Black Bears Secure Split on Old Bay Weekend

ODENTON, MD– After a weekend on the road, the Black Bears returned home for a tough match-up against the high powered Northeast Generals. While Friday night wasn’t the best for the Black Bears, Saturday had the power of Old Bay flowing through Piney Orchard Ice Arena and allowed for the Black Bears to score a split on the weekend. 

Photo Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

FRIDAY JANUARY 27th, 2023: BLACK BEARS (3) vs. Northeast (6): With six players out to injury, the Black Bears looked to power through while bringing on one of their tender players, Tyler Shaver, to help out with the squad. The Black Bears got into a bit of penalty trouble, which isn’t the best to do to a team that has three of the top-four scorers in the league. Luckily, Jack Wieneke and the penalty kill were able to kill things off. With Maryland pushing at the middle of the frame, they couldn’t solve Toby Hopp at the start. The only tally of the period was late in the frame with Frank D’Ancona scoring while falling down after a turnover at the Maryland blue line led to a quick transition the other way. Wieneke was sharp after that goal-against, making some key saves late in the frame to keep the score at 1-0 after 20 minutes. 

A frantic second period was upon us, as an early penalty for the Black Bears resulted in Ryan Schelling netting the power play goal for Northeast to put them up 2-0. Minutes later, Samuel Stitz cut across the top of the circle and whipped a wrister past Hopp to get Maryland on the board. That joy was short-lived with the Black Bears turning the puck over at their blue line and Andrew DellaDonna tipping home a shot from the point to put Northeast up 3-1. The Black Bears would strike later thanks to a two-man advantage given to them, leading Branden Piku to hammer a one-timer home from the slot to make it 3-2. Maryland would keep the pressure on the Northeast defense, thanks to some timely saves by Wieneke to keep them in it. It wasn’t until under three minutes where Riley Ruh would tap in a Hunter Ramos and Christian Catalano joint rebound to tie the game up. However, another turnover in the Maryland defensive zone gave Northeast the lead with Paul Minnehan closing the scoring of the period and keeping Northeast up 4-3. 

Discipline in key times has been rough for Maryland and the beginning of the third was no different, with two straight penalties resulting in Ryan Remick getting a backdoor goal on the power play to make it 5-3 Northeast. Black Bears had their chances later on in the game, but couldn’t find one to fall. The aggression from the Black Bears were an undoing, with a pinch from a defender turning onto a Northeast odd-man rush and a DellaDonna goal to make it 6-3. Some feistiness at the end of the game from Ervie Terwilliger of Maryland and Nick Ramm of Northeast led to double misconducts for both– but it didn’t matter with Northeast taking the first game of the weekend. 

Photo: Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

SATURDAY JANUARY 28th, 2023: BLACK BEARS (5) vs. Northeast (3): Thanks to the suspension of Ervie Terwilliger to coincide with the injuries, the Black Bears were down to 11 forwards and six defensemen for game two of the weekend. Notwithstanding, Maryland was off to an early start with plenty of chances on Toby Hopp, but nothing was able to fall for them. The attacks would pay off with a power play near the midway point of the frame and ended with Sean Kilcullen ripping one by Hopp to give Maryland the early lead. Northeast would get it right back with a shot redirecting off Paul Minnehan’s shin pad and behind William Hakansson to tie the game up 28 seconds later. 

After killing an early penalty, the Black Bears kept at it offensively, gaining the lead back after Brad McNeil crashed the net off a Hunter Ramos shot resulting in the captain’s 14th of the year for the 2-1 Maryland lead. Northeast would tie it up again minutes later with Minnehan ripping a shot through a screen to fool Hakansson and make it 2-2. Not getting down, the Black Bears continue to press with a little puck luck with under seven minutes remaining as Riley Ruh gets his blocked pass right to his blade and rips home his second of the weekend to make it 3-2 Maryland. After a couple of big saves by Hakansson down the stretch, Maryland got caught by Northeast’s forward getting behind the defense and led to Jared Scott going glove side to make it 4-3 with eight seconds left and then leading into the intermission. 

The third period was mostly possessed by Northeast as they looked to get the equalizer. Hakansson and the defense was strong with big saves and key blocks in order to preserve the one-goal lead. Maryland wasn’t without their chances, but weren’t able to get an insurance goal for most of the period. After frantic chances in the last two minutes, Kaleb Tiessen picks up a rebound at his own net and sends it into the yawning cage for the 5-3 lead and victory to split the weekend.

