BOSTON — Ryan Lomberg sure knows how to open the floodgates.
The Maine sophomore forward scored a first-period goal Saturday that precipitated two incredible happenings – a 69-minute rain delay, then a deluge of Black Bear goals.
The result was a 7-3 victory over Boston University that was a storied memory for all the participants and witnesses at Fenway Park.
The outdoors game, Maine’s second ever, was played in a light rain that became a downpour at times.
Lomberg took a centering pass from Mark Anthoine in the slot and quickly wristed it past Boston goaltender Matt O’Connor for a power-play goal 6:37 into the first period.
Moments later, two loud thunderclaps sounded and officials quickly evacuated the ice. The Black Bears exited to the strains of AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck,” pausing to salute their fans taking refuge under overhangs on the first-base side of the ballpark.
The wind picked up, and a drenching rain turned the rink into a swamp on a 58-degree day. Meanwhile, the players cooled their heels in the locker room, turned up the stereo system, and fretted that the game might be washed out.
“I think we found the right balance of focus and loosesness because you don’t know how long the delay is soing to be, or what’s next. You have to be ready to continue the game. At the same time it’s a rain delay during a hockey game at Fenway Park. It’s kind of unique, so we just took time to enjoy it, listen to some tunes, and we got a kick out of them shoveling the water off of the ice. We had a TV in there,” Maine center Devin Shore said of the hour-long wait.
“Everyone was great, everyone was focused in when it came time for game time.”
Play resumed with Maine on a power play, and Shore easily won the faceoff. Ben Hutton gathered the puck at the left point and sent a wrist shot into the net. Five seconds had elapsed. Two more goals followed before the first period ended – Andrew Cerretani’s first of the season and another power-play score from Shore.
Both coaches agreed it was the Black Bears’ ability to capitalize on all three first-period man advantages that led to the decisive victory.
“They’re not drawing a Picasso out there. They get it to the point, they get it to the net, and their forwards get to the net with purpose,” Boston University Coach David Quinn said.
“Don’t understimate what that can do to you mentally. Because you wait for an hour and then you go out there and, boom, seconds later it’s 2-0.”
Maine (11-7-2, 5-2-1 Hockey East) took a 5-0 lead into the third period after Lomberg’s second goal. Then the Terriers (7-10-2, 2-5-1) took advantage of some careless play to cut the deficit to 5-3.
Maine Coach Red Gendron called a timeout and had some stern words for his team.
The gist of it was to get back to playing the solid hockey that created the big lead in the first place. The Black Bears regrouped and added a pair of empty-net goals to seal the win.
“We just did very, very simple things and I think the conditions out there dictated that that might have been the most prudent way to go,” Gendron said. “And to the credit of our players, they executed perfectly. And so we basically made it pretty difficult for BU to come back.”
By the time the game ended, the rain had stopped and the Black Bear contingent among a crowd generously announced at 25,580 celebrated loudly after a bizarre afternoon of hockey.
“It was an unbelievable hockey experience, the best I’ve had in my whole life,” Maine center Cam Brown said.
“The rain delay made it more exciting. We were all in the locker room itching to get back out there. And the crowd was crazy for us, so that was cool.”
Mark Emmert can be contacted at 791-6424 or at: