Scarborough High School graduate and defenseman Jake Rutt will play hockey at the University of Maine next season on full scholarship. Rutt, who played at St. Dominic his freshman and sophomore years, is currently playing for the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs in Hooksett, N.H. to gain a year of experience before college. He recently consented to an interview.
Q: What have you gained from your year with the Monarchs?
A: "This is my second year, and first PG year with the Monarchs, and I am very glad I did it. I've learned a lot not just about the sport but also outside the hockey rink. I have an apartment with three others on the team and learned life away from home. For next year, I feel like I will be able to jump right into Maine's lineup and be an impact player. The PG year gave me time to develop including strength, speed and my decision making on and off the ice."
Q: Did the Maine coaches think you needed another year of work? Did you?
A: "When I first committed, they told me I needed a year to develop and I understood as much as I wanted to go up to Orono and play instantly. I needed to be patient and Coach Sean Tremblay and Coach Matt Dennehy (of the Monarchs) worked on my areas of improvement to make me a more solid player."
Q: Are you taking any classes in the area, or is it strictly hockey?
A: "I will be taking a class this summer but during the season I did not. It is mostly hockey and it’s a great lifestyle. If you treat it like a job then that’s when you find you will improve the most. I also have a job near the rink at a pizza place called the Pizza Man. I am a delivery boy. So between delivering and hockey, that mostly fills up my week."
Q: What area do you think you needed to improve in the most?
A: "There's always something I can improve on because no one's game is perfect but if i had to choose one area it would probably be my decision making and this will take time. Studying other defensemen with the same attributes as me will help. The extra year with the Monarchs has helped tremendously."
Q: Why did you decide to attend Maine? Were there many other offers?
A: "I didn't hesitate when Maine offered me. Playing youth hockey in Maine, the Black Bears were always a topic of discussion around the local youth rinks and it was a dream of mine to play for my home state. At the time of my commitment, a lot of D1 schools were asking about me through Coach Tremblay, including a handful in Hockey East, but I had my mind set on Maine."
Q: Why do you think it’s so tough for Maine kids to play at their own state university?
A: "Maine is a very competitive hockey program looking for a National Championship every year. Maine kids would love to play for their home state but unfortunately have to leave the state (like I did) to play at a higher level in order to make it to their next level. Most do not and the high school level is Maine is not as competitive as it can be."
Q: Do you feel like you’re representing Maine players by attending Maine?
A: "I feel like I am. I know a lot of kids go to Maine for school and they are excited to watch me play. There will only be two other kids from Maine on the team. I am very honored to have the opportunity to able to represent my home state."
Q: Have you watched any Maine games this season?
A: "It's hard to watch a lot of Maine games because of my own season but I have seen a handful and every time I do, it makes me more anxious for next fall. Maine is said to have one of the best student sections in the nation and I cannot wait to play in front of that crowd for my home state."
Q: What’s the biggest difference from high school and/or the Monarchs and Div. I hockey?
A: "There are a lot of things that are different but the three most that stand out to me are the speed, strength and depth of teams. The players are a lot faster and a lot stronger. Every team (especially D1) has players who can score for lines 1-4, so respecting your opponents is crucial because at this level, everyone has talent."
Q: What sort of defenseman do you consider yourself, offensive, defensive, or both?
A: "I consider myself to be both. I can move the puck and put it in the net when the team needs it and defensively I feel like I am hard to get around and score on."
Q: How have you worked on your body? Are you stronger, bigger?
A: "I am both. I need to get stronger for next year and also faster. The players at the next level are stronger, bigger and faster which means I need to constantly improve as well. The area I need to improve on the most I feel is my foot speed."
BASKETBALL TOP 10S
As the season enters its final third, the Cheverus boys' and McAuley girls' maintain their hold on No. 1 among the top 10 teams in the state.
Boys Top 10
Cheverus (11-0) The Stags dispatched Deering 61-51 and Biddeford 55-41 in recent game. Next up a test against South Portland.
Camden Hills (13-0) The Windjammers have cruised since 6-foot-6 guard Keegan Pieri has rejoined the team, beating Lincoln 69-49 and Nokomis 80-46 in recent outings.
Bangor (12-1) The Rams have reeled off 12 straight since an opening day loss to Hampden, beating Lewiston 61-40 earlier this week.