Maryland is off next weekend, but stay at home February 10th and 11th to take on Maine for their last match-up of the regular season against each other. Head to Tickets.MarylandBlackBears.com to secure your seats

Black Bears Swept in Maine

LEWISTON, ME– In what could be a preview of the playoffs, the Black Bears went back up to Maine to take on the Nordiques. Another weekend between these two and two great games, but Maryland would only be able to pick up one of four points on the weekend, getting swept by Maine. 

FIle Photo: Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

FRIDAY JANUARY 20th, 2023: BLACK BEARS (5) at Maine (6) OT: Things didn’t get started great for Maryland, as Maine got on the board under four minutes into the frame with Henrik Hallberg getting the opening tally after a scrum in front and tapped it in behind William Hakansson. Maryland would respond properly with a rush down the other end and drawing a power play from it. Towards the end of the power play, Adam Schankula picked up a Luke Van Why rebound and put it home for his eighth of the year to tie the game. The Black Bears kept their attack up and cashed in midway through the period with Hunter Ramos crashing the net and picking up 15th off a Schankula shot to put the Black Bears ahead. The last part of the period belonged to Maine, as they put pressure on thanks to some untimely penalties for Maryland. First, Jonny Meiers picked up his sixth of the year off a big rebound on the power play, then with under 90 seconds left, Filip Wiberg tallied his eighth of the year to give Maine the 3-2 lead going into the break. 

More penalty troubles trolled the Black Bears in the start of the second, resulting in Meiers converting for his second of the night and ending Hakansson’s night in favor of Jack Wieneke. Wieneke was tested early, but made two huge stretched out pad stops to keep Maryland within striking distance. The Black Bears woke up a little after that, putting the pressure on Maine’s defense and Thomas Heaney before Kal Essenmacher was able to break through with his fourth of the year off a rebound to cut Maine’s lead to one for the second intermission.

Offensively, in the third period, Maryland dominated, putting 16 shots on goal throughout the frame. It wasn’t until the middle portion where Branden Piku put home a power play goal, following up on the play in front and collapsing to the net to find the loose puck and tie the game. Another power play later on in the frame allowed Maine the lead back with Aidan Coupe putting away the rebound after two solid stops by Wieneke. The Black Bears answered less than two minutes later after Trey Scott found a big rebound of his third of the year thanks to a great zone presence by the Black Bears off the rush. Try as each team might, they couldn’t find the go-ahead goal in regulation, so they went to overtime. 

Deciding who got the extra point the Black Bears had a couple of chances, but it was ultimately Patrick Schmiedlin who came out of the corner, eluded a diving defenseman, and gave Maine the win halfway through overtime. 

SATURDAY JANUARY 21st, 2023: BLACK BEARS (0) at Maine (2): Maine got on the board early again, as Blake Rothstein potted his third of the year off a two-on-one transition play and beat Jack Wieneke as he was coming across to make it 1-0 Nordiques. Maryland would get their chances on Kael Depape, but couldn’t find the back of the net. The period would be one of matching minors, as twice both teams got called for penalties at the same time with the refs trying to defuse the situations. 

The second period was a back-and-forth for both times, with each side getting their fair chances, but neither could find the back of the net. Early in the third, Maryland thought they had tied the game, but a shot rang off the iron and stayed out to keep Maine ahead. Despite all the chances Maryland had in the third, they couldn’t beat Depape. Laurent Trepanier, who was solid for Maine in their last penalty kill against the Black Bears, cashed in on the empty net to make the game 2-0, which would end up being the final. 

The Black Bears head home next weekend against the Northeast Generals with Saturday night being Old Bay night for the Black Bears. Go to Tickets.MarylandBlackBears.com to get your seats today.

Black Bears Get Second Sweep of 2023 in Danbury

DANBURY, CT– After opening the weekend with a sweep, the Black Bears traveled to Danbury to take on the Jr. Hat Tricks. Danbury had lost 20 games coming into it and may have looked like a trap weekend for Maryland if they weren’t careful. However, the Black Bears battled back Friday and dominated Saturday for another weekend sweep. 

File Photo: Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

FRIDAY JANUARY 13th, 2023: BLACK BEARS (3) at Danbury (2): A rested Danbury squad came out of the shute pretty fast, attacking the Black Bears and William Hakansson early in the first frame, while holding off Maryland’s advantages. It paid off early, as Danbury got on the board first on Chase Sandu’s fifth goal of the year less than six minutes into the game. The Black Bears would get into a rhythm but couldn’t quite figure out Patriks Berzins, who is back from his trip to the World Juniors for Latvia. Despite the pressure on Berzins, nothing would come from it in the first frame. Danbury would pot another goal late into the first with a bouncing puck in the crease with the last touch by Griffin Zafke getting past Hakansson for a 2-0 Jr. Hat Tricks lead. Needing a spark, the Black Bears’ captain Brad McNeil got into a tilt with Jacob Roberson, which led to a five and ten for fighting, but an additional two to Roberson gave Maryland a power play to start the second. 

