Black Bears Dominate Johnstown in Three-Game Sweep

ODENTON, MD– In their final match-up against Johnstown in the regular season, the Maryland Black Bears looked to clinch a playoff spot with at least two wins on the weekend. Maryland got greedy and took at three games to sweep the weekend and clinched a berth into the Robertson Cup playoffs. 

It also marked the head coaching debut of Kim Weiss, who is the associate head coach for Maryland, but was taking over as acting head coach due to the absence of Clint Mylymok. 

Photo: Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

FRIDAY MARCH 17th, 2023: BLACK BEARS (6) vs. Johnstown (1): The Black Bears jumped out to an early offensive push, with solid puck movement and decent chances at even strength and shorthanded, but nothing got by Adam Johnson in the first half of the period. Just past the midway point, Christian Catalano got things going with a big wrister behind Johnson to give Maryland the 1-0 lead. A late power play put the Black Bears in the driver’s seat with Luke Van Why hammering home a one-timer for his 13th of the year and a 2-0 Maryland lead. However, 32 seconds later, Johnstown would get on the board with David Matousek putting home a rebound to cut the Black Bears lead in half going into the 1st intermission. 

In the second period, the Black Bears’ offense exploded starting 2:33 into the period with Caleb Craven, who was moved to forward due to roster constraints, having all the patience in the world to outwait Johnson and put a backhand home for his first NAHL goal and gave Maryland a 3-1 lead. Discipline was a factor for Maryland late, but the Black Bears responded with a shorthanded goal from Catalano, who picked up his own rebound off a mini-breakaway to make it 4-1 for the Black Bears, giving Maryland their 14th shorthanded goal of the season. The pressure continued with Brad McNeil notching his 15th of the year at the side of the net thanks to Maryland’s relentless puck movement putting them up 5-1. To end the frame, Sean Kilcullen fired home his eighth of the season off great passing from Adam Schankula and Kareem El-Bashir to give the Black Bears a 6-1 lead after 40 minutes of play. 

Penalties reared their ugly head for Maryland in the third, with four straight calls against the team. However, the penalty kill and William Hakansson were solid in their own end and held off the power play from Johnstown to preserve the 6-1 lead, then into the 6-1 victory to start off the weekend series. Hakansson made 24 saves in the victory. 

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SATURDAY MARCH 18th, 2023: BLACK BEARS (5) vs. Johnstown (1): Knowing what they were up against, the Black Bears got things going 41 seconds in with Hunter Ramos notching his 19th of the season with a power move to the net and ripping one past Alec Rajalin-Sharp for the early Maryland lead. The offense for Maryland kept control of the period with great work around the offensive zone while protecting William Hakansson and the defensive zone. With under five minutes remaining, Kaleb Tiessen got on the board with a wicked wrist shot from the left circle to make it 2-0 for the Black Bears. 

Maryland continued their hold on the offensive zone, with plenty of pressure and shots towards Rajalin-Sharp. They were able to tally their third goal with Adam Schankula getting sprung by Kareem El-Bashir allowing Schankula to go forehand, backhand, and into the net for his ninth of the year to give Maryland the 3-0 lead. The only blemish on the Black Bears was a turnover in their own zone off the breakout, allowing Maryland-native Will Lawrence to put home his 11th of the season and make it a 3-1 game. The Black Bears shook that off and controlled the offense to the end of the second period, but went into the locker room with the 3-1 lead. 

The offensive dominance continued for Maryland, holding the puck in the Johnstown zone for the majority of the period again. They would regain their three-goal lead with El-Bashir putting home his fifth of the season on a nice wrap-around after a lead pass from Schankula allowed him to use his momentum around the net and into a 4-1 lead. It wouldn’t stop there, as Riley Ruh was able to power home his fourth of the year behind Rajalin-Sharp to make it 5-1 for the Black Bears. After that, things got plenty feisty on both sides with five players– three for Johnstown, two for Maryland– receiving 10-minute misconducts with under six minutes to play in the period. Despite that, Hakansson went on to record 14 saves in a 5-1 victory for the Black Bears.

With that win, the Black Bears were able to secure a playoff berth into the Robertson Cup playoffs, their second playoff berth in franchise history. 