Edward Little (12-1) The Red Eddies have their sights on a third straight Eastern Maine Class A title. They recently topped Brunswick 67-36 and Brewer 71-56.
Mt. Blue (11-2) The Cougars have played everyone tough this season, recently beating Erskine 67-32 and Oxford Hills 45-36.
South Portland (10-2) After wins against Kennebunk and Gorham the Red Riots will see where they stand as they host unbeaten Cheverus.
Thornton (9-3) The Trojans have bounced back after a close loss to South Portland with wins over Marshwood and Kennebunk.
Hampden (10-3) The Broncos, who recently beat Skowhegan and Cony, have big wins under their belts this season against Bangor and Edward Little.
Ellsworth (12-0) The Eagles continue to fly high in Class B East and are headed for a tournament showdown against Camden Hills.
Greely (11-1) The Rangers shook off a mid-season loss to Cape Elizabeth by beating York 63-47 and Gray-New Gloucester 51-39.
Girls Top 10
McAuley (11-0) The Lions rolled to a 54-29 win against Biddeford and 48-17 over Kennebunk in their last two games. Next week they play at unbeaten Deering.
Deering (12-0) The Rams geared up for their meeting with McAuley with a 56-44 win at Cheverus and a 56-38 decision over Westbrook.
Cheverus (8-3) After losing 56-44 to Deering the Stags bounced back with a 56-37 win against Biddeford.
York (12-0) The defending Class B state champions are allowing just 27 points a game this season after recent wins against Cape Elizabeth and Wells 49-29.
Leavitt (13-0) The Hornets, who average 80 points a game and have topped 90 four times, beat Medomak Valley 81-56 and Winslow 64-50.
Morse (12-1) After being upset by Oxford Hills, the Shipbuilders recovered with an 81-42 win against Lewiston and 78-19 decision over Lawrence.
Gorham (9-2) The Rams downed Massabesic 59-34 and lost to South Portland 53-47. Next up a big test at Sanford.
Edward Little (11-2) The Red Eddies lost to Brunswick 54-42 and beat Brewer 61-41 in the wide-open Class A East division.
Hampden (11-2) The Broncos lost their top ranking in Class A East after being upset by Cony. They have those same Rams at home in their next game.
Presque Isle (12-1) The Wildcats maintained their top ranking in Class B East with an 85-49 win against Houlton and a 37-29 win over Old Town.
1,000 point club this season
Courtney Anderson, Leavitt
Tyler McFarland, Camden Hills
Maggie Sabine, Oak Hill
Rebecca Campbell, Washburn
D.J. Gendreau, Madawaska
Kayla Burchill, Deering
Cameron Kaubris, Mountain Valley
Don Johnson, Islesboro
Amanda Hotham, Fort Fairfield
Keila Grigware, Biddeford
Hannah Pray, Central
Hockey Top 10
Lewiston (10-0-1) The Blue Devils beat Thornton 8-3 and were extended to overtime before downing Bangor 6-0.
Biddeford (8-0-2) The Top team in Class A West, the Tigers knocked off St. Dom’s 6-3 and blanked South Portland 8-0.
St. Dom’s (9-3-0) After losing to Biddeford 6-3, the Saints came back with a 3-1 win against Falmouth.
Brewer (10-0-1) The Witches rule Class B East after beating Houlton/Hodgdon 5-4 in overtime and Orono 3-0.
Greely (9-0-1) The Rangers could be the best in Class B as evidenced by their 9-1 win against Houlton/Hodgdon and a 4-1 victory over Presque Isle.
Thornton (6-4-0) The The Trojans topped Scrabrough 5-0 and played Lewiston tough before falling 6-3.
Falmouth (3-4-2) A dangeroius team despite their record, the Yachtsmen recently beat South Portland 2-1 and lost to St. Dom’s 3-1.
Houlton/Hodgdon (10-2-0) The northern Maine team beat Lawrence 4-2 then lost a 5-4 heartbreaker to Brewer in overtime.
Waterville (7-5-0) The Purple Panthers have been up and down all season, losing recently to Lewiston 11-0 then coming back to top Cony 7-1.
Bangor (6-6-0) The Rams beat Cony 6-0 before losing in overtime to Lewiston 6-0. Next up, a test against Waterville.