It wouldn’t take long for Maryland to take advantage of the power play, with Christian Catalano notching his 23rd of the year off a wicked wrister getting past Berzins and helping Maryland cut the lead in half. After killing off an extended five-on-three, Maryland drew a penalty of their own, putting them on another power play and also cashing in on it. Kal Essenmacher cranked a one-timer for his third of the year and helped Maryland even up the scoring. The Black Bears did find some fortune at the other end, with Danbury looking to take the lead, but somehow the puck didn’t cross the goal-line thanks to the Maryland defense coming back. Not only that, but Hakansson came up big in a late flurry in front of the net to keep the game tied after 40. 

Looking to get a lead on the night, the captain came through again, as Brad McNeil broke the tie by driving to the net and picking up an Adam Schankula rebound to make it 3-2. Danbury tried to respond and put plenty of pressure on the Black Bears, including a shorthanded breakaway– but Hakansson and the Black Bears defense were equal to the task and kept the Jr. Hat Tricks in check and took home the come-from-behind victory in the first game of the weekend. 

SATURDAY JANUARY 14th, 2023: BLACK BEARS (6) at Danbury (0): The chippiness of this game started early and resulted in the Black Bears getting the first power play of the game. That paved the way for Adam Schankula to pot his seventh goal of the year off an incredible play by both Luke Van Why and Kaleb Tiessen to keep the puck in the zone and keep the play alive. Danbury would make some push-back against Maryland, but Jack Wieneke was solid in his crease and kept the Jr. Hat Tricks at bay. The rough stuff continued with Schankula getting into the second fight of the period– the first was Caleb Craven– and had a party in the penalty box for the Black Bears, going into the locker room up 1-0. 

Another early power play for Maryland paid off with Brad McNeil getting a redirection on a Christian Catalano shot to make it 2-0 for the Black Bears. Three minutes later, the Black Bears got a third power play goal of the night, this time Branden Piku picked up a blocked shot and wired it home to make it 3-0 for the Black Bears on three power play goals. At the middle of the frame, Trayce Johnson took the face-off from Kal Essenmacher and ripped home his first of the year for a 4-0 lead and the end of Patriks Berzins’ night. Maryland would continue to dominate Danbury, outshooting them 13-3 and taking a 4-0 lead into the last period. 

When it’s your night, it’s your night– as the Black Bears scored 16 seconds into the period when McNeil attempted to dump the puck in and it hit the stanchion along the glass and fooled Matt O’Donnell who was coming out of his net to play it– but the puck went right into the open net for a 5-0 Black Bears lead. Minutes later, Samuel Stitz picked up a Catalano rebound to make it 6-0 for Maryland. The rest of the game, Maryland just kept the Jr. Hat Tricks at bay to preserve the shutout for Wieneke, his second of the season. 

The Black Bears next travel up to Maine to take on the Nordiques, who they saw just two weekends ago.

Black Bears Team Up with Old Bay For January 28th Game

On Thursday, the Maryland Black Bears announced that they are teaming up with Old Bay Seasoning for something pretty special to happen January 28th against the Northeast Generals. Not much information to be told on it, but you have to think themed jerseys and maybe some merch will be available and the night will be filled with plenty of good stuff in-person.

This is the second time the Black Bears have had a Maryland theme night; the first coming in the inaugural season with the state flag themed jerseys (though the flag was upside down). Since then, the Black Bears bring the state pride most every game with the flag adorned on the home yellow and alternate red jerseys, as well as the old away black jerseys

If you don’t know anyone from Maryland, Old Bay Seasoning is the seasoning of Maryland. Created in Baltimore in 1939 and still holding headquarters there today, Old Bay is a giant staple in the Old Line State used to flavor pretty much everything– from fries and chicken to vodka and chocolate; Marylanders will put that ish on everything. 

In October 2022, Route One Apparel put out an Old Bay hockey jersey on their storefront. Of course, many people were hyped for it– including myself. After that happened, I heard some whispers that the Black Bears could be teaming with Old Bay in the future and whoomp, there it is. 

Whether or not the Black Bears will follow the same pattern as the Route One jerseys remains to be seen, but to be able to have this iconic brand team with the Black Bears is fantastic for junior hockey in Maryland and bring the sense of community that the team has carved out since day one even further out into the state of Maryland. 

To help celebrate this occasion and for other teams for your Black Bears, head over to Tickets.MarylandBlackBears.com to get your seats quick, because they’ve been going fast.

