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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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.

Black Bears Get Three of Four Points in Johnstown

JOHNSTOWN, PA–  After a midweek game, the Black Bears went back on the road to Johnstown for the week, taking on the rival Tomahawks. Despite having three games in the past week in the bag, the Black Bears were able to keep their conditioning up and battle back multiple times; but were only able to come out with three of the four possible points on the weekend, splitting the weekend set. 

File Photo: Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

NOVEMBER 18th, 2022: BLACK BEARS (3) at Johnstown (1): Due to internet issues in Johnstown, the HockeyTV feed was not available until the last ten minutes of the game overall. Things got off to an exciting start with Magnus Gadowsky and Will Bowman getting into it 1:13 into the period, which saw Gadowsky get a double minor for roughing and a game misconduct for ripping the helmet off of Bowman during the scrum. Just after the double minor expired, Johnny Ulicny redirected a shot that got behind William Hakansson to give Johnstown the 1-0 lead. Johnstown took offensive control of the game, outshooting the Black Bears 13-7, but only notching one goal in the frame.

The Black Bears got dinged with another penalty, but the penalty kill got offense with that, with Dimitry Kebreau netting his 17th of the season off a pass from Kal Essenmacher to knot the game up at one. That seemed to wake Maryland up, as the offense was in full effect in the middle frame. Luke Van Why get his fourth of the year getting set-up from Brayden Stannard and Gunnar VanDamme to take the lead only 6:22 into the middle stanza. Late in the frame, Branden Piku netting his fifth of the year, inching ever closer to Luke Mountain for all-time franchise leader in points, with Stannard and Trey Scott setting him up to go into the locker room up 3-1. 

Johnstown tried to push to get back to even within one, but Hakansson was stellar in the third, making some key saves– including one that Johnstown definitely thought had went in, but thanks to some crafty stickwork, was kept out of the cage and preserved the 3-1 victory for the Black Bears on Friday night. 

NOVEMBER 19th, 2022: BLACK BEARS (3) at Johnstown (4) OT: The offense for Maryland was ready to go in the first period, something that wasn’t there on Friday night. The Black Bears got pucks onto Alec Rajalin-Sharp plenty of time, but only broke through at the 8:39 mark when Birch Gorman registered his first NAHL goal with a point shot whipped through the screens and into the back of the net. While the Black Bears kept the pressure on, Rajalin-Sharp was equal to the task. Moments after the Gorman goal, Johnstown got on the board as Zach Aben scored in front after having multiple whack on goal against William Hakansson to tie the game with 7:03 left in the period. 

Then the HockeyTV system broke down. 

In the second period, the rebound goals from Johnstown happened, as Aben again found a loose puck on the doorstep and put it behind Hakansson for the 2-1 lead. Both sides were getting plenty of pucks on net in the second period, but each side were only able to muster a goal. Maryland’s goal came with under three minutes to play in the period, as captain Brad McNeil evened the score with his fifth of the season. 

The final stanza had Johnstown not get many opportunities overall, but having solid chances; including a couple of odd-man rushes and a breakaway. Hakansson was equal to those chances to keep the game tied up at two. It wasn’t until under five minutes when Johnstown broke the tie again, with Will Lawrence getting his third of the year for the 3-2 Tomahawks lead. With little time left, Maryland called their timeout and pulled Hakansson with 2:23 remaining. Mounting the pressure, Branden Piku potted his sixth of the season with 20 seconds remaining to push the game into overtime, the first overtime game for the Black Bears this season. 

During the overtime, Maryland had two big chances from their big shooters– Dimitry Kebreau and Christian Catalano– but Rajalin-Sharp was able to get pieces of those attempts. The momentum from those saves helped the Tomahawks with David Matousek scoring for Johnstown with 27 seconds left to give the Tomahawks the win, snapping the Black Bears winning streak at seven. 

The Black Bears will get some home cooking this weekend with New Jersey coming to town for the first time since opening weekend. Get your tickets today at Tickets.MarylandBlackBears.com to spend your post-shopping days at The Den.

