All Sections

Home | College Sports

College Hockey: Marks bolsters UNH blue line

New Hampshire Union Leader

October 04. 2017 10:12PM
University of New Hampshire captain Dylan Chanter, in action during the preseason game against St. Francis Xavier at the Whittemore Center in Durham on Sunday, will be one of the Wildcats' top six defensemen. (Mark Bolton/Union Leader)

DURHAM — Over his previous three seasons with the University of New Hampshire men’s hockey team, defenseman Cam Marks skated primarily alongside Matias Cleland.

Now that Cleland has graduated, Marks has spent the preseason getting used to working alongside a new face in the defensive zone.

Marks, a senior from North Vancouver, British Columbia, will start this year paired with Max Gildon, one of the Wildcats’ three freshman defensemen.

Cleland, who was the team’s captain last year and graduated last spring, and Marks served as the Wildcats’ top defensive pairing last year. The two also contributed offensively, combining for 48 points (four goals, 44 assists) last season.

The Florida Panthers selected Gildon, of Plano, Texas, with the 66th overall pick in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft. He was a member of the United States Under-18 National Team that took gold at the International Ice Hockey Federation World Championship earlier this year.

“Obviously, playing with Cleland was great,” Marks said. “We had a great chemistry on and off the ice. We just always knew where each other were. But I mean I’m playing with Gildon now. He’s a great, young player and I think we’re starting to develop a little bit of chemistry as well.”

Marks and Gildon will get their first in-game test as a pair Friday at 7:15 p.m. when UNH opens its season at No. 5 UMass Lowell, the defending Hockey East champion.

Gildon and his fellow freshmen started skating with Marks and the Wildcats veterans in early September.

“We got a chance to work together and instill systems into them right away,” Marks said.

As a senior, Marks feels a responsibility to bring along UNH’s freshman defensemen in Gildon, James Miller and Benton Mass, who will likely begin the year paired with sophomore Anthony Wyse.

Marks, Richie Boyd and Dylan Chanter, who will serve as the team’s captain this year, are UNH’s three senior defensemen.

“I’ve played in a lot of games, had a lot of experience and I feel like it’s my job as one of the guys with more experience to bring in the freshmen and tell them what to expect and how to prepare for games,” Marks said.

Gildon, Miller and Mass all have big frames and display a lot of confidence, Marks said. The three freshmen are each at least 6-foot-2 and weigh at least 190 pounds.

“They’re obviously very big,” Marks said. “They’re very confident as well….They jump up in the play a lot and they’re very good offensively.”

UNH coach Dick Umile said Marks has done a great job mentoring the team’s new crop of defensemen. In addition to his leadership skills, Umile expects steady play from Marks on the ice.

“Marks, you can watch a game and he goes unnoticed and that can be a good thing when you go unnoticed,” Umile said. “You’re not making mistakes. He’s just a steady defenseman.”