Going to play junior hockey in Boston can be an eye-popping experience for anyone from Maine.

Lately the Boston Bulldogs have become somewhat of a magnet for Maine high school players looking to make the transition from high school hockey to the college level, something that has helped ease the transition for several players trying to get acclimated to new surroundings, and to a new style of play.

No less than six of the 27 players on the Bulldogs’ roster are former Maine high school standouts. Ted Fabian of Oakland (Messalonskee), Alex Arthur of Portland (Cheverus), Tom Gosselin of Lewiston (St. Dom’s), Jon Rutt of Augusta (St. Dom’s) and Dan Rautenberg of Cape Elizabeth have all joined Ryan Guerin this season.

And they all found out just how hard it is to make that leap.

“A lot of the younger players have to learn to play with systems,” Bulldogs’ coach Mike Addesa said. “It gets very systematic at this level, and even more so in college, and we find that most of the players who come here haven’t worked within a system.”

One case in point is Rautenberg, who tore up Class B in his final season at Cape Elizabeth High School.

“Dan really struggled a year ago,” said Addesa. “We played about 68 games last season, and that was tough on him. He was sick a lot, and he had a hard time keeping up.”

But, after a year of working out and dedicating himself, Addesa believes that Rautenberg may be Division I bound.

“There are probably 10 or 11 Division I schools hoping he stays here another year,” said Addesa. “It’s rare to have a third-year junior player here, though. Usually, by the time you’ve played two, you’ve gone as far as you can.”

But, Addesa said, Rautenberg will likely be an exception.

In some of the other Maine players, Addesa sees a lot of what he saw in Rautenberg – raw talent without a lot of mileage.

“Fabian and Gosselin are like what Dan Rautenberg was last year. Your cardiovascular system has to peak properly, and that’s a two-year cycle to get it up to where it needs to be,” Addesa said. “(Fabian) needs another whole year anyway. He needs to get a ton stronger. He has trouble with physical play and he needs to adjust. He struggled the first six or seven weeks.”

Addesa added that Rutt, a Travis Roy Award finalist, is also garnering some interest from some colleges.

“(Rutt) will probably end up at an upper-level D-III school,” Addesa said. “He’s a very sound player. He’s tremendous shorthanded, and he’s got hands and great skills, but he gets no PP time. He’s another guy who could play another year and get several top D-III offers.”


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