Black Bears Take Third Straight From Rebels in Midweek Showdown

SEWELL, NJ– After a weekend at home, the Black Bears went up to the Hollydell Arena to take on the Rebels. The Black Bears weren’t good guests at all, as they went into Hollydell, messed around, set a record, and took the win 5-2. 

File Photo: Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

TUESDAY NOVEMBER 15th, 2022: BLACK BEARS (5) at Philadelphia (2): The penalties came back to haunt Maryland early in the game on a cross-checking call. The Rebels would make no mistake on this chance, as David Deputy caught a Black Bear defender lose their footing and went near-side on Jack Wieneke to give Philadelphia the early lead. The Black Bears responded well after the goal with plenty of pressure on Jack Fialkoff, including a crossbar hit from Samuel Stitz’s redirection. Maryland would find pay-dirt with Dimitry Kebreau finishing off a solid play by Branden Piku’s drive to the net and Kebreau netted his 16th of the season and tied up the game. The Black Bears would get their power play goal back minutes later with Christian Catalano potting his 18th of the season with a ripper of a shot past Fialkoff to make it 2-1 Maryland. After the goal, the Rebels woke up a little more with plenty of pressure in the Maryland defensive zone, but Wieneke was equal to the task, making some big stops to keep the game at 2-1 going into the first intermission. 

Maryland came out firing in the second, forcing Fialkoff to make some big saves in the first 90 seconds of play. The Black Bears were able to break the wall of Fialkoff, as Samuel Stitz came down the right side on a 2-on-1 and fired home his third of the year to increase the Black Bears lead to 3-1. Not content with that scoreline, the Black Bears continued the pressure and got a little luck, with Adam Schankula getting his third of the year by trying to center the puck, but went off a Rebels defender’s skate and behind Fialkoff for the 4-1 lead. Some back and forth play between the two squads didn’t yield much until Catalano picked up the puck from a Stitz pass in the neutral zone and weaved through the defense, leading to a backhander for his second of the night. That goal was Catalano’s 19th, tying him with Jackson Sterrett in 2019-20 for most by a Black Bear in a season. 

Starting the final period, Maryland kept the pressure on; it was Philadelphia who would get the first goal of the frame. After a turnover in the neutral zone, Kristians Samitis put the puck behind Wieneke to make it 5-2 in favor of Maryland. The familiarity bred contempt between the two squads, with some pleasantries being exchanged and a couple of scrums after whistles. It was all for show, as the Black Bears continue their winning streak with a 5-2 win over the Rebels. 

The Black Bears stay on the road for the weekend, as they will head back to Johnstown to take on the Tomahawks on Friday and Saturday nights, with coverage of both games on HockeyTV.

Black Bears Sweep Competition for Second Straight Weekend

ODENTON, MD– Coming off a bye-weekend, the Maryland Black Bears took to the Piney Orchard ice having gone undefeated there all year (7-0-0) and still holding the top record of the NAHL. They welcomed in the Philadelphia Rebels for Veterans Day weekend, but were terrible hosts, as they swept the Rebels on the weekend, extending their win streak to five games and keeping an undefeated record at home. 

Photo: Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

NOVEMBER 11th, 2022: BLACK BEARS (3) vs. Philadelphia (0): After a week off, the Black Bears returned to home ice to start a pretty busy week ahead and the first of three meetings in five days against the Philadelphia Rebels. Things got off to a rough start for Maryland, as penalties started to mount up. The penalty kill was sharp as ever, not letting the Rebels into any scoring position while shorthanded. After some big saves from William Hakansson, the Black Bears caught a break shorthanded with Christian Catalano getting free on a Rebels’ line-change and wiring it over the glove of Krbecek for the 1-0 Maryland lead. Another penalty for Maryland was killed and then it was the Rebels’ turn for penalties. While Maryland was dominant in the first power play, they couldn’t connect at first. It wasn’t until late when Gabriel Westling got a great set-up pass from Luke Van Why and hammered it home for the two-goal lead going into the first intermission. 

