Friday night, Mother Nature tried to give the Maryland Black Bears an extra day to their marathon week of six games in eight days. The lights did come back on in the rink, but the Black Bears couldn’t get the win in the late-night due, dropping a 5-0 decision to the New Jersey Titans.
At the conclusion of this six-game marathon week, the Black Bears came out of it with a 3-2-1 record, securing the team at least a .500 points percentage for the season. That’s crucial, as the East Division of the NAHL will be (by all accounts though nothing has been made public by the league) percentage-based due to the the Northeast Generals (60) and Maine Nordiques (56) playing more than 54 games that the other four teams will play on the year. With the Black Bears having only three games remaining, every point is going to be crucial for them.
Should the Black Bears win out, they’ll have a .556 points percentage with their minimum being the .500 mentioned above. Here’s how the rest of the unclinched teams look with their minimum and maximum for the two remaining playoff spots: New Jersey (.528/.583), Danbury (.361/.546), Northeast (.367/.483).
Obviously, the Black Bears control their own destiny and really are battling to keep Danbury out. They have a one-off game next weekend against Johnstown to make up for the game that got cancelled due to Pennsylvania changing their COVID restriction for a time, then the final home weekend is against Northeast, where the Generals could play spoiler.
While this Black Bears team already owns the distinction of being the best Black Bears team in the short franchise history, while also being the first team to not have a losing record– making the playoffs would be another check-mark for this squad in an abnormal season. While there’s even more hurdles with key players being out, this team will have to look deeper into themselves to get that last drop of gas out of the tank for this three-game sprint.
Some rest and some home cooking should be able to go along way this week as they prepare and hopefully they’ll be able to let this past week be what it was and focus on the next task at hand.