SUNDAY MARCH 19th, 2023: BLACK BEARS (6) vs. Johnstown (1): Jack Wieneke got the start on Sunday and faced some solid shots from Johnstown early, but a couple of big saves on top notch shots kept the game scoreless early. The feistiness kicked off in game three with Magnus Gadowsky and Zach Hixon getting into it with Gadowsky getting the decision. That sparked the Black Bears with Brad McNeil opening the scoring with a strong push to the front of the net and picking up the rebound for his 16th of the year. Maryland got into penalty trouble late in the 1st, but were able to hold off the attack and go into the intermission up 1-0. 

It only took 10 seconds in the middle frame for Maryland to strike, with Jesse Horacek taking a misplayed puck by Adam Johnson and putting it into the open cage to make it 2-0 Black Bears. Their only power play in the middle frame, the Black Bears made short work of that with Adam Schankula tipping a Dimitry Kebreau shot that then trickled past the line for a 3-0 Black Bears lead. After that, more fisticuffs with Raymond Perrault and Ryan Vellucci getting into it with a stalemate decision. Johnstown would get some life, peppering the Maryland net, but Wieneke was strong and kept a clean sheet through 40. 

Johnstown finally got on the board on the power play with Anthony Galante tapping one in at the side of the net to make it 3-1. However, Maryland didn’t let it get to them, as they withstood a surge from Johnstown, but turned it into a power play goal themselves with under five minutes to play. Horacek would find a rebound off a Gunnar VanDamme shot for his second of the game and a 4-1 lead. Only 20 seconds later, Samuel Stitz would notch his 10th of the year with a rebound off a scrum in front to make it 5-1, while Kareem El-Bashir would finish the scoring with 1:08 remaining with a great, patient play to rip home his sixth of the year to give Maryland the 6-1 win. Wieneke made 35 saves for the victory. 

The Black Bears are back home this Friday and Saturday against the Northeast Generals. Tickets are available at to get the hottest ticket in AA County.

Black Bears Gain Hard Fought Split in New Jersey

MIDDLETOWN, NJ– A battle of the top-two teams in the east took place in Middletown, New Jersey. But for the Maryland Black Bears, it would be a bit of an uphill battle with William Hakansson, Branden Piku, Adam Schankula, Caleb Craven, and Magnus Gadowsky all down with illnesses. However, the depth for the Black Bears shone through with a split in New Jersey in their last series against each other in the regular season. 

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FRIDAY MARCH 10th, 2023: BLACK BEARS (2) at New Jersey (3): With some key players out, the Black Bears were in a next-man-up mentality with defenseman Raymond Perrault and goalie Stephen Chen called up and Luke Amell moved to forward. New Jersey got out of the gates fast, but Jack Wieneke was solid between the pipes in the early going. An early penalty kill is what got Maryland going offensively with two shorthanded chances and no shots on Wieneke. Things did get feisty as the period went on with several off-setting minors. Thanks to a major penalty to New Jersey, the Black Bears were first to strike late in the frame with Brayden Stannard popping a shot over the shoulder of Zak Brice to give the Black Bears a 1-0 lead going into the intermission. 

Penaltis would haunt the Black Bears in the middle frame, as an early Maryland penalty created New Jersey’s first goal with Ben Muthersbaugh ripping a wrist shot low to beat Wieneke and knot the game up at ones. Another penalty in the midway point put the Black Bears down, with Muthersbaugh creating a near identical shot on this power play, but in snap shot form, to put the Titans up 2-1. Moments later, a turnover on a breakout by Maryland allowed New Jersey to keep possession in their zone and create their third goal with Joe Harney coming out from behind the net and tricking Wieneke to make it 3-1 New Jersey after 40 minutes. 

Both sides were running and gunning in the period, but both Wieneke and Brice were able to withstand the pressure for the majority of the period. It wouldn’t be until 12 seconds remaining in the third when Hunter Ramos got the Black Bears to within one after great work in the zone to move the puck around with the extra attacker, but it was too little, too late as the Black Bears dropped the series opener 3-2. 

SATURDAY MARCH 11th, 2023: BLACK BEARS (4) at New Jersey (3): Trying to build off the momentum to end Friday night’s game, the Black Bears got on the board first with Brad McNeil finding Hunter Ramos, who made a power move to the net and put home his 18th of the year and give Maryland the early lead. They were able to hold New Jersey at bay, though, with Jack Wieneke not seeing a lot of shots, but stopping each of the eight shots he saw to keep it 1-0 Maryland after 20 minutes. 