Things calmed for a bit, but after the middle part of the frame, the Black Bears got into penalty troubles again with three straight penalties and four for the entire period. Luckily, the penalty kill was on top of their game, often being the aggressor offensively when down a player. Hakansson made some key stops and the defense helped him out to maintain the two-goal lead throughout the second period. 

After a feisty start to the period seeing Caleb Craven get into it with Philly’s Oliver Band; the Black Bears got a power play early in the frame. That’s when Dimitry Kebreau got on the board with a laser precision pass from Branden Piku giving Kebreau his 14th of the year and a 3-0 Maryland lead. It was the Rebels who would get into penalty troubles in the third, and while they did get some offensive looks while down a player, the Black Bears kept them at bay and were able to dictate how the clock was managed until the final buzzer to seal the 3-0 victory. 

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NOVEMBER 12th, 2022: BLACK BEARS (4) vs. Philadelphia (2): Penalties proved to haunt the Black Bears for the first period, as the chippiness of Friday night continued into the Saturday tilt. For the most part, the penalty killers were able to do their job and keep William Hakansson protected. Maryland would get their own chances offensively, with plenty of attack zone time, but often one too many passes were the undoing for the Black Bears. With a penalty with under five minutes left in the frame, the undisciplined play bit the Black Bears with David Deputy receiving a centering pass to open the scoring for the Rebels. The penalty killers would get their revenge, as the Black Bears would out work the Rebels with Brad McNeil outmuscling the Rebels’ defense and finding Christian Catalano streaking down the slot and then putting it home for his second shorthanded goal in as many nights to tie the game. 

Penalties still ruled the day for the Black Bears, as their offensive momentum often got stymied by penalties against them, with three in the second frame again. However, the penalty killers like Adam Schankula and Kal Essenmacher did the job and got more offense into the shorthanded attempts. However, it was Catalano again who made a steal at the blue line while shorthanded and made no mistake for his second shorthanded goal of the game, third of the weekend, and giving the Black Bears the 2-1 lead. Moments later, a rare even-strength goal happened for Maryland, as Dimitry Kebreau put home his 15th of the year off a great pass from Branden Piku to put Maryland up 3-1 late in the second.  

Another penalty to start the frame for Maryland gave the Rebels another power play and this time Connor Sedlak redirected a shot in front to cut the lead to within one at 3-2. The Black Bears kept their legs going, however, as they continued to push the play and were able to draw a penalty against the Rebels. On that power play, Brad McNeil netted his fourth of the year after picking up the rebound on a Trey Scott attempt and put the Black Bears up 4-2 6:02 into the third period. After that, the Black Bears shut it down, limiting any attacking time for the Rebels, while also possessing the puck in their offensive zone to run time down and secure the 4-2 victory. 

These two teams will face-off on Tuesday night in Hollydell, New Jersey with a puck drop of 8 PM.

Black Bears Keep Hot With Three-Game Sweep of Johnstown

ODENTON, MD– Coming off a hard fought weekend in Johnstown, the Black Bears played host to the Tomahawks this past weekend. Thanks to quick starts and holding the offensive momentum for most of the series, the Black Bears took all three games on the weekend against Johnstown to extend their lead in the East Division. 

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October 28th, 2022: BLACK BEARS (6) vs. Johnstown (2): The Black Bears couldn’t ask for a better start offensively in the first, as they were able to withstand early pressure from Johnstown and turn it their way. Kareem El-Bashir opened the scoring after gloving down a pass from Trey Scott and picking the top-right corner on Matt O’Donnell and El-Bashir picks up his third of the season. Ninety seconds later, Samuel Stitz gets in on the action, getting a Gabriel Westling pass and putting it short-side on O’Donnell to make it 2-0 for Maryland. With the continued pressure for the Black Bears, Dimitry Kebreau continued the scoring, creating a turnover and wiring it to the top and making it 3-0, ending O’Donnell’s night. With Alec Rajalin-Sharp in net, Johnstown used that as motivation and scored with Anthony Galante picking up a loose puck and outwaiting William Hakansson to make it 3-1. Maryland and Johnstown traded penalties, but never could convert on the power play. After the power play for Maryland, however, Christian Catalano picked up the puck in his own zone and weaved through the entire Johnstown defense and tucked it behind Rajalin-Sharp to make it 4-1 Maryland. While they buzzed more, it would be 4-1 at the first break. 

