It just seems that Jacob Rutt has waited and waited.

He committed to play for the University of Maine hockey team almost two years ago, while in his first season of junior hockey after two years at Scarborough High.

Then came the moment Rutt officially signed with the Black Bears a year ago, 10 months before he could enroll at Maine.

Finally, Rutt reached Orono this fall — and he waited some more.

Through the first nine games of the Black Bears’ season, Rutt’s jersey remained on a hanger. A healthy scratch from the lineup, he watched.

“Coach said to hang in there. He liked the way I was practicing,” Rutt said. “The first nine games I was watching how our team’s (defense) was playing and how the opponents’ (defense) was playing. You can learn a lot.

“You don’t always get opportunities. Once you do, you’ve got to seize the moment.”

Rutt, 20, finally got his chance Nov. 12 at Alfond Arena and excelled, although the Black Bears lost to UMass-Lowell, 4-3.

“Very assertive. A lot of poise with the puck,” Maine Coach Tim Whitehead said.

In last Friday’s 2-2 tie with Massachusetts, Whitehead said Rutt “came down to earth a little bit, but he still played a pretty good game.

“He’s going to be a real good player for us. I’m very pleased with his progress.”

Rutt stayed in the lineup for Wednesday’s 6-4 exhibition win over the U.S. under-18 team.

And he hopes to be there Saturday night when the Black Bears make their annual trip to Portland to play Clarkson at the Cumberland County Civic Center at 7 p.m.

“I’m excited that if I do play, to be playing in front of my home crowd,” said Rutt, who knows of several family members and friends coming to the game.

Rutt’s journey to Division I hockey has taken the usual path through high school, then advanced hockey en route to Orono.

The Rutt family is well known in hockey circles, beginning with the father, Norm Rutt, who played at the University of Southern Maine from 1977-79.

The eldest of Norm and Lisa’s children is Caitlin, 26. She played club hockey at Cony High, then St. Dominic. Jon Rutt, 24, also played at USM. And Abby Rutt, 17, played at Scarborough High before transferring to New Hampton prep school this year.

Jacob Rutt played his freshman year at St. Dom’s when the family lived in Augusta. When the family moved to Scarborough, Rutt played for the Red Storm for two years.

Rutt was encouraged to upgrade to junior hockey since his sophomore year but didn’t consider the move a simple one.

“I have no regrets staying (at Scarborough) a second year,” Rutt said. “Playing high school hockey is a great time. With my coach (Jay Mazur), I learned so much. It was a hard decision to go to the Monarchs.”

In Rutt’s senior year, he played for the New Hampshire Junior Monarchs while still attending Scarborough. It was then that Rutt verbally committed to Maine.

“I had a lot of schools looking at me, still trying to feel me out,” Rutt said. “Maine was really the first school to give me a real offer. Obviously, growing up in Maine, I always wanted to play here. It was a no-brainer.”

He played a second season with the Junior Monarchs, then made it to Orono and started competing for ice time.

“I’m still battling for a spot in the lineup. Nothing is given,” Rutt said.

Patient but persistent, Rutt is expected to become a longtime fixture in the lineup.

NOTE: The Maine hockey team will arrive today. Among the scheduled events is the Skate with the Bears public skating from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Family Ice Center in Falmouth.

Staff Writer Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or at:

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Twitter: KevinThomasPPH