ORONO, Maine — Right wing Ryan Lomberg was one of the youngest hockey players in the country a year ago but still had a productive freshman season at the University of Maine. He didn’t turn 18 until Dec. 12.
He was tied for fourth on the team in scoring with 14 points on seven goals and seven assists. He led in game-winning goals with three and was tied for the top spot in power-play goals with four.
The 5-foot-10, 180-pound native of Richmond Hill, Ontario, struggled out of the gate this season, tallying just one goal and no assists during an 11-game stretch.
But he has caught fire with six goals and three assists over his last nine games, including the game-winning goal in Maine’s come-from-behind 4-2 triumph over New Hampshire on Saturday night. He also had a game-tying goal with 1:24 remaining and the extra attacker on the ice vs. UMass Lowell and a game-winning assist in the 5-1 win over American International College.
Lomberg admits it took time to adapt to first-year coach Red Gendron and his systems.
“Coach has been on my butt the whole season. He has been really pushing me, and I’m finally starting to get it,” said Lomberg before participating in the Skate with the Bears on Sunday at Alfond Arena. “I know all the systems now, and I’m doing what he wants me to do.
“It doesn’t hurt playing on a line with a guy like [Devin Shore],” grinned Lomberg referring to Maine’s leading scorer.
“Coach tried to fix a lot of my bad habits, and we’ve changed them into good habits. I’m not quite there yet but, hopefully, I’ll be there soon,” said Lomberg.
“During the first semester, it took him time to figure out what to do next on the ice and by the time he did, it was too late,” said Gendron, who also noted that Lomberg had bad habits like having his stick off the ice too much..
“He has obviously figured things out. He developed great work habits,” said Gendron. “He really wants to be a hockey player. He’s fast and he has been using his speed [effectively]. His stick is on the ice more, he’s controlling the puck better, and he’s physical.”
“He’s really blossoming,” said senior left wing and assistant captain Mark Anthoine. “He works hard all the time. He’s an animal out there.”
Lomberg, who is third on the team with eight goals to go with four assists, said he knows the key to his game is constant movement.
“I can’t be lazy out there. I’ve got to keep moving all the time, on the forecheck and backcheck,” he said.