Johnstown shook the cobwebs off from the first and got a jump on Maryland to start the second, but Hakansson made some big saves in tight spots to keep the Black Bears 4-1 lead. After withstanding that wave, the Black Bears offense started to wake up again, getting plenty of chances, including a couple off the post; but nothing in the net. That was until Gabriel Westling received a cross-ice pass from Catalano and beat Rajalin-Sharp to put the Black Bears up 5-1. Some late period drama as Kaleb Tiessen and Will Bowman got into a tussle which got them a five and game for their troubles. 

The Black Bears got off to another quick start with Brad McNeil with a solid keep in the zone, drawing the defenders, and then dishing a perfect pass to Branden Piku to make it 6-1 Maryland. After trading penalties, the Tomahawks got on the board after killing off a power play, with Justin Rapp finding a loose puck at the side of the net and putting it in to make it 6-2. While the Tomahawks were pressing to get more momentum, the Black Bears kept them to the outside and the Black Bears took game one of the weekend 6-2. 

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OCTOBER 29th, 2022: BLACK BEARS (4) vs. Johnstown (2): Maryland was tested early with Johnstown wanting to get a quick start that eluded them Friday night. William Hakansson had to make some big saves early to keep the game scoreless. However, an early penalty for Maryland allowed Johnstown to score first with Anthony Galante poking home a rebound that pinballed into the net to get the 1-0 lead. Minutes later, as the Black Bears were pressing, Sean Kilcullen got his fourth goal of the year by just throwing the puck on net from the side board and beating Alec Rajalin-Sharp five-hole to tie the game up. The Black Bears would get a power play of their own towards the middle of the frame, as a tic-tac-toe passing sequence ends with Brayden Stannard getting his second of the year off a great pass from Jesse Horacek. As Maryland was buzzing, they get called for a goalie interference call against them and Johnstown took advantage with Galante taking an odd carom off the back boards and tapping it behind Hakansson to even the score. 

Johnstown kept the offense going for themselves by a continuation of a power play. The Black Bears penalty killers were strong on it, as they were able to kill that penalty and another that happened later in the frame, as they got back into form. The Tomahawks kept the pressure on Maryland, but Hakansson was able to keep the puck out, leaving the score knotted at twos. The Black Bears had few attempts on goal, coming close on their chances, but not getting any behind Rajalin-Sharp and headed to the locker room tied 2-2. 

In the last 20 minutes, it was a sectional period. The Black Bears kept the pressure on, but Rajalin-Sharp was solid in net, as the Johnstown defense kept the shooting lanes blocked off and made Maryland have to play off the rebounds. Johnstown then had a little blast of their own in the middle frame, getting behind the defense of Maryland and putting plenty of pressure on Hakansson, but the Swede was equal to the task. It wasn’t until 1:18 remaining when Luke Van Why took a hit to make a play, finding Hunter Ramos out in front, who backhanded one home to make the score 3-2. Just about a minute later, Adam Schankula made a great defensive play to get it out of the zone and Christian Catalano found the puck to put it into the empty net to seal the victory for Maryland 4-2. 

Photo Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

OCTOBER 30th, 2022: BLACK BEARS (4) vs. Johnstown (2): The Black Bears got off to an early lead with Christian Catalano getting on the board after a 2-on-1 break with Hunter Ramos with Catalano recording his 14th goal of the season. While Johnstown tried to counterattack, the defense and Jack Wieneke were solid to keep them off the scoresheet. Just past the five minute mark, Maryland struck again as Birch Gorman found Branden Piku behind the defense and Piku went blocker side to make it 2-0 Black Bears. While Maryland kept the pressure going, the Black Bears couldn’t find the back of the net. Even on a power play with sustained pressure, Maryland couldn’t cash in. As the penalty expired, Anthony Galante came out of the penalty box to catch a pass off the boards and break in on Wieneke where he got his fourth goal of the weekend to cut the Maryland lead in half. 

