If you haven’t been paying attention to Team Maryland in the EHL, maybe you should start doing so. Off to the best start in team history at 8-2-0, TM is atop the South Division standings and has the most points in the EHL– though other teams have games in hand. One of the starting points for the Black Bear Sports Group development chain, TM has built off of last seasons success and translated it into a mentality for players both new and old.
When it comes to the new faces, they are in the top three in scoring for Team Maryland. Josh Graziano came up thorugh the EHL Premier’s New Jersey Renegades, Will Rosen joined from the Walpole Express and Railers Jr. HC, while Jacob Kosinski joined up from the Northeast Generals NA3HL program. All three have gelled quickly into head coach Josh Fusco’s scheme and have given TM the ability to take off. Add that to goalies John Werber coming from the New Jersey Hitmen and Gideon Sullivan from the Albany Academy, it adds up to a great start for Team Maryland.
Yet, there has to be a core in place for these new players to learn from and to be there to help the new players get around. That starts with homegrown product Evan Donnelly, who is in his third year with TM and only three goals away from tying his single-season goal mark in the EHL. Bobby Geier is another third-year TM player and has continued to develop year-by-year. Farrell Dinn has been in the Team Maryland pipeline for a while now and has gotten some looks with the Maryland Black Bears, but still holding a 1.80 points-per-game mark in the five games he’s played with Team Maryland. On the blue line captain Sawyer Tantleff and Brian Teske return for another season to anchor on the blue line, with Teske showing off his offensive prowess with six points in 10 games and Tantleff locking down the defensive zone like very few can.
All of this comes from the top, with Josh Fusco leaving an indelible mark on this franchise since coming in three seasons ago. It has manifest itself, too. When he came in, a handful of players from his team in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton came, too– Denys Arkhypenko, Cody Rumsey, Johnny Jackson, and Evan Green. Those players knew what the coach wanted and they led by example on how to chance the culture for Team Maryland after a first year that didn’t go off so well. Just by having those few players take the lead, it helped the team for that year and years since– even though they have all graduated and went on their separate ways.
It’s a good time to be a Maryland junior hockey fan and Team Maryland is one of the reasons that is the case. However, being at the head of the pack means there’s a target on their back. We’ll have to see how well Team Maryland prepared for this and how they’ll adapt to be the hunted rather than the hunter.