The University of Maine men’s hockey team has landed the heir apparent to goalie Ben Bishop as well as another defenseman for next season.
Scott Darling, a sixth-round draft choice of the Phoenix Coyotes who leads the prestigious United States (Junior) Hockey League in wins, and New Hampshire Junior Monarchs defenseman Mark Nemec have verbally committed to attend Maine.
Both are 19.
The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Darling is 19-5-1 with a 3.02 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage for the Indiana Ice including a current seven-game stretch in which he is 5-1-1, 1.92, .942. He has been named the league’s goaltender of the week three times.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound Nemec has a goal and seven assists in 36 games for the Eastern Junior Hockey League team.
“Scott is the best goalie in the league,” said Indiana head coach Charlie Skjodt. “He loves to compete. He loves to play under pressure. He’s big and he uses his legs really well. He’s a special goalie and he’s getting better. He has great pro potential.”
Darling said he has been a Black Bear fan for a “long time.
“I jumped on the bandwagon when they won [the NCAA championship] in ’99. Ever since then, they’ve been my favorite school.
“This is pretty much a dream come true. I could have gone to a few other schools but once they offered me a scholarship, it was a no-brainer,” added Darling.
He visited Maine and said he loved “everything” about it including Alfond Arena, the campus and the coaches.
He added he has family members who live an hour north of Orono and are Black Bear season ticket-holders.
“They really want to see me play,” he said.
Darling said his focus is on “learning how to win.
“I knew I’d have a solid team in front of me here and we’ve had a lot of close games. I’ve learned how to bear down at the end of games and win them. I want to win at Maine,” said Darling, a native of Lemont, Ill.
Bishop is a junior but may leave to sign with the St. Louis Blues, who picked him in the third round of the NHL draft.
Nemec, a native of Rouses Point, N.Y. who will earn a partial scholarship, said in addition to the hockey program and the campus, he was sold on the engineering program.
“That’s a good major at Maine,” said Nemec who intends to work on “making plays quicker and keeping things simple” as he prepares for his jump to Maine.
“He skates very well. He has quick feet for a big man. That’s his greatest asset. He has decent hands and a big shot,” said Monarchs associate head coach and former Maine and NHL player Bob Corkum.
Their coming to Maine is dependent upon their admission to the school and meeting NCAA Clearinghouse requirements.
Corkum to be Monarch next year
Corkum’s son Kelen, who has verbally committed to attend Maine, has left the United States National Team Development Program’s Under-18 team after suffering a concussion and broken ribs.
He had two assists in 16 games. The gritty center was a defensive specialist and penalty-killer.
Corkum said his son is back home attending Newburyport (Mass.) High School and will play for the Junior Monarchs next season before attending Maine.
Kelen Corkum suffered a broken bone in his back and a concussion playing for the U.S. Under-17 team last year.
Marble earns All-Decade honors
Former University of Southern Maine women’s basketball standout Ashley Marble of Topsfield has been named to the D3Hoops.com All-Decade second team.
A prolific scorer and rebounder in her career with the Huskies (2003-2007), Marble led USM to a 119-10 record, including 67-1 in Little East Conference play, winning four conference championships.
Marble, who played at Woodland High School, finished her career averaging 15.5 points and 9 rebounds per game at USM. She ranks first on the school’s all-time career games played list (128), free throws made (608) and free throws attempted (847).
The Huskies twice advanced to the Division III Final Four, earning national runner-up honors Marble’s junior season (2005-06).