Black Bears Kick Off 2023 With Sweep of Maine

ODENTON, MD– After three weeks off, the Maryland Black Bears took the ice to kick off 2023, hoping that there wasn’t too much rust on them heading into the new year. After a slowish start, the skill and depth of the Black Bears was on display, as they were able to take both games from the Maine Nordiques and kick off the 2023 portion of their schedule with a sweep. 

Photo: Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

FRIDAY JANUARY 6th, 2023: BLACK BEARS (6) vs. Maine (2): Sensing a bit of rust from three weeks off, Maine took it to the Black Bears to start, pinning Maryland in their zone for a bit to start off the game. William Hakansson didn’t seem to mind, turning away the attempts from the Nordiques and giving the rest of the team a big boost to get back into game play. After an initial flurry, the Black Bears got on the board with Samuel Stitz corralling a rebound off his deflection from a Christian Catalano shot and putting it past Thomas Heaney to make it 1-0 Maryland. Maine still continued to press, but the Black Bears and Hakansson withstood that, while also getting some offensive mojo back in the second part of the period, but went into intermission up 1-0. 

The Black Bears came out firing in the second period, notching the 2-0 goal only a minute and a half into the frame with Adam Schankula tipping a Kaleb Tiessen shot into to give the Black Bears a two-goal lead. The Black Bears kept the pressure on and tried to extend the lead to three, but Maine was able to get on the board midway through the period with Nick Bernardo finding a seam through a multi-level screen to sneak one by Hakansson to cut the Black Bears lead in half. Maryland responded well with more firepower at Heaney and finally getting a cash-in with Hunter Ramos notching his 13th of the season after Brayden Stannard led the pass over to Ramos for a mini-break that Ramos didn’t miss on to make it 3-1. A late power play for Maryland added to their lead with Sean Kilcullen jumping up in the play and batting home a loose puck for his sixth of the year with under a minute in the period for a 4-1 Black Bears head going into the intermission. 

In the third, the game was a bit more of a back-and-forth like the first period, both teams getting sustainable time in their offensive zones. There was a bit of penalty trouble for Maryland, but the penalty kill was able to keep the threats away from Hakansson and kill off the disadvantage. Captain Brad McNeil got into the party with his 10th of the season putting home a rebound while getting hit in front of the net to put Maryland up 5-1. Maine tried to get back into it late in the period with Alexey Yarmulnik making it 5-2 off a transitional rush play, but the Black Bears would seal the deal late on Schankula’s second goal of the night into the empty net and giving the Black Bears a 6-2 win. 

Photo: Jon Pitonzo/ FOHS Media Faction

SATURDAY JANUARY 7th, 2023: BLACK BEARS (4) vs. Maine (3): Maryland got out to a better start on Saturday, getting plenty of offensive possessions to start; but Kael Depape was standing tall in net for Maine. While things were falling for Maryland, Maine got a solid bounce for the first goal, as Laurent Trepenier got the last touch on a bouncing puck to give Maine the opening salvo. Maryland had plenty of chances after the goal, but still couldn’t find the back of the twine to tie up the game, going into the intermission down. 

Much like Friday, the Black Bears got on the board early in second with Christian Catalano breaking his eight-game goal drought after picking up his own rebound of a shot that hit the post and putting it past Depape to level the score. The Black Bears kept on pressing, getting plenty of opportunities on the power play early, but could not get the go-ahead goal just yet. It wasn’t until the second power play in the period where Kal Essenmacher picked up a rebound from Brad McNeil’s big drive to the net to give Maryland their first lead of the game. Late in the frame, however, another bouncing puck eluded William Hakansson and the Black Bears in the crease with Jonny Meiers getting the credit for the game-tying goal. 

With a carry-over power play, Maine took control looking to carry their momentum into the third and they were able to take the lead with Henrik Hallberg getting a feed in the slot as the power play expired to put Maine up 3-2. Maryland put pressure on, as they were awarded a power play, but couldn’t beat Depape; which led to the Nordiques trying to add to their lead, but the Maryland defense shut them down. Maryland was able to get some sustained pressure offensively after a Maine wave, tying the game thanks to Hunter Ramos putting home an Adam Schankula rebound for his 14th of the year. Each team would exchange power plays, but be unable to convert, going into the last five minutes of the third knotted up. With under five remaining, Catalano picked up the puck from Trayce Johnson behind the net, went end-to-end for another highlight reel goal to give Maryland the lead once again. Though Maine pressed towards the end, the Black Bears defense was stellar to hold onto the lead and take four points this weekend in a sweep of the Nordiques.  

The Black Bears will now travel to Danbury to take on the Jr. Hat Tricks Friday and Saturday nights.