The start of the middle frame had some penalties on each side and then Maryland getting a power play, but the Black Bears still couldn’t crack the three-goal marker. Johnstown had a chance after their penalty kill, but Wieneke made two big saves to keep the Maryland lead. After those saves, Maryland continued their offensive momentum with Gabriel Westling getting two whacks in front of the net and putting in his sixth of the year to put Maryland up 3-1. Some penalty issues for Maryland, but that didn’t stop the offense as Trey Scott got a great pass from Kal Essenmacher and put home his second of the campaign to make it 4-1 Maryland on Scott’s shorthanded tally. 

While Maryland still kept the pressure on the Johnstown end, penalties reared their ugly head towards the Black Bears. While the penalty kill was solid for the most part, a two-man advantage for Johnstown got them on the board again, as James Barbour took the face off and weaved to the open area to put it past Wieneke to cut the Black Bears’ lead 4-2. With that goal, the Tomahawks built more momentum, starting to throw all they could at Wieneke, but the netminder stayed sharp for the Black Bears and held the lead. The momentum from Johnstown would die down with penalties of their own and Maryland would take the game 4-2 and sweep the weekend. 

The Black Bears head into an off-weekend, but return home to Piney Orchard on November 11th with a two-game set against the Philadelphia Rebels. Tickets available at Tickets.MarylandBlackBears.com.

Black Bears Split Weekend in First Trip of the Season to Johnstown

JOHNSTOWN, PA– Making their first trip to Johnstown, the Maryland Black Bears came in riding a four-game winning streak. Taking on an old foe, the Black Bears fought and clawed all weekend long, but the tight-checking history between these two teams showed itself again, as the Black Bears would have to settle for a split in a pair of 4-3 outcomes. 

Photo by Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

OCTOBER 21st, 2022: BLACK BEARS (4) at Johnstown (3): It was not the start that the Black Bears had wanted, as they were unable to really get the puck out of their zone and create any offense, making William Hakansson a little busier than normal; but coming up pretty big in the early going. While Maryland was trying to get their gears going, Johnstown would strike first with Drake Albers finding the puck off a tipped cross-ice pass and put it behind Hakansson for the 1-0 Tomahawks lead. From that point on, Maryland took over offensively and put up seven shots in the last five minutes, but still couldn’t find the equalizer in the first. 

Maryland took over control offensively again in the second and were able to keep Johnstown outside of their zone for the most part, with one big chance coming on a mini-break, but Hakansson closed the five-hole and kept the game at 1-0. Try as they might, the Black Bears still couldn’t find a way through Alec Rajalin-Scharp. 

Yet, if you throw things at the net, good things happen. Trey Scott proved that as he took the puck in the neutral zone and lofted it into the Johnstown zone, on-goal, and floated over Rajalin-Scharp’s shoulder that he didn’t even see and the Black Bears knot it up at one. With the first strike, the Black Bears continued to attack. They would get their go-ahead goal just past the midway point shorthanded, as Brayden Stannard picked up the loose puck at neutral and brought a two-on-one with Dimitry Kebreau with Kebreau finishing with a ripper for his 11th of the year, giving Maryland the lead. Special teams kept buzzing, with the power play getting on the action as Brad McNeil put home his third of the year off a Kebreau shot and putting Maryland up by two. Johnstown would strike late, with the extra attacker on; Albers threw his own shot at an odd angle that banked off of Hakansson and in the net to pull Johnstown to within one with under two to go. It took all of 20 seconds for Maryland to get the two-goal lead back, as an ill-advised rebound deflection by Rajalin-Scharp found Jesse Horacek, who cycled to Adam Schankula, who cycled to Stannard, who ripped a shot high on Rajalin-Scharp for Stannard’s first goal back as a Black Bear and making it 4-2. Twenty seconds after that, however, Johnstown cut the lead again, with Zachary Aben putting in high over Hakansson to get to within one with a minute left in the game. 

