The University of Maine men’s hockey team will be shorthanded this weekend when they visit Boston College on Friday night and Providence College on Saturday evening.
According to Maine coach Tim Whitehead, sophomore goalie Scott Darling, who has allowed two goals or less in seven of his last eight starts, and junior center Robby Dee, who has five goals and two assists in his last five games, will be sidelined for two to four weeks due to injuries suffered in Saturday night’s 4-2 win over Merrimack College.
And sophomore center-right wing Kyle Solomon is sidelined indefinitely due to complications from a groin injury suffered when he blocked a shot against UMass Lowell on Nov. 27. He has played in three games since then but has been sidelined the last three games.
Darling suffered a sprained left knee (medial collateral ligament) when a Merrimack player slid into him during the third period and Dee sustained a broken bone in his right foot when he was hit by a shot in the third period.
Darling has played in 18 of Maine’s 20 games and has an 11-3-2 record, a 2.62 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. He has started the last 14 games.
Maine currently has the nation’s longest unbeaten streak (7-0-2) and Darling has started all nine games, posting a 2.04 goals-against average and a .927 save percentage.
“He has been playing great for us,” said Whitehead.
Dee is Maine’s fifth-leading scorer with eight goals and eight assists in 18 games. He missed two games last month with a shoulder injury.
Whitehead said the loss of the players will provide his team with a “great challenge.
“But we have a stronger team now than we did at the beginning of the season,” said Whitehead who noted that the players filling in will have a good opportunity to prove themselves.
Freshman Shawn Sirman or senior Dave Wilson will start in goal Friday night. Neither has started a game since October.
Sirman hasn’t played since a 5-2 loss at New Hampshire on Oct. 24. He was lifted after two periods, having allowed four goals on 22 shots.
Wilson stopped all five shots he faced in the third period of Maine’s 10-1 win over St. Lawrence in Portland on Nov. 28.
He last started a game on Oct. 10 when he allowed six goals on 32 shots in a 6-3 loss at Union College (N.Y.).
Darling missed the first two games while serving a suspension for violating team rules last spring.
Sirman has played 79 minutes and has a 4.55 GAA and a .854 save percentage while Wilson has played 137 minutes and has a 3.93 GAA and a .833 save percentage. Wilson is 5-16-1 in his career with a 3.23 GAA and a .887 save percentage. Wilson has yet to win a Hockey East road game.
“They’ve both looked good in practice and they’re much more prepared to play now than they were at the beginning of the season,” said Whitehead. “We’ll need to play good team defense in front of them.”
The Maine coach said Dee has emerged into a “great two-way center” and he will be replaced by either Kyle Beattie (0 goals, 3 assists in 8 games) or Klas Leidermark (0 & 2 in 14 games).
Both are freshmen.
Beattie has played in just one of the last six games while Leidermark has played in one of the last four.
Whitehead said he would probably move senior David deKastrozza from right wing to center and play Beattie or Leidermark on the wing.