Another wild second period for both sides starting with Anthony Calafiore tying the game on a delayed penalty call against Maryland with a slapper from the right face-off dot. The Black Bears responded moments later with Gabriel Westling getting his first goal since November 11th on a wrister from the right face-off dot to give Maryland the lead again. While New Jersey was pressuring the Black Bears, Maryland would get a two-goal lead thanks to Luke Van Why jumping up in the play and beating Zak Brice for a 3-1 Black Bears lead. The Titans would get one back with Ben Muthersbaugh firing a shot past Wieneke to make it 3-2. Not long after that Muthersbaugh got his second of the night on an odd-angle shot that deflected off of Wieneke’s glove to tie the score after 40 minutes. 

Pleasantries would be exchanged through most of the third period, with plenty of off-setting minors being doled out by the officials. Maryland, however, would be able to get the lead back close to the midway point as Jesse Horacek poked the puck just out of the reach of Brice’s glove with the puck going right to Brayden Stannard who had the whole net to shoot at and made it 4-3 for the Black Bears. Wieneke and the defense stood strong on a late barrage and the forecheck for the Black Bears stymied any chance the Titans had with the extra attacker and split the weekend in New Jersey with a 4-3 victory. 

The Black Bears return to Piney Orchard for their last meeting with the Johnstown Tomahawks in a three-game set. Head to for the rivalry weekend.

Black Bears Split in Last Regular Season Trip to Northeast

ATTLEBORO, MA– Heading to Northeast for their final time this year, the Maryland Black Bears looked to avenge their first series in Attleboro, which they were swept. After a big night on Friday night, Saturday was a frustrating one; leading to a split weekend for the Black Bears. 

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FRIDAY MARCH 3rd, 2023: BLACK BEARS (5) at Northeast (1): Things got started early and by early, I mean before the game. In warm-ups, a pane of glass on the main rink was shattered. Luckily, the New England Sports Village is a dual rink set-up, so they shifted the game over there– but the broadcast was not able to work out their technical difficulties in the move and it wasn’t able to be seen to the outside public, despite the broadcast team’s strongest efforts. 

It took some time before the scoreless tie was broken, as William Hakansson for Maryland and Toby Hopp for Northeast kept the scoring at bay for the better part of the frame. The Black Bears got on the board first with Hunter Ramos notching his 16th of the season with helpers from Brad McNeil and Christian Catalano. Only 1:29 later, Northeast’s Frank D’ancona was able to slip one behind Hakansson to tie the game up going into the second period. However, a double-minor taken by the Black Bears would put them shorthanded at the end of the first and into the second. 

Being shorthanded was no issue for the Black Bears, who lead the NAHL in shorthanded goals. They added to that with Dimitry Kebreau getting his 20th of the season only 20 seconds into the middle stanza with Brayden Stannard and Trey Scott adding assists. At bit of controversy later in the frame, as Scott looked to have scored; though there was discussion needed between the officials. After a chat, Scott’s goal stood for his sixth of the year with McNeil and Adam Schankula on the helpers. Just past the halfway point, Samuel Stitz added his ninth of the season from Kebreau and Luke Amell to cap off the three-goal second for the Black Bears, with Hakansson being a perfect 11 for 11 in net. 

Maryland’s defense locked down the Generals in the third, only allowing six shots at Hakansson all period. The only scoring was Kebreau tallying his second goal of the night and 21st of the year with help from Kareem El-Bashir and Scott to give the Black Bears a big Friday night road win. Hakansson had 26 saves in his 21st win of the season.

SATURDAY MARCH 4th 2023: BLACK BEARS (0) at Northeast (3): With no delay to start this, Northeast got out of the gate early, peppering William Hakansson with plenty of shots early, but he was equal to the task. Maryland got going late, getting plenty of chances on Cullen DeYoung, but could not find the back of the net. Chippiness started late in the frame with plenty of back and forth jousting going on between the sides, but nothing drastic to end the first period, which ended scoreless. 

Though the physicality died down a little, Maryland kept their foot on the pedal, putting plenty of shots on DeYoung. However, even with three power plays; they couldn’t find the back of the net. Conversely, Hakansson only faced a few tough shots against, but was able to stave off the Northeast threats to keep it scoreless through 40 minutes. 

Maryland was an aggressor offensively again, keeping the pressure on, but DeYoung was frustrating the Black Bears left and right on the night. Nick Ramm opened the scoring getting a pass from behind the net right on the doorstep to open the scoring past the halfway point of the period. Joe Schubert found the open net to make it 2-0 and seconds later, Frank D’ancona found the empty net for the 3-0 lead and split the weekend. 