Maryland was able to hold off a late push, pinning the puck to the wall for the last 15 seconds, and taking game one of the road series by a score of 4-3. 

Photo: Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

SATURDAY OCTOBER 22nd, 2022: BLACK BEARS (3) at Johnstown (4): Maryland got out to a quick start, as Brayden Stannard’s speed was able to hinder Johnstown and force a high-sticking double minor. The Black Bears made short work of the first power play, as Dimitry Kebreau stayed hot, ripping one home past Matt O’Donnell for his 12th of the season. Maryland kept the hammer down and controlled the puck for the majority of the period, which then culminated in Christian Catalano getting his 11th of the year off a shovel shot thanks to a set-up from Sean Kilcullen to give the Black Bears a 2-0 lead. While he wasn’t tested much in the first, Jack Wieneke was strong between the pipes, settling down pucks when needed and settling the play down if called for it. 

Johnstown got more aggressive, trying to rattle the cages of the Black Bears and create some offense in their own right. However, Maryland would be able to keep the Tomahawks at bay, keeping them to the outside and not letting them get too many quality opportunities. Maryland had plenty of chances of their own, but some penalty issues would stymie the Black Bears push. With 1:23 left in the frame, Johnstown would get on the board with Gabriel Lund scoring his first of the year as the Black Bears got caught in transition and had their lead cut in half before the end of the second frame. 

The third period saw the Black Bears defense show some cracks in its armor. After holding Johnstown at bay for the first half of the period, they broke through with Will Lawrence streaking through the slot unmarked and beating Wieneke to tie the game up at two. With under five minutes to play in the period, Drake Albers puts Johnstown ahead on a tip play through traffic in front and Wienke getting bumped from behind. Less than a minute after Albers goal, Johnstown struck again; as Maryland was unable to clear the zone and Tyler Chenevert redirected a shot to make it 4-2. Try as they might, the Black Bears got to within one while shorthanded and with the goalie pulled, as Kaleb Tiessen was given a ton of time and space, which led him to rip a wrister five-hole on O’Donnell to get Maryland to within one with under 90 seconds remaining. The late push wouldn’t cash, as the Black Bears fell to Johnstown and split the weekend. 

These two teams face off again next weekend, as Maryland will play host for a three-game set Friday through Sunday. To get in on the action, head to Tickets.MarylandBlackBears.com to get your seats for the entire weekend.

Black Bears Sweep Danbury For Second Straight Weekend

ODENTON, MD– After a weekend in Danbury that saw the Black Bears take home four points, Maryland looked to do it on home ice; as they returned to Piney Orchard for the first time since September 10th. While they faced a more aggressive Jr. Hat Tricks team, the Black Bears were too much for Danbury and took four more points from them in a back-to-back sweep. 

Photo Jon Pitonzo/ FOHS Media Faction

OCTOBER 17th, 2022: BLACK BEARS (4) vs. Danbury (1): Right at the opening puck drop, the Jr. Hat Tricks were showing a new-found aggressiveness and was starting to carry the offensive play for the first bit of the game. However, Jack Wieneke was sharp between the pipes, staving off a couple of good chances from Danbury to keep the game scoreless. Maryland was able to get their feet underneath them and push the pace of play. That resulted in Maryland’s first goal with Trayce Johnson springing Branden Piku on a breakaway with Piku converting for his first goal of the season and first goal back with the Black Bears. Maryland would keep the pressure on, but couldn’t get another goal; taking a 1-0 lead into the intermission. 

The Black Bears didn’t need too much time in the second to get a two-goal lead, with Hunter Ramos notching his seventh of the season 1:31 into the second, coming down the wing and wiring one past Patrik Berzins to make it 2-0. Less than 90 seconds later, however, Danbury gets on the board on a delayed called, as Logan Nickerson getting his squad on the board; benefitting from Bohdan Panasenko’s wonderful stickhandling to find Nickerson and cutting the Black Bears lead in half. Maryland got into penalty trouble through most of the frame, but their penalty kill was stellar, including a couple of chances shorthanded; but did not cash in while keeping the Jr. Hat Tricks from tying up the game. 

