Sophomore Scott Darling and freshman Shawn Sirman will be vying for the starting job in goal for the University of Maine men’s hockey team Friday night when the Black Bears host the University of Vermont.
That will be the only game on the weekend for the Bears.
Darling and Sirman each started a game last weekend. Darling was lifted after one period Friday at Massachusetts and replaced by Sirman. On Saturday at New Hampshire, Sirman was pulled in favor of Darling after two periods.
Senior Dave Wilson didn’t travel with the team this past weekend after playing the season-opening series at Union, losing 4-1 and 6-3.
Sirman made 17 saves on 19 shots in two periods at UMass and 18 saves on 22 shots over two periods Saturday. Darling made seven saves and allowed three goals, all on initial shots, in the first period against UNH and didn’t allow a goal while making three saves in the third period against UNH.
“I want to see how they practice this week before picking one. We’ll choose one after Thursday’s practice,” said Maine coach Tim Whitehead. “We’re working with them.”
Maine’s three goaltenders have combined for a 4.67 goals-against average and an .831 save percentage.
Whitehead said he is looking for Darling to do a “better job on initial shots and play with more composure. We want him to be more aggressive on initial shots and use his size [6-foot-5] to his advantage.”
He wants Sirman to “keep working to get in better shape so he can be better on second shots. He has been doing a great job on initial shots and he plays with composure. I thought he did a nice job at UNH with the exception of the first goal.”
The first goal was a centering pass from the corner by Greg Manz that glanced in off Sirman’s leg.
Whitehead also said his team must do a better job in front of the goalies.
“We aren’t giving up a lot of shots but we’re giving up second-shot opportunities. If we can limit those quality scoring chances, our goalies will have a better chance to succeed,” said Whitehead. “We’ve got to do a better job in front of our net.”
He said Wilson isn’t out of the picture but he’s third on the depth chart at this time.
Whitehead said he expects the goalies to keep improving as they will have occasional morning sessions in addition to regular practice time.
“I think all three of them have potential to be real strong goalies at this level. Now we’re looking for one or more to prove that on a consistent basis,” said Whitehead.
He isn’t considering bringing in a goalie for the second semester at this point but he said he hasn’t ruled it out if it is deemed necessary.
Halloween Skate on Wednesday
The UMaine women’s ice hockey team will hold a Halloween Skate Wednesday from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at Alfond Arena in Orono.
Team members are inviting fans to join them in costume and skate with them.
There will be free hot chocolate and candy as well as face painting and a costume contest.
The players will provide music and games and will hold raffles, sign autographs and give away chuck-a-pucks for future games.
The event is free, but the team will be collecting nonperishable food to donate locally. The players will also accept donations with the proceeds benefiting the women’s ice hockey program.
Fans are asked to bring their own skates as there won’t be any rental skates available.