Black Bears Sweep Competition for Second Straight Weekend

ODENTON, MD– Coming off a bye-weekend, the Maryland Black Bears took to the Piney Orchard ice having gone undefeated there all year (7-0-0) and still holding the top record of the NAHL. They welcomed in the Philadelphia Rebels for Veterans Day weekend, but were terrible hosts, as they swept the Rebels on the weekend, extending their win streak to five games and keeping an undefeated record at home. 

Photo: Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

NOVEMBER 11th, 2022: BLACK BEARS (3) vs. Philadelphia (0): After a week off, the Black Bears returned to home ice to start a pretty busy week ahead and the first of three meetings in five days against the Philadelphia Rebels. Things got off to a rough start for Maryland, as penalties started to mount up. The penalty kill was sharp as ever, not letting the Rebels into any scoring position while shorthanded. After some big saves from William Hakansson, the Black Bears caught a break shorthanded with Christian Catalano getting free on a Rebels’ line-change and wiring it over the glove of Krbecek for the 1-0 Maryland lead. Another penalty for Maryland was killed and then it was the Rebels’ turn for penalties. While Maryland was dominant in the first power play, they couldn’t connect at first. It wasn’t until late when Gabriel Westling got a great set-up pass from Luke Van Why and hammered it home for the two-goal lead going into the first intermission. 

Things calmed for a bit, but after the middle part of the frame, the Black Bears got into penalty troubles again with three straight penalties and four for the entire period. Luckily, the penalty kill was on top of their game, often being the aggressor offensively when down a player. Hakansson made some key stops and the defense helped him out to maintain the two-goal lead throughout the second period. 

After a feisty start to the period seeing Caleb Craven get into it with Philly’s Oliver Band; the Black Bears got a power play early in the frame. That’s when Dimitry Kebreau got on the board with a laser precision pass from Branden Piku giving Kebreau his 14th of the year and a 3-0 Maryland lead. It was the Rebels who would get into penalty troubles in the third, and while they did get some offensive looks while down a player, the Black Bears kept them at bay and were able to dictate how the clock was managed until the final buzzer to seal the 3-0 victory. 

Photo Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

NOVEMBER 12th, 2022: BLACK BEARS (4) vs. Philadelphia (2): Penalties proved to haunt the Black Bears for the first period, as the chippiness of Friday night continued into the Saturday tilt. For the most part, the penalty killers were able to do their job and keep William Hakansson protected. Maryland would get their own chances offensively, with plenty of attack zone time, but often one too many passes were the undoing for the Black Bears. With a penalty with under five minutes left in the frame, the undisciplined play bit the Black Bears with David Deputy receiving a centering pass to open the scoring for the Rebels. The penalty killers would get their revenge, as the Black Bears would out work the Rebels with Brad McNeil outmuscling the Rebels’ defense and finding Christian Catalano streaking down the slot and then putting it home for his second shorthanded goal in as many nights to tie the game. 

Penalties still ruled the day for the Black Bears, as their offensive momentum often got stymied by penalties against them, with three in the second frame again. However, the penalty killers like Adam Schankula and Kal Essenmacher did the job and got more offense into the shorthanded attempts. However, it was Catalano again who made a steal at the blue line while shorthanded and made no mistake for his second shorthanded goal of the game, third of the weekend, and giving the Black Bears the 2-1 lead. Moments later, a rare even-strength goal happened for Maryland, as Dimitry Kebreau put home his 15th of the year off a great pass from Branden Piku to put Maryland up 3-1 late in the second.  

Another penalty to start the frame for Maryland gave the Rebels another power play and this time Connor Sedlak redirected a shot in front to cut the lead to within one at 3-2. The Black Bears kept their legs going, however, as they continued to push the play and were able to draw a penalty against the Rebels. On that power play, Brad McNeil netted his fourth of the year after picking up the rebound on a Trey Scott attempt and put the Black Bears up 4-2 6:02 into the third period. After that, the Black Bears shut it down, limiting any attacking time for the Rebels, while also possessing the puck in their offensive zone to run time down and secure the 4-2 victory. 

These two teams will face-off on Tuesday night in Hollydell, New Jersey with a puck drop of 8 PM.

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