It was a neutral zone tilt for most of the third period, with a total of six shots on goals combined; Maryland having the 5-1 lead in that stat. Two of those five shots resulted in goals, as the power play cashed in with Luke Van Why wiring home his third of the season with the passing game for the power play getting Danbury disjointed and allowed Van Why a lane to rip one behind Berzins to make it 3-1. To end it out, Brayden Stannard’s hard work on the penalty kill saw create a turnover with eyes on the empty net, but he got tripped up on his way towards it. Luckily, Brad McNeil was there to kill some time off the clock as he skated in to put home the team’s fourth goal to make the final 4-1. 

Photo Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

OCTOBER 15th, 2022: BLACK BEARS (3) vs. Danbury (1): Maryland continued their offensive zone domination, taking it to the Jr. Hat Tricks in the early going and tilting the ice their direction. Being able to maneuver the puck, as if they were on a power play, helped spread the zone and give Maryland the chances they got in the first. Adam Johnson had to be big for Danbury to keep the game scoreless. Danbury did crack the scoresheet first with Logan Nickerson carrying the puck around the net, throwing it out in front, and having it bounce off of William Hakansson and in the net for the Jr. Hat Tricks first lead in the last two series. However, 25 seconds later, Christian Catalano evened up the score with a seemingly harmless shot on Johnson that went behind the netminder and put the Black Bears even with Danbury. 

The Black Bears continued to pace the game offensively in the second period, but couldn’t find a way past Johnson, while Hakansson was solid in the chances he saw in the middle frame, but nothing past the Swedish netminder for Maryland. 

An early power play for the Black Bears resulted in the go-ahead goal, with Catalano going end-to-end, showing off his speed, and putting it over the shoulder of Johnson in another highlight reel play for the RIT committed forward. In the middle of the frame, Maryland had to hold off pressure from Danbury, caused mostly by some defensive lapses by the Black Bears, but Hakansson stayed cool under the pressure to keep the Black Bears up by one. To seal it, Branden Piku capped off his homecoming with an empty-net goal to give Maryland the 3-1 victory and the sweep on the weekend. 

The Black Bears now travel up to Johnstown to take on the Tomahawks Friday and Saturday nights before returning home the next weekend for a three-game set against the Tomahawks. 

Black Bears Sweep Danbury, Pick Up Franchise’s 100th Regular Season Win

Photo Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

DANBURY, CT– After some changes to the Maryland roster ahead of the roster deadline, the Black Bears had a bigger task at hand in the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks. After their six-game win streak was broken last Saturday, Maryland aimed to start a new one; which was quite successful in the sweep of Danbury over the weekend. 

FRIDAY OCTOBER 7th, 2022: BLACK BEARS (3) at Danbury (1): With new faces in new places, the Black Bears took a bit of time to find some chemistry with their new teammates, but after a shift or two– things clicked. Maryland took control offensively, tilting the ice in their favor with a 20-5 shot advantage after 20. There was nothing to show, but the seeds were being sown. Maryland did give up some chances, but Jack Wieneke was solid, despite not facing much action; making key saves when called upon. 

More pressure from Maryland, as they continued to control the pace of the game when they finally broke through. Taking a pass from Branden Piku, Dimitry Kebreau extended his goal-scoring streak to five games with a rocket on the off-wing to make it 1-0 Maryland. The Black Bears continued the pressure in the Danbury zone, as they knew they could get a second one in due time. That due time game with Christian Catalano putting him a loose puck off a Jesse Horacek shot and the Black Bears went up 2-0. Wieneke played solid in net, again not facing many top chances. Unfortunately, Danbury would get on the board with Bohdan Panasenko netting his own rebound to cut the lead in half. The Jr. Hat Tricks got some momentum off that, starting to get through the neutral zone easier and trying to sustain some pressure. Once the buzzer sounded, however, the game was still a one-goal contest in favor of Maryland. 

