Maine Suspends Goaltender Darling Ahead of Playoffs

Maine has suspended goaltender Scott Darling for an indefinite period of time, just days before the start of the Hockey East playoffs.

Darling was suspended Saturday for a violation of team rules, The Associated Press and other news outlets reported Monday. The sophomore did not play in either of last weekend’s games in a regular season-closing series against Massachusetts.

University spokesperson Laura Reed told the AP that Darling had previously been suspended for two games at the start of this season and for one game last season.

Darling, a sixth-round pick of the Phoenix Coyotes in the 2007 NHL entry draft, has a 15-6-3 record this season with a 3.10 goals against average and a .895 save percentage.

Freshman Shawn Sirman started both games last weekend, but he was replaced by senior Dave Wilson in both Black Bears losses.

Quoting an anonymous source, WLBZ-TV of Bangor, Maine, reported that Darling is seeking treatment for alcohol-related issues.

Maine athletic director Blake James told the TV station that Darling’s suspension was not for a violation of the department’s student-athlete code of conduct.

“It’s something between [coach] Tim [Whitehead] and Scott,” James told WLBZ-TV. “Again, that’s something that I’ll continue to communicate with Coach Whitehead on, and when the time comes, I’m sure Coach Whitehead will update everyone with the situation.”

After finishing tied for third place in Hockey East and claiming the fourth seed, Maine opens a best-of-three playoff series against Massachusetts-Lowell at home on Friday.

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