Black Bears Advance After Comeback Win

Photo: Jon Pitonzo/ FOHS Media Faction

Odenton, Maryland can now be called Upset City.

Saturday night, the Maryland Black Bears overcame three deficits against the Johnstown Tomahawks and used two goals in 37 seconds to take the deciding Game Five, upset the top-seed in the division, and win their first playoff series in franchise history. Maryland will now face the winner of the New Jersey/Maine series, which will be decided Sunday night.

The first period was a sandwich period for Maryland, as Johnstown dictated the pace at the start of the frame, but Michael Morelli kept the sheet clean that the start. The Black Bears in the middle of the frame started to put their own pressure on the Johnstown net, with a couple opportunities on Sam Evola, but nothing to show for it. Johnstown then took over towards the end of the frame before they finally struck thanks to a Will Margel goal with 1:39 remaining in the first. Johnstown scored the first goal in four of the five games of this series.

Maryland tried to garner some momentum, but the forecheck of Johnstown stymied any movement that the Black Bears tried to make. Maryland finally got on the board due to some quick passing from everyone. Puck gets dumped into Morelli, to shoveled it over to Sean Kilcullen, who saw a line change for Johnstown was happened– so he quickly passed it to the far blue line were Tanner Rowe was waiting, gained the zone, and hit Daniel Colabufo with a cross-ice pass for Colabufo to put it near-side on Evola to tie the game. Maryland tried to build off the goal, moving the puck more and getting more offensive zone time, but Johnstown would regain the lead after Reed Stark scored on a breakaway by getting behind the defense after being taken down in the zone and slowly getting back into the play, looking for an outlet pass.

Johnstown took the lead into the third for the fourth time in this series, but Maryland had comeback before and knew they needed a big period to keep their season going. Cue the duo of Colabufo and Rowe, who hooked up again in the middle of the frame with Branden Piku finding Rowe, who cut between the Johnstown defense before finding Colabufo to put it blocker side on Evola again to make it two apiece. Not many penalties were called in this game, but the two called in the shift effected the rest of the game going forward. Jack Hillman got called on a holding call, which put the deadly Johnstown power play to work. Following a scramble off a Margel shot, John Gelatt scored to put Johnstown ahead. Less than 90 seconds later, Johnstown got called for a hooking, putting Maryland on their second power play. They didn’t wait long, as right off the face off win by Rowe, Dylan Finlay ripped home a wrist from the top of the circle to tie the game once again.

Knowing they couldn’t get down again, the Black Bears quickly went to work. Following a Johnstown shot that went over the net, the puck went to the top of the zone were Grady Friedman picked up the puck and looked over to the Johnstown goal. Streaking down the right side, Friedman drove to the net with Jude Kurtas in-stride with him down the left side, Friedman passed it across right in front of the crease, where Kurtas put home the go-ahead goal 37 seconds after Finlay’s equalizer to put Maryland up 4-3.

With 6:32 remaining, the Maryland defense clamped down on Johnstown’s offensive push and played a steady game in their zone by blocking shots, kept the puck to the outside, while Morelli make key stops to hold off the Tomahawks and take the win, moving to the East Final.

For the Black Bears, to move on in the playoffs is fantastic, but to do it against a team who has historically gotten the better of them is all the more sweeter. Now, the focus is going to be on either Maine or New Jersey, two teams who the Black Bears have played evenly against this season. The Black Bears were 2-2-2 against Maine and 7-6-1 against New Jersey on the year and will have to travel to their rink first to start the series.

However, that’ll wait until next time. Time to celebrate this victory for now and then focus on what’s next on Tuesday.

Split at Home Forces Black Bears to Game Five

Photo: Jon Pitonzo/ FOHS Media Faction

For the first time in franchise history, the Black Bears played in front of their home fans at The Den in Piney Orchard. While it was a typical tight affair with the Johnstown Tomahawks, the Black Bears won on Wednesday, but couldn’t close it out Thursday– forcing into a winner-takes-all game on Saturday night in Johnstown.

To start off their home side of the playoff series, the Black Bears got off to a quick start. Two chances early by Tanner Rowe and Reid Leibold, showing off their speed to get around the Johnstown defense, but couldn’t cash in on those attempts. Johnstown struck for the first two goals, one at the halfway mark of the first period and then on the power play just past halfway in the second.