Where To Have an Outdoor Game in Maryland

Chevy Chase Country Club Rink circa 2015

While the allure of outdoor games could be winding down for some, there is still some romanticism and hype around playing a league game outside in the elements. That happened recently with a Maryland squad as UMBC played outside and beat Kutztown University 5-4 in the DVCHC Winter Classic. The NAHL just had one in New Mexico– so why couldn’t Maryland hold one next?? One question that goes on in my head is what Maryland based team could hold an in-state outdoor game and where it could be played. 

The last outdoor game that happened in Maryland that I can remember is the Stadium Series game at Navy Stadium in 2018. To the best of my knowledge, no club team played after that– though I could be very wrong in my memory of it. That said, hard pressed to think Navy will be able to play there any time soon just due to the cost and logistics of the whole order– though it would be cool to see a Navy/West Point game go on there. The same thing kind of goes for the Terps and SECU (Byrd) Stadium, where it’d be great to have a game there– but everything would have to be perfect. 

You’d almost have to think of a high school stadium or smaller college football stadium to start and then think of logistics after that with rink set-up, maintenance, take down, all of that. There are plenty of those around– but alas, how much would the ice and all of that cost?? A 2011 article on the matter estimated around a $850K cost for the AJHL’s Fort McMurray Oil Barons to host an outdoor game by itself with no NHL help around. Of course, Fort Mac is a big oil town and there’s plenty of money to go around. With inflation, that’s $1.125M in 2022 dollars. A lot of money for a one-off event. 

When it comes to the NAHL event in New Mexico earlier this month, the Ice Wolves held it at the Los Alamos Ice Rink, which is a full-time outdoor ice rink in New Mexico– not unlike what Chevy Chase has at the Chevy Chase Country Club. Some consider Herbert Wells Arena an outdoor rink, but it has a solid roof with open sides to the rink. Laurel has the Whitey’s rink, but that’s far too small. Same goes with a lot of the pop-up rinks Maryland has in the winter– though I’d love to see an ACHA or NAHL game try to happen on the Glen Burnie outdoor rink. 

Back to Chevy Chase for a minute– that could be the easiest destination for some teams, especially since a good amount of them are to the southwest of the state– like the Terps and Montgomery College. Heck, even the Black Bears could maybe make the trip down to play in an event there; though it might not have the space for the spectator’s that may want to make the trek down to experience that. Regardless of the case, it would be a nice little change of pace and a solid destination game for any of these teams in the area to experience and partake in just to say they did it. While it might be a little worn out, it’s still a solid story to tell and an event people would want to witness. 

Black Bears Take Three of Four Points in Classic Weekend Against Maine

LEWISTON, ME– In their last series of the 2022 calendar year, the Maryland Black Bears made the trip up to Maine to take on the Nordiques for the first time this season. Two teams that historically have matched up very well put on another show this weekend, with both games going to extra time and both teams pulling out victories and going home with three points this weekend. 

File Photo: Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

FRIDAY DECEMBER 16th, 2022: BLACK BEARS (5) at Maine (4) SO: Maryland tried to get things started with an early power play, but could not connect, despite having solid time in the offensive zone. Maine, however, looked to use their speed against the Black Bears defense, sneaking forwards behind the Maryland blue liners. Even with that, William Hakansson was able to deny the Nordiques’ efforts with some solid saves early on. It took until the middle of the frame for Maryland to get rolling, starting with Hunter Ramos potting home his 12th of the season by pick-pocketing the defense and walking in to rip a shot over the shoulder of Thomas Heaney to give Maryland the lead. Maine took a penalty later on the period and even though Maryland didn’t convert, Samuel Stitz tallied his fourth of the campaign two seconds after the penalty expired with Riley Ruh putting a great pass to Stitz and the Air Force commit hammered it home to put the Black Bears up 2-0. Maine counter-attacked after the goal, but Hakansson was sharp; while also getting help from his defense. That included Luke Van Why deflected a rebound attempted out of harm’s way to keep the clean sheet alive after 20 minutes. 

The Black Bears would continue to attack the Nords zone, sustaining possession plenty in the first part of the second, but unable to find the space behind Heaney. As has been a trend, the Black Bears attacked so well, but came up short; then the opposition went the other way and cashed in. Maine would cash in with Kim Hilmersson hammering a rebound from the circle to put Maine to within one goal. Less than two minutes later, Maine tied the game after beating out an icing and Nick Bernardo tagging a one-timer passed Hakansson to even the score. With 5:25 remaining, the Black Bears get back the lead with Van Why potting his fifth of the year after getting a drop pass from Ramos and went post and in to give Maryland the 3-2 lead. One minute later, however, Maine would tie it back up with Bernardo again taking a turnover, skating in, and wired a shot top corner as the score was deadlocked after 40 minutes. 