The Black Bears have their penultimate road series as they travel to New Jersey to take on the Titans next Friday and Saturday.

Scoring at a Premium in Black Bears Split with Rebels

ODENTON, MD– After a mid-week tilt between these two sides, they did it for a Friday and Saturday set in Odenton. Frustration was the word of the weekend for the Black Bears, especially the first 70 minutes of game-play across the two games. Though, they persisted on and were able to garner a split for the weekend. 

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FRIDAY FEBRUARY 24th, 2023: BLACK BEARS (0) vs. Philadelphia (1): Picking up where they left off on Tuesday, the Black Bears paced the offensive play from the start of the game. Even when a man short, the Black Bears’ penalty kill had more offensive output than the Rebels power play. The defensive tactic worked and limited the Rebels to only six shots through 40 minutes of play. However, even with keeping the opposition pin in their zone, the Black Bears couldn’t find any one of their shots to sneak behind Jakub Krbecek

While it wasn’t shown too much, the frustration of the Black Bears looked to set in with many players looking up to the ceiling after Grade-A chances were denied in front. The movement of the offense was as they drew it up, but the outcome wasn’t. Some penalty issues began to creep in, but only due to miscommunication with back-to-back too many players on the ice calls going against the Black Bears. Maryland has gotten tagged for too many players five times at Piney Orchard this season. After those were killed off and after 40 minutes, the game was still scoreless. 

The Black Bears continued to press with more solid chances to start the third, but it wasn’t until 5:36 when the Rebels broke the ice with David Deputy powering through the Maryland defense and getting a shot off that beat William Hakansson to make it 1-0 for the Rebels. The Black Bears didn’t looked too phased, as they continued their onslaught of the Rebels net, but could never find the equalizer, dropping another Friday heartbreaker at home by a count of 1-0. 

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SATURDAY FEBRUARY 25th, 2023: BLACK BEARS (3) vs Philadelpha (0): Maryland again started off quick, getting an early chance from Hunter Ramos, but Jakub Krbecek was on his game to start. It wasn’t until midway through the first when the Black Bears got on the board, as on a delayed penalty call, Christian Catalano picked up a rebound in front and put it away for his 26th of the season. The Black Bears continued to put pucks towards the net, but couldn’t find a second goal for the frame and went into the intermission up 1-0. 

In the second period, Maryland had plenty of chances again, but could not find the back of the net. However, the Rebels were starting to get their possession time and were firing shots at net, but William Hakansson was equal to the tasks with 14 saves through two periods. 

The Rebels would continue their push in the third period, but Hakansson and the defense was able to keep them at bay. Close to the midway point, Samuel Stitz netted his eighth of the year, coming off the bench and streaking down the slot, getting a solid cross-ice pass from Dimitry Kebreau, then going top shelf to make it 2-0 Black Bears. With back-to-back penalties, the Rebels looked to get some momentum, but the penalty kill and Hakansson were getting in the way of everything. The dagger was Luke Van Why lofting a shot in his own zone to go into the empty net for the 3-0 win. 

The shutout for the Black Bears was their sixth of the season and third against the Rebels. Hakansson recorded his fourth shutout of the year, setting the single-season record for the franchise and tying him for the all-time record. 

Maryland travels to Attleboro to take on the Northeast Generals next weekend. Both games will be on HockeyTV.

Black Bears Win in Mid-Week Tilt Over Rebels

SEWELL, NJ– A rare mid-week game for the Maryland Black Bears, as they travelled to South Jersey to take on the Philadelphia Rebels. It was the first of three meetings this week between the two teams, the other two happening in Odenton on the weekend. The Black Bears weren’t great guests and they came into Hollydell Ice Arena and took a 5-2 victory. The win for the Black Bears was their 30th of the season, setting a single-season record by the team.

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The Black Bears got things started early as they converted on their first power play of the night with Gunnar VanDamme creeping down the slot to receive a Brad McNeil pass for his second of the campaign. McNeil’s assist continued his four-game assist streak. Maryland would continue the barrage on Jakub Krbecek; but couldn’t seem to add more to their lead. The Rebels defense got into passing and shooting lanes to stymie the Black Bears more. Conversely, the Maryland defense only allowed four shots on Jack Wieneke, who stopped them all and was seeing the puck very well through the traffic he faced. 