The niceities came through between both teams, as Danbury and Maryland traded physical barbs and plenty of scrums at the end of plays. Not much to show for it on the penalty side until the end, however. Maryland did get their two-goal lead back, as Jesse Horacek got behind the defense after a breakout and wired one to the top corner to make it 3-1. With Maryland continuing their push, Danbury tried to slow it down after the whistles before Brad McNeil and Danbury’s Sean Matthews got into a tussle, resulting in Matthews heading to the showers early. The Black Bears had a power play the rest of the game, which led them to the 3-1 victory. 

SATURDAY OCTOBER 8th, 2022: BLACK BEARS (4) at Danbury (0): Some pleasantries were exchanged during the first part of the game, with each side reintroducing themselves, but nothing came from any of it. What did come from the first was more offensive prowess, as the Black Bears got things started just past the six minute mark with Maryland keeping the puck in at the point and turning it into Kaleb Tiessen’s first goal of the season with Luke Van Why on the helper. Maryland kept the feet moving and less than four minutes later, Dimitry Kebreau had plenty of time and space to bury his 10th goal of the year and moved his goal-scoring streak up to six games while putting the Black Bears up 2-0. Danbury tried to answer back, but Jack Wieneke and the defense for Maryland were up to the task and kept all the Jr. Hat Tricks attempts at bay, keeping the 2-0 lead into the intermission. 

Tasked with killing off a penalty to start the frame, the Black Bears got plenty of chances shorthanded while keeping Danbury looking for answers. Maryland continued to tilt the ice, with their offense peppering Danbury’s Adam Johnson in net. Hunter Ramos finally connected with under five minutes to go in the frame with a rocket of a shot going right through Johnson and made it 3-0. Stacked with four lines that can score at any moment, the Black Bears continue to be a force and able to keep the opposition at bay with their stingy defense. 

Danbury tried to fight back in the third, matching their two period total in shots during the last 20 minutes, but Maryland was able to fend off the attacks, Wieneke looking comfortable in his crease. With under five minutes to play, Jesse Horacek was streaking down the wing and hit a laser cross-ice pass to Christain Catalano, who put it into the yawning cage to make it a 4-0 Black Bears lead. After the goal, things get feisty again, with a couple of cross-checking penalties to show for it. It didn’t mean much at the end, as the Black Bears preserved the shutout for Wieneke and pushed their record to 10-2-0 on the season. 

The win also marked the Black Bears’ 100th regular season win in franchise history, all under the watchful eye of Clint Mylymok. In just over four seasons, Mylymok’s squads have gotten better and better each season, putting together the right pieces for what’s needed in Maryland. Add that to the 27 players who have committed to NCAA programs in those four seasons and Mylymok has built a culture of advancement in the Black Bears organization. 

Maryland finally gets to play at home for the first time since opening weekend, as they’ll take on the Jr. Hat Tricks Friday and Saturday nights from Piney Orchard.

Black Bears Make Roster Moves Ahead of Roster Deadline

The Maryland Black Bears made some moves ahead of the roster deadline on Friday. Some trades, some releases, and some familiar faces. 

First, the Black Bears traded Leo Schwartz to the New Jersey Titans for a tender contract. In 34 games with Maryland, Schwartz had a goal and six assists. The Brown University commit will join the defending Robbie Cup champs as they revamp their roster. 

Second, Maryland welcomed back two familiar faces in Branden Piku and Brayden Stannard. Piku, who was up with the USHL Youngstown Phantoms, spent his last two seasons in Maryland with 24 goals and 63 points in 85 games. Stannard is two years removed from the Black Bears, as he played in the shortened 2019-20 season with 13 goals and 35 points. Stannard played the last two seasons split with Green Bay, Youngstown, and Lincoln of the USHL. 

The Black Bears also picked up Trey Scott from Youngstown. Scott played last season in the NCDC with the Boston Jr. Bruins with a goal and 15 assists from the point. 

With the additions, more releases had to be made. While they are not official, Birch Gorman and Cody Melanson are off the active roster for Maryland. Gorman played five games and had eight PIMs. Melanson played two games with four PIMs. 

With three players down to injury or illness, the Black Bears are carrying five over the 24 player limit and are probably going to need to make room when the injuries are recuperated.