In the makings of a regular season classic, the Black Bears started to get some mojo back and would cash in on another power play chance, as Sean Kilcullen hammered a shot as he crept down the right side for his fifth of the season and gave Maryland the lead again. The Maine counter-attack was fast and furious with the Black Bears absorbing all they could and keeping their lead in the slimmest of manners. It wasn’t until a late icing and defensive zone faceoff where the Nords would tie it up. With 10 seconds left, Anthony Achille tapped in a rebound off the post to put this game into overtime. 

The overtime period was very back and forth with each side having prime chances, but Hakansson and Heaney kept their squads in it with stellar saves and pushed it to a shootout. During the skills competition, the goalies shone through, too. Both squads scored a goal in the third and final regulation round with Stitz and Jonny Meiers scoring during the first three. The goalies made big saves following that, minus the times where the forwards just lost the handle of the puck when they came in. It all ended when Kareem El-Bashir made a simple forehand/backhand move to beat Heaney, while Hakansson was able to force Aidan Coupe to lose the puck giving the Black Bears a dramatic shootout win. 

SATURDAY DECEMBER 17th, 2022: BLACK BEARS (3) at Maine (4) OT: The Nordiques were quick on the Black Bears, controlling the offense for the first part of the frame. William Hakansson was stellar to start the game and stave off the attack from Maine. Maryland got on the board first again, as Brad McNeil put an almost no angle shot on net and it squeaked under Kael Depape’s elbow and gave Maryland the lead. The Black Bears kept the pressure on and started to pin the Nords in their own zone. Like the night before, Maryland got a two-goal lead with Branden Piku finding a seam in the offensive zone and ripping home his 11th of the campaign for the 2-0 lead. That goal stirred Maine up, as they were firing more and more at the Black Bears, who withstood the pressure and went to the locker room up two goals. 

Maryland kept the pressure on the Maine goal, firing plenty at Depape. Kaleb Tiessen was able to find a gap on Depape, with a wrister from the slot to make it a 3-0 game. However, that did not bury the Nordiques who kept their speed going and kept attacking the Black Bears, finally paying off with Oliver Genest picking up the puck at the side of the net and tucking it behind Hakansson for Maine’s first goal. Less than two minutes later, Maine struck again as Filip Wiberg redirected a shot from the point to cut the Black Bears lead to one. Maine’s speed and tenacity was on full display, not giving Maryland much time or space to get out of their zone or attack offensively as they had in the first half of the game. The Black Bears were able to go into the locker room up by a goal. 

The net front presence by the Nords would prove havoc for Maryland, as Maine was getting quality chances due to jamming up the front of the crease. It paid off with Genest getting his second of the night on a redirect in front and fooling Hakansson to tie the game. The Nordiques outshot the Black Bears 17-6 in the third period, but Hakansson stayed sharp to keep the game tied. Maryland’s offense just couldn’t break through the neutral zone for Maine and they were unable to get sustainable time in the offensive zone. However, this game would need extra time to decide with both teams getting a point. 

In the overtime, the Black Bears had plenty of possession time and had some good looks on Depape, but the right-handed catch goalie was equal to the task and shut down the Black Bears offense. With only ten seconds left, Maine got the extra point with Evan Orloff one-timed a shot from the slot to win it and split the weekend for both teams. 

These two teams will play each other in three weeks time, but it’ll be at Piney Orchard in the first games of the new year for Maryland. Tickets are available at Tickets.MarylandBlackBears.com so you can start your new year off right with the Black Bears.

Black Bears Close Out 2022 Home Schedule With Dramatic Win in Weekend Split

ODENTON, MD–  Coming into their final home weekend of 2022, the Maryland Black Bears hoped that some home cooking would right their ship, as they came into this set against the Philadelphia Rebels on a five-game losing skid. While Maryland was in command of the offensive for the majority of the weekend, they were only able to come out of it with two points– but got those two points in dramatic fashion.

Photo: Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

FRIDAY DECEMBER 9th, 2022: BLACK BEARS (1) vs. Philadelphia (3): While the Black Bears started off with some sustained pressure in the zone off the opening faceoff, they were the ones to cede the first goal of the night, with Kris Samitis finding a rebound in front and potting home the game’s first goal. After the goal, the Rebels continued to attack, but William Hakansson was determined to not let the next one in, making some solid saves. Maryland got the power play around the middle of the frame and despite solid movement in the zone, nothing came of their chances. After the power play, Maryland continued the attack, but couldn’t get it to the inside often. When they did get chances, Jakub Krbecek was there to deny them, as the Black Bears went into the locker room down one. 