Philadelphia got the early man-advantage in the second, but that did not deter Maryland with Brayden Stannard breaking in off a pass from Sam Stitz leading to Krbecek trying to beat Stannard– but to no avail. Stannard knocked the puck through Krbecek and into the open net to give the Black Bears a 2-0 lead. It was the 12th shorthanded goal of the season for Maryland. Moments later, as the Black Bears penalty ended, the Rebels get one back with Tyler Stern getting a pass in front and outwaiting Wieneke to make it a 2-1 game. The Black Bears did have some penalty issues for themselves, but the penalty kill was up to the chore and despite having chances on net; they only had a one-goal lead going into the third. 

It was another early start for the Black Bears with Kareem El-Bashir went to his backhand for his fourth of the year after a Trey Scott shot found El-Bashir’s stick to make it 3-1. Penalties would bite the Black Bears again by the midway point with Connor Sedlak wristing one over the glove of Wieneke to make it a one-goal game again. Maryland kept pressing with sustained time in their own zone, which paid off with Luke Van Why putting home his 10th of the year as he dropped down from the point to the slot for a backhand goal of his own to make it 4-2 Black Bears. Maryland withstood the late push by the Rebels and Christian Catalano was able to use his speed to get a dump-out from Maryland and turn it into an empty netter to seal the 5-2 win. 

These two teams meet up again this weekend at Piney Orchard. Head to to get your tickets for this weekend’s match-ups.

Black Bears Kick Off Long Week With Split in Johnstown

JOHNSTOWN, PA– Heading into a five-game in eight days run, the Maryland Black Bears started their travels in Western PA with a trip to visit the Tomahawks again. After a dominant showing on Friday, the Black Bears had a bit of a set-back on Saturday; leading to a split weekend. 

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FEBRUARY 17th, 2023: BLACK BEARS (4) at Johnstown (0): The Black Bears got off to a relatively early start, as they put a barrage of shots on Alec Rajalin-Scharp to start the game. They were able to break through just over seven minutes in when Trey Scott snuck down from the point and buried his fourth of the year from a great feed by Gunnar VanDamme to make it 1-0 Maryland. The offense would continue for Maryland, as they peppered the Johnstown net. It wasn’t until 13:26 into the frame when Branden Piku cut through the zone to go backhanded on Rajalin-Scharp and made it a 2-0 Black Bears game. Maryland had some penalty trouble, but the penalty kill and William Hakansson were strong to the task and kept it a 2-0 game going into intermission. 

Starting in the second period, the Black Bears put a stranglehold on Johnstown, not letting them in the zone for too much time and limiting them to only three shots in the middle frame. Conversely, the Black Bears were continuing to maintain zone time and get quality chances on net. One of those chances is one that Piku buried for his second of the night, cutting across the top of the circles and ripping home his 16th of the season. That goal was also momentous as it was Piku’s 100th career point in the NAHL, all of them with the Black Bears. 

As this rivalry goes, things got a little heated towards the end of the second. Christian Catalano got railroaded into the boards, causing captain Brad McNeil to step up and take on Ethan Perrault in front the benches. Right after the face off, Brayden Stannard and Johnny Ulicny got into a fight which the referees deemed staged, thus ending their nights entirely. All of this within the last two minutes of the game. 

While the rough stuff continued into the third, so did the Black Bears lockdown of their defensive zone, allowing only four shots in the third despite two power plays going Johnstown’s way. The Black Bears put the dagger into Johnstown with under 90 seconds to play as Kaleb Tiessen put away his sixth of the year off a great pass from Sam Stitz to make it 4-0, which is how it ended. Hakansson would need only 13 saves for his third shutout of the season; tying Luca DiPasquo for most in a single season for the Black Bears. 

SATURDAY FEBRUARY 18th, 2023: BLACK BEARS (2) at Johnstown (4): Johnstown was ready for the Black Bears to start Saturday, bringing more offense than they did in the last two periods of Friday’s game. However, William Hakansson was equal to the task and kept the Tomahawks at bay. Maryland had a sandwich period of solid offense in the start and end of the period, while scoring a goal that sparked some controversy due to Johnstown goalie Adam Johnson being tied up with Maryland forward behind the net when he played the puck. Playing to the whistle, Branden Piku threw the puck at the net and Dimitry Kebreau put home his 19th of the season through the Johnstown defenders clogging up the crease. 

