ODENTON, MD– Knowing there is pressure coming in the standings, the Maryland Black Bears looked to get back on track this weekend against the Jamestown Rebels. With only four wins in their last ten coming into the series, Maryland had to figure out their slump quickly as we enter the last few weeks of the season. Unfortunately for Maryland, clutch goaltending and last-second scoring by Jamestown stymied their weekend, as the Black Bears were swept this past weekend in some close contests.
FRIDAY, MARCH 11th, 2022: BLACK BEARS (1) vs. Jamestown (2): For their last home weekend for a month, the Black Bears wanted to get out to a hot start and set a tone. Jamestown kept the game in the neutral zone for the most part. There were a couple of chances for Maryland off the stick of Tyler Young, but Nolan Suggs was able to keep the scoreboard at zero. Though Maryland did have a couple penalties, the penalty kill did their duty, while also getting a couple of chances offensively for themselves. Luca Di Pasquo looked sharp early, making a post-to-post save later in the first period to keep the game scoreless.
Maryland did get the quick start they wanted in the second period, as Tyler Young tapped in a rebound off a Connor Bennett wrap-around attempt to get the fish-flying and put the Black Bears on the board. Jamestown did fight back, starting to tilt the ice their way, but the Maryland defense was able to keep threats to a minimum and make Di Pasquo’s job easier. Jamestown continued their pressure, drawing a penalty off a Bennett double-minor for high sticking and the penalty kill did their job for the most part, until the end of the penalty when Luke de Vries fired a shot off the face-off as the penalty was expiring and hit a Maryland body in front and passed Di Pasquo to tie the game late in the frame. On the next shift, the Black Bears tried to get the lead back on a wonderful Jacob Brockman backhand, but Suggs stopped him to keep it tied into intermission.
Despite a quick start to the third period, the Black Bears couldn’t get many big threats onto Suggs. Their puck possession was solid, but Jamestown would be the one to break the tie as Lucas Klemm took a drop pass at the top of the circle and fired it through a crowd to give the Rebels the lead. Maryland continued the possession chances, but couldn’t find the equalizer, despite good chances from Dimitry Kebreau down low and some looks on a late power play. A last-ditch effort with the goalie pulled didn’t yield a goal and Jamestown eeks out a 2-1 win.
SATURDAY, MARCH 12th, 2022: BLACK BEARS (2) vs. Jamestown (3) SO: The first frame saw the Rebels get most of the offensive chances, but Michael Morelli played solid between the pipes and held the Rebels scoreless in the first frame. Maryland had their chances at the other end, but not as many as they mustered in Friday’s game; which allowed Nolan Suggs to hold a clean sheet at the other end for the first 20 minutes.
Maryland got into some penalty troubles to end the first period that carried over into the second period. Just like in Friday’s game, as the penalty was ending; the Rebels scored on a tic-tac-toe play that resulted in Ethan Janda’s seventh of the year to help Jamestown break the ice. Maryland had more offensive chances in the second period, starting to carry the pace after the Janda goal, but couldn’t beat Suggs. Chances from all around couldn’t find the back of the net until there was 4:31 left in the period and Vlad Polegoshko picked up a Jesse Horacek rebound in the slot and put it home for his sixth of the year to tie the game going into the second intermission.
Going into the third tied at one, Maryland tried to build off the momentum from the Polegoshko goal. However, the Rebels had other plans by holding Maryland to the outside, getting into lanes, while also not allowing Maryland to get many rebounds. Jamestown counterattacked off a turnover in the neutral zone, but Morelli came up big to keep the score knotted at one. It took until late in the game on an abbreviated power play where the Black Bears took the lead from an unlikely source, with Aidan McDowell hammering home his first goal of the year to put the Black Bears up with 1:17 to play. Yet, just as the Black Bears were about to celebrate a home win, Owen West got a near impossible pass from Ryan Waltman and put home the game-tying goal with 0.5 left on the clock to send it into overtime.
Though both teams held possession equally in the overtime, their lone shots did not go in and it went to a shootout. In the shootout, Jak Vaarwerk scored the only goal and Suggs shut the door to give the Rebels both points. Maryland dropped their third straight in heartbreaking fashion and now go on the road for the next month. It doesn’t get easier for the Black Bears, as they start the road trip against the first place New Jersey Titans next week, a team riding a three-game winning streak and having won nine of their last ten games.