

“He can obviously put the puck in the net. He’s a hard worker and a character guy. He’s gritty and makes everybody around him better,” added Pietrangelo.

  Lomberg, a left wing from Richmond Hill, Ontario, chose Maine over Quinnipiac, Clarkson, Vermont, Boston College, Michigan State and Notre Dame.

“Maine was the fourth school I visited and I fell in love with it. I had a different feeling than I had at the first three schools. I knew it was for me,” said Lomberg, who won 67.5 percent of his faceoffs.

He added that he was really impressed with the coaching staff, the emphasis on hockey at the school, and the aggressive style of hockey the Bears play.

“They’re always on the attack,” said Lomberg, who will join Pietrangelo at the Hill Academy in Vaughan, Ontario, next season.

Morgan, according to Junior Bruins coach Chris Masters, is “pretty dynamic.

“He was a scoring machine the last four months of the season,” said Masters, a Boston College graduate. “He’s a real workhorse. Maine is going to love him. He’s an offensive player who also likes to hit. He wins one-on-one battles and he has an ability to score from weird places.

“He’s real smart with the puck and the thing that sets him apart from other players is his [intense] desire to win, how hard he competes and his tireless work ethic,” added Masters.

The 5-foot-11, 175-pound Windham, N.H., native, who is a center, is also “great on face-offs.”

Masters said Maine has always been Morgan’s “dream school” and he chose Maine over several other Division I schools including “three or four Hockey East schools.”

  Morgan, who will play for the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs in the Eastern Junior Hockey League next season, was the second leading scorer at a USA Hockey Boys 16 Selects Player Development Camp (5 & 5 in 5 games) and earned a spot on the Selects 16 team that will play in Europe later this summer.

Lomberg and Morgan coming to Maine will be contingent upon their acceptance to the school and meeting NCAA eligibility requirements.

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