JAMESTOWN, NY– After a heartbreaking loss last Saturday, the Maryland Black Bears travelled to Jamestown, New York to take on the Rebels looking points to help their own playoff chances and separate themselves from the cluttered pack in the East Division. Unfortunately, the Rebels came in on a hot streak and ended the weekend on a hot streak as they swept Maryland, only allowing two goals against all weekend.
FRIDAY, APRIL 1st, 2022: BLACK BEARS (1) at Jamestown (4): The start for Maryland was solid, as they got out of the gate strong and led to a goal within the first two minutes. In a rush, Adam Schankula found Ryan Bottrill who beat Noah Suggs for his 17th of the season to give the Black Bears an early lead. Trying to capitalize, Maryland would give themselves several chances in the early going, to no avail. However, the penalties would start to come for the Black Bears, as a too-many-men call led the Jamestown tying the game up off a Reid Lune shot that got deflected in front and beat Luca Di Pasquo. Moments later, a boarding call would lead to James Miller skating across the point and ripping one home to give the Rebels the lead. Stymied in the neutral zone, the Black Bears did all they could to get some offense going, with Bottrill getting free for another chance that tipped off the glove of Suggs and wide. With less than a second remaining, the Rebels would go up 3-1 as Joseph Calvarino was a trailer on a 3-on-2 and put it behind Di Pasquo and give Jamestown a two-goal lead at the intermission.
By and large, the Rebels commanded the second period. Whether it be sustaining pressure in the offensive zone or clogging up the neutral zone, the Rebels were able to have a majority of the puck possession in the frame. It didn’t hurt they had two power plays, but the Maryland penalty kill was able to hold Jamestown at bay. The Black Bears couldn’t much pressure offensively, usually have one opportunity at a shot and then having to chase the puck as it went the other way. A couple of solid chances with one being Dimitry Kebreau trying to fool Suggs with a sly cut-across move, a second was catching Jamestown in a line change, but not being able to cash in thanks to a sprawling defenseman knocking the net off the pegs on a backcheck. The score remained 3-1 after 40 minutes.
The Black Bears were able to pick up their offensive prowess a bit, control the puck a ton more in the final stanza. While they couldn’t connect on the power plays they were afforded, they were able to build up some momentum. That said, Suggs was solid in his positioning and the Rebels defense was able to clog up the lanes to not let much get through. Even with all the pressure, Maryland couldn’t find the back of the net and Lucas Klemm’s empty netter made the final 4-1 for the Rebels.
SATURDAY, APRIL 2nd, 2022: BLACK BEARS (1) at Jamestown (5): A tamer first period in comparison, as the Black Bears and Rebels didn’t go out firing as much as they did in Friday’s affair. The Rebels took advantage in the first half of the frame, causing Maryland to turn the puck over; but Michael Morelli was sharp, making solid stops and corralling the rebounds. The Black Bears had some issues with breakout passes, as they had many icing calls due to those passes missing the mark. They did, however, has some chances in the latter half of the frame, with Tyler Young and Miles Gunty getting quality shots on goal, but Nolan Suggs stood tall in his crease to keep the game scoreless after 20 minutes.
The Black Bears kept the pressure on to start the second thanks to a strong forecheck, but still couldn’t break through. It would be the Rebels that broke through first with a turnover in the neutral zone leading to Reid Lune getting his second goal in as many nights, ripping it from the top of the circle that got behind Morelli. While Maryland was able to have a solid shift after the first goal, they couldn’t figure out how to get it past Suggs. Lune would strike again, as the Black Bears were unable to get the puck out of their zone, allowing Owen West to find Lune in the slot to make it a 2-0 game. Maryland got themselves into some penalty troubles late in the frame, but as they killed off one penalty, they received another. That second one proved costly, as on a failed clearing attempt by the Black Bears; Josh Burke found John Lundy for a one-timer to make it 3-0 late in the second, which is where the score would be at the end of the frame.
Again, Maryland was able to get some offense going to start the period, including chances on a power play, but couldn’t cash in. After the penalty was killed, Lune got his hat trick after he picked up a puck that was loose off a Jak Vaarwerk shot and made it 4-0. Frustration boiled over for the Black Bears, as Ryan Bottrill speared Vaarwerk and got a five-minute major and game misconduct for his troubles. Maryland had some chances shorthanded to try and get back into it, but during possession in their zone, Lundy ripped another shot from the top of the circle to make it 5-0. Never giving up, the Black Bears pressed on, finally breaking through late in the frame with Matthew Davies coming in from the point to beat Suggs and break the shutout. Despite buzzing after the goal, the Black Bears could not find four goals in the last 4:38, leading to a 5-1 defeat.
It doesn’t get easier for Maryland, as they travel back to Middletown to take on the East Division regular season champion New Jersey Titans Friday and Saturday.