Thanks to two power plays early, the Black Bears were able to put some much needed pressure onto Krbecek, but couldn’t get any behind him. With sustained zone time, the Black Bears held possession very well, but the puck luck wasn’t on their side. After another offensive push, the Rebels went the other way and Carter Casper was able to get a long rebound off a Max Marquette shot to make it 2-0 Rebels. After the goal, Maryland picked up the pressure again, but the blocked shots by the Rebels stymied their plans to get on the board. Try as they might, the Black Bears were held scoreless in the second and go into the second intermission looking to find that elusive goal. 

Another fast start from the Black Bears with two solid chances from Brad McNeil and Kal Essenmacher, but Krbecek was equal to the task to keep his sheet clean in the evening. Trying to stretch the ice, the Black Bears were looking for home-run passes, but they couldn’t connect and pinned Maryland in their own zone due to icing calls from those passes not connecting. But hard work paid off for Maryland, as another flurry of shots came at Krbecek and McNeil was able to find the puck and tuck it home to get the Teddy Bear Toss goal and cut the Rebels lead in half. A late assist was given to Branden Piku, who tied the all-time points mark at 82 with former captain Luke Mountain. While buzzing some more, the Black Bears got called for a late penalty and couldn’t get all the pressure they could in the final minutes. Even so, Maryland pulled Hakansson and Tyler Stern went the length of the ice and scored to make the final 3-1. 

Photo: Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

SATURDAY DECEMBER 10th, 2022: BLACK BEARS (5) vs. Philadelphia (4) OT: Trying to snap their skid, the Black Bears were the aggressors offensively, trying to get to Jakub Krbecek early, but could not find the back of the net in the early going. As has been happening recently, despite all the chances the Black Bears get, the opposition is able to pick up the puck and get on the board. That happened in this game, as after a flurry of chances; Max Hamstad was able to skate down the ice and rip one past Jack Wieneke to make it 1-0. Maryland didn’t sulk, as they continued the aggressive forecheck, which created a turnover at the point, leading to Brad McNeil getting the first Maryland goal again, as Dimitry Kebreau found the captain coming down the slot and put it right on McNeil’s stick for him to rip one home to tie the game up. No rest in this game, as the Rebels got back into the game with Charles Panchisin picking up a deflected puck at the side of the net and sliding it in for a 2-1 Rebels lead. After a bit of back and forth, the Black Bears tied it up late on the power play with Hunter Ramos finding Branden Piku in front for the goal and record-breaking point– as it moved Piku into sole possession of all-time points for the Black Bears. 

Coming off a strong finish, the Black Bears again took command offensively, not letting the Rebels get much into the offensive zone, even with the Rebels getting some power plays. However, the bouncing pucks would be an undoing of the Black Bears, both in the offensive end of the ice with pucks not settling down for Maryland and then on another Rebels’ power play– the puck bouncing off a deflection and landing on David Deputy’s stick for him to put it in to make it 3-2 midway through the middle frame. More pressure from Maryland was thwarted and they went into the intermission down by one. 

The Rebels got off to an early start, as Hamstad got his second of the game off a rebound in front of the net and gave Philadelphia a two-goal lead. Maryland kept hustling, creating plenty of chances while shorthanded and kept that going through the first half of the period to try and make it a one-goal attempt. That came when Brayden Stannard finished off a give-and-go with Adam Schankula to put Maryland to within one. With that goal, the Black Bears get an extra gear and after the media timeout were able to even the score with Gunnar VanDamme driving to the net and was taken down as he tapped in a Piku pass behind Krbecek, which was initially called off. After a discussion, the referee and linesmen get the call right and VanDamme ties the game. Each side had their chances late to end it in regulation, but this game couldn’t be decided in regulation. 

It was an interesting 1:09 of overtime, as Samuel Stitz was hauled down and ran into Kbrecek. Krbecek then punched Stitz in the head and back. Stitz was given a minor penalty and Krbecek was given a major and was ejected from the game. Just after the fracas, Wieneke made a huge save on a mini-break to keep the OT going. On the ensuing power play, the Black Bears kept possession and worked the puck around wonderfully to find Piku who hammered home a one-timer pass to end the game and end the Black Bears 2022 home schedule with a victory. 

Photo: Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

The Black Bears are on the road for the last series of the weekend, as they head up to Maine to take on the Nordiques for the first time this season before the holiday break.

Black Bears Can’t Manage Breaks, Drop Two to Northeast

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. 

File Photo: Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

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.

Black Bears Drop Pair to New Jersey

ODENTON, MD– Coming back home to the friendly confines of Piney Orchard, the Maryland Black Bears looked to continue their undefeated run at home. However, they ran into a New Jersey Titans team that’s on a hot streak. For the first time all season, the Black Bears lost at home and also got swept, dropping both games to the Titans and looking for answers on how to stay disciplined and when to get bounces in their favor.

