ATTLEBORO, MA– In their first trip to the northern part of the eastern seaboard, the Black Bears were looking to get back into the win column. But in their first battle against the Generals, Maryland wasn’t able to get the breaks they needed to get a W; as they drop both games to Northeast, but did muster a point in the process.
FRIDAY DECEMBER 2nd, 2022: BLACK BEARS (2) at Northeast (4): The Black Bears got started quick, even with a penalty called on them early. Right after the penalty, Samuel Stitz found Branden Piku streaking down the slot for a one-timer for Piku’s seventh of the year and provided Maryland with the early lead. Maryland kept the pressure on, but Toby Hopp was able to keep the shots from getting behind him. Penalties were another issue for Maryland, as they got called three times for minor penalties, with one burning them as Ryan Remick gathered a rebound from in front and potted it home for his first of the year and made it a tie game. The Black Bears were firing plenty at Hopp, but he was able to keep the rest of the shots out. Down the other end, Jack Wieneke was solid when he was called upon, playing his angles solidly and helping hold the tie going into the intermission.
The Black Bears were the aggressors for the second period, but they couldn’t get any bounces to go their way. Time after time, they attacked Hopp, but couldn’t get it behind him, firing 17 shots in the frame. After one flurry of shots, Northeast took the lead with Jake LaRusso getting behind the defense and putting it behind Wieneke to make it 2-1 Northeast. After another flurry from the Black Bears, Northeast took it down the ice and Frank D’Ancona picked up the rebound from a wild shot by David Andreychuk in the corner to make it a 3-1 game for the Generals.
Down two, Maryland needed a spark despite all the blocked shots and passes that happened during the game. Their vigilance would pay off with captain Brad McNeil putting home his sixth of the year after a couple whacks in front of the net to make it a one-goal deficit. Even with tremendous puck possession and killing off a couple of power plays, the Black Bears couldn’t find the equalizer while Sixten Jennersjo was able to pot an empty netter to make the final 4-2 for Northeast.
SATURDAY DECEMBER 3rd, 2022: BLACK BEARS (3) at Northeast (4) OT: Trying to get split on the road, the Black Bears threw everything they could at Northeast, taking control of the first period, while playing disciplined for the most part. Able to draw three penalties against Northeast, Maryland was able to outshoot Northeast 18-4 and garnered two goals in 50 seconds late in the period. Branden Piku opened the scoring again picking up a rebound in front and putting it behind Cullen DeYoung to make it 1-0 Maryland. Drawing a penalty, the Black Bears potted a power play goal after a great keep in at the line by Gunnar VanDamme, who got it to Hunter Ramos and put it home to make it 2-0 just before the end of the first period.
The penalty bug would bite the Black Bears in the second, with back-to-back penalties and giving Northeast some momentum in this game. It started with Sixten Jennersjo potting a power play goal off a rebound that saw him unmarked and put it behind William Hakansson to cut the Black Bears’ lead. Just over three minutes later, Jake LaRusso took a drop pass and used a Maryland defender as a screen to tie the game up with a wrister over Hakansson’s shoulder. Maryland tried to get things going and get the lead back, but the Generals got into the lanes to stymie the Black Bears.
Looking to break the tie early, the Black Bears got going with Ramos connecting with the back of the net again after a wonderful pass from Adam Schankula to give the Black Bears the lead again. It was short lived, with Northeast getting a keep at the line of their own and winning the corner battles leading to LaRusso wiring another shot over the shoulder of Hakansson to tie it up again. After that, both sides played cautiously, so as to not make the next mistake. Both sides did get their chances, but Hakansson and DeYoung were strong in net to keep this one tied and push it to overtime.
Getting the first chance, Piku picked off a puck and went in, but the play was called due to a questionable interference penalty on Maryland. On the power play, David Andreychuk found the open spot and scored on a one-timer behind Hakansson to put the final at 4-3, pushing Maryland losing skid to five games.
The Black Bears will get some home cooking next week, as they host the Philadelphia Rebels at Piney Orchard. Get tickets at Tickets.MarylandBlackBears.com to join in on the fun and support your local hockey club.