When Sam Rumelhart slammed the penalty box door, banged his stick against the boards and turned a 2-minute penalty into a 10-minute misconduct and an automatic one-game suspension, he had no idea how his actions would change the rest of his life. season. In the moment, anger ignores the consequences.
“I was taken in the moment. I shouldn’t have slammed the door,” Rumelhart, a senior at Scarborough High, said two months after the incident. “It was a 2-1 game (and a loss to rivals Thornton Academy). There were 11 minutes left. We could have equalized or even won if I played.
That moment of frustration over a call that didn’t go his way could have defined Rumelhart’s season in a negative way. It likely cost Rumelhart a shot at winning the Travis Roy Award, given to the top Class A senior men’s hockey player. AJ Kavanaugh, head coach of Mt. said during a game the misconduct penalty does not automatically disqualify a player for consideration for the Travis Roy Award, character and leadership are factors in determining nominees for the award.
Rumelhart sat out Scarborough’s next game, a 7-3 loss to Bangor. Looking back, Rumelhart believes that moment is what kept his name from making the Travis Roy semifinal list. He couldn’t go back, but he could apologize and work to do better.
“You see a kid get kicked out (from a game), you don’t know what it’s for,” Rumelhart said. “I thought I had a chance to win the prize, but I get it.”
The incident was a wake-up call for Rumelhart, who has only incurred two penalties in his last eight games. As Rumelhart peaked, the Red Storm peaked, coming from the No. 7 seed to claim the Class A state championship with a 2-1 double-overtime win over Thornton Academy. Rumelhart scored five goals and had assists in four playoff games, assisting on both goals in the state championship game. His 43 points (28 goals, 15 assists) led the state in scoring.
The attitude adjustment was what Rumelhart and his team needed, and for that, Sam Rumelhart is the Varsity Maine Men’s Hockey Player of the Year.
“It’s acknowledging he made a mistake and learning how to move on,” Scarborough coach Eric Wirsing said. “We had a roller coaster season as a team. Sometimes we were really good and sometimes we were terrible. Maybe there was a level of consistency (coaches) didn’t see it, and game misconduct was a factor. I felt really bad (Rumelhart) was dropped from the list. But he used it as motivation.
Rumelhart has registered 10 goals and six assists in his last seven games to lead the Red Storm into and through the playoffs. His best game came in the quarter-finals, when he netted three goals and an assist in a 4-2 win over No.2 Bangor.
“I was trying to prove something in this game,” Rumelhart said.
As the Red Storm looked for consistency, Wirsing moved Rumelhart from center to wing, which opened the ice for the 6-foot, 170-pound forward and allowed him to better use his speed.
“I have to say Sam is one of the fastest kids on the ice I’ve ever seen, with or without the puck. He just has a lot of explosiveness,” Wirsing said.
With the 2020-21 high school season shortened due to the coronavirus pandemic, Rumelhart played with the Vermont Lumberjacks junior team of the Eastern Hockey League. In 29 games with the Lumberjacks, Rumelhart had nine goals and 14 assists and learned he can play at a high level. However, staying with the junior club was never something Rumelhart seriously considered for this senior season.
“I would have lost football,” Rumelhart said.
Football is Rumelhart’s favorite college sport. A quarterback at Scarborough, Rumelhart will be a favorite at the University of New Hampshire in the fall, where he’ll try his hand at the long snapper and whatever other positions the coaches throw at him.
“They told me they have a few positions in mind, so I’ll go where they need me,” Rumelhart said.
Women’s Hockey: 2022 Varsity Maine All-State team