Photo: Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

FRIDAY NOVEMBER 25th, 2022: BLACK BEARS (3) vs. New Jersey (5): The after effects of a Turkey Day meal did not slow down the Black Bears, as they got off to a quick start. Plenty of chances for the Black Bears early, but they couldn’t find the twine behind Zakari Brice. Even with chances on the power play, Maryland was held scoreless for the first half of the frame. That was until the penalty kill and Dimitry Kebreau changed that. With the puck going to the point, Kebreau snatched the puck from a Titan’s defender and took it all by himself and beat Brice to make it 1-0. That was Kebreau’s fifth shorthanded goal of the season, setting the single-season mark for most by a Black Bear. Maryland wouldn’t quit, as they were on puck carriers left and right; creating turnovers and opportunities for themselves, but they couldn’t find another one behind Brice after 20 minutes. 

New Jersey came out in the second with a purpose, as they attacked William Hakansson early and often in the first five minutes. Despite Maryland having solid chances in their own end, the Titans would tie the game with Eric Charpentier getting a loose puck and ripping it over the shoulder of Hakansson to even the score. Moments later, the Titans would take the lead as the Black Bears missed coverage on the backdoor play and Owen Luik had all day and put it in to put the Titans up 2-1. The Black Bears flipped the switch after that and pushed against the Titans. They would level the score with Kaleb Tiessen hitting Christian Catalano with a home-run pass and Catalano making no doubt about it for his 20th of the season and a tie game. With that goal, Catalano set the Black Bears’ single-season record for goals. The tie was short-lived, as after the media timeout; Ben Muthersbaugh got the rebound on the backdoor and puts it into the yawning cage to make it 3-2 New Jersey. Caleb Craven tried to ignite the Black Bears in a fight with Anthony Calafiore, but a double minor for Maryland killed that momentum. The Titans would extend their lead with a redirection by Levante Keresztes off a rush and gave New Jersey a two-goal lead. 

Knowing they needed a big period, the Black Bears were on the attack from the hop, as they swarmed the net of Brice and tried to cut the lead. It took them a bit, but with 12:09 remaining, Hunter Ramos picked up a rebound from an Adam Schankula shot and cut the deficit to one goal. Maryland tried to find the equalizer, but couldn’t get a bounce to go their way. With 1:25 remaining, New Jersey sealed the game with Michael Young winning a puck battle off the face off and putting it behind Hakansson to make it 5-3, the eventual final. 

Photo: Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

SATURDAY NOVEMBER 26th, 2022: BLACK BEARS (1) vs. New Jersey (2): The Black Bears got out of the gates hot with some quick chances against Zakari Brice, but didn’t get any to fall. Down the other end, New Jersey started to carry some of the offensive play in the middle part of the frame, but William Hakansson was stellar on the chances– many of them in close– to keep the game scoreless. The Black Bears would lose a big part of their squad at the end of the frame, with Sean Kilcullen getting a spearing major and game misconduct. The start of the major penalty kill was nullified thanks to Adam Schankula’s hard work at the point to get a block and draw a penalty on a possible break the other way. 

Into the second, New Jersey got into some penalty troubles, but the Black Bears couldn’t cash in. After one of the early penalties for New Jersey expired, Brendan Dumas had a breakaway chance out of the box, but Hakansson made a big pad stop and then gloved the rebound attempt by Brady Hildreth to keep the game scoreless. Tempers flared between Dumas and Christian Catalano, resulting in five minute fighting majors for both, while Dumas getting a game misconduct. While the Black Bears couldn’t score on the power play from an additional Dumas minor, they kept attacking Brice and finally broke through. Schankula drove the net and Brice blockered it into his defenseman and it trickled into the net for Schankula’s fourth of the year with 1:40 left in the middle frame, which is how the period would finish. 

At the beginning of the third, the penalty bug caught the Black Bears and began an unravelling. Riley Ruh got a five minute major and game misconduct on a boarding call and New Jersey cashed in to start the power play. Dominik Bartecko skated the puck around the zone and brought it to the left circle and ripped it behind Hakansson to tie the game up. Moments after the goal, Maryland got dinged for another penalty to put them down two men. Bartecko struck again, with Ben Muthersbaugh finding Bartecko streaking down the slot and Bartecko went glove side on Hakansson to give the Black Bears the lead. Trying to get the equalizer, the Black Bears couldn’t get a bounce to get past Brice, getting swept for the first time all season by a score of 2-1. 

The Black Bears will travel up to Massachusetts to take on the Northeast Generals for the first time this season on Friday and Saturday nights.