Johnstown kept the pressure going at the start of the second, creating a turnover in front of Hakansson, resulting in Ryan Panico tying the game 2:30 into the middle frame. Tensions remained high through this game, with Maryland converting on their first power play in the 2nd period with Luke Van Why ripping one home past Johnson to give Maryland the lead just over five minutes into the frame. However, Johnstown was able to keep their forecheck strong and created a neutral zone turnover and Panico was the recipient of another goal to tie the game again just past the midway point. Less than two minutes later, Johnstown would win a board battle in the corner and Drake Albers potted a diving goal coming out of the corner into the middle of the ice to put Johnstown up 3-2. Back to that tension, as the end of the second Saturday resulted in plenty of extracurriculars leading to more penalties and misconducts. 

While Maryland tried to get the equalizer, they were unable to find a spot behind Johnson and Albers got his second of the game with an empty netter to down the Black Bears 4-2 and leading to a split of the weekend between the two rivals. 

The Black Bears now travel to Hollydell, New Jersey on Tuesday night to take on the Philadelphia Rebels in a mid-week showcase.

Black Bears Split Thrilling Weekend Against Maine

ODENTON, MD– Coming off a bye week, the Maryland Black Bears got back on home ice to take on the Maine Nordiques. With four of the first six games between these two being decided by only one-goal, it was going to be a tight weekend of play. Both days proved that in different ways, with the Black Bears splitting the weekend in their last regular season meeting with Maine. 

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FRIDAY FEBRUARY 10th, 2023: BLACK BEARS (0) vs. Maine (1): In yet another tight game between these two teams, it previewed what could be an East Division playoff match-up. For the first 40-plus minutes of the game, it was scoreless. William Hakansson and Kael Depape were solid in net for Maryland and Maine respectively, while both sides did have their chances through the first two periods. Both teams had two power plays and both teams killed their penalties. Maryland had a slight edge in the shot column, but Maine was creating more odd-man chances in transition the other way. 

It was the third period where things picked up, both sides having some solid chances and plenty of shot blocks in their defensive zone. Both Hakansson and Depape stayed sturdy in net, while both sides had issues trying to get the puck out of the zone. It wasn’t until 1:15 remaining in the third when Maine intercepted a clearing attempt from the Black Bears and Aidan Coupe was able to find the back of the net for the Nordiques. With the goalie pulled in the final minute, the Black Bears couldn’t find the back of the net despite the rebounds created from shots and Maine shut out the Black Bears for the second straight meeting between the two. 

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SATURDAY FEBRUARY 11th, 2023: BLACK BEARS (5) vs. Maine (4) OT: The start for the Black Bears on Saturday wasn’t the best, as a bouncing puck around the ice found the tape of Oliver Genest who put it behind William Hakansson to make it 1-0 Maine. Maryland tried to press back, but Maine would get another goal just 2:04 late with Anthony Achillie cut through the offensive zone and outwaited Hakansson to make it 2-0. Only 4:12 after that, Filip Wiberg picked up the puck and put it through the five-hole of Hakansson to make it 3-0 in the first half of the first period, ending Hakansson’s night in favor of Jack Wieneke. Despite a big save from Wieneke on one of his early shots, Maryland took a penalty in the middle of the frame, resulting in Aidan Coupe sneaking backdoor to hammer it behind Wieneke to make 4-0. After the media timeout, the Black Bears got on the board off the faceoff with Christian Catalano snapping one home from the top of the circle for his 24th of the year. 

In the second period, Maryland found their footing offensively, though they couldn’t get anything behind Thomas Heaney. However, the creation of offense was far and away better than what they did in the first 20 minutes. Yet, bad bounces that went against the Black Bears stymied them and kept the game at 4-1 after 40 minutes. 

With an early power play in the third, Maryland cut the lead in half with Luke Van Why creeping down the wing and getting a centering feed from Branden Piku to make it a 4-2 game. Four minutes later, Van Why would strike again with a hammer from the circle after a good dump-in by the Black Bears to cut the Maine lead to only one. The blue line kept on contributing, as a power play in the middle of the frame allowed Kaleb Tiessen to hammer a one-timer from the tops of the circles and tie the game at 4. Each team jockeyed for offensive attempts, but neither could find the net in regulation, so it was to overtime we go. 

It only took 22 seconds of overtime for the player who started the rally to end it, with Van Why taking the face-off win from Brad McNeil and the pass from Catalano end-to-end, finding the back of the net to complete the hat trick and the comeback victory. It was the eighth hat trick in franchise history, first hat trick by a Black Bears defenseman, and the second of the season. 

The Black Bears travel to Johnstown next weekend to take on the Tomahawks, the first meeting between these two teams since the middle of November.

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. 

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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 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 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.