Maryland struck back, as Hunter McCoy rifled one home from the top of the circles late in the frame to start the comeback for Maryland. It took only 70 seconds in the third for the Black Bears to tie it up on a Josh Nixon goal from a rebound on the side of the net, then with 3:07 remaining, Brad McNeil put one top shelf for the eventual game winner and capping the three unanswered goals for Maryland.

Thursday’s game had another quick feel for Maryland, despite not being able to score. However, discipline and maybe a little over-excitement got to the Black Bears with two consecutive too-many-men penalties, but luckily– they wee able to hold off the Johnstown power play in those instances. After a scoreless first, Johnstown got a goal quick off the rebound under 90 seconds into the second, while they plugged away at the net for their second goal near the midway point to make it 2-0 by the end of the second frame.

Maryland looked for the comeback once again, as Nixon again lit the lamp on the power play with a shot through traffic from the point. Maryland looked for the equalizer, but couldn’t get the bounces they needed before Johnstown regained their two-goal lead. With the goalie pulled, Dylan Finlay scored with a minute remaining to give the Black Bears some life– but try as they might; Johnstown put it into the empty net with a second left and the series is tied with the last game coming on Saturday.

It’s hard to say that the Black Bears got off to slow starts. In both games, they had plenty of early chances. They used their speed to get to the outside and be able to cut the corner and head to the net, but the biggest thing was the inability to get a lot of traffic in front of Sam Evola. Game Four also had Johnstown up heavy on the shot-counter with 49 shots to Maryland’s 28. Johnstown adjust quickly from Game Three to get into passing lanes and take away a lot of time and space for the Black Bears anywhere on the ice.

For the Black Bears to take Saturday’s game, they’ll need to cash in on those chances early; not unlike how they managed to get to a quick lead in Game Two. There’s no need to complicate the game plan when you know what will work against this team. The issue is being able to get out in front and play with the lead rather than having to rely on last-chance heroics all the time. Also, limiting the amount of puck-handling in the defensive zone would help, as the Black Bears had issues with getting it out of their zone, leading to some prime chances by Johnstown.

The stage is set for what will be a conclusion to a heck of a series not only in the playoffs, but for the entire season between these two teams. There shouldn’t be an expectation of less between them on Saturday, as the winner will move onto the East Division Finals.

Black Bears Overcome Slow Start, Come Back Home in an Even Series

Photo: Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

There’s an old adage that says a playoff series doesn’t start until the road team wins a game. Thanks to Saturday night’s win in Johnstown, the Maryland Black Bears have made this a series.

Game One wasn’t as great for the Black Bears on the scoreboard, but if you take away their shaky first period, they had plenty of momentum in their last 40 minutes. The defense was alive on the score sheet with all three goals Friday coming from the blue line with Cam Gaudette getting the first playoff goal in franchise history, while Philip Törnqvist notched two goals in the second period. It wasn’t to be, as the three-goal first period for Johnstown did the Black Bears in with a 5-3 final count.

As playoffs and rivalries are wont to do, the game broke down and the commentators for Johnstown made it sound like it was the greatest tragedy in the history of sports. It’s a shame, as I quite like Rick Hull calling the game for Johnstown. Though, they did have a point that the linesmen were doing something bizarre as fights were breaking out, it didn’t deserve the ire and passion Hull put into– especially given what would happen Saturday night.

However, like I said, the Black Bears had a solid second and third periods in Game One. Once they got over whatever jitters they may have had, they kept the game plan to what they needed to do and looked pretty solid as they headed into Game Two.

But I don’t think anyone thought they would start off the way they did on Saturday night.

A four-goal first period paced the Black Bears in Game Two. The final two goals coming 57 seconds apart by Jude Kurtas in the slot and Josh Nixon picking up a rebound at the side of the net. Though, despite how good the first period was, the second period got a little dumb when all was said and done. Forget the two goals that Johnstown scored, the biggest issue were the predatory hits that Johnstown put on Aden Bruich and Aidan McDowell.

Bruich was receiving a pass when he was blindsided by a Johnstown player, with contact being around the head area. Whether or not the initial point of contact was to the head (ed. note: I feel that the first point of contact was right under the chin– thus making it to the head), the blindside nature of it was what should have been taken into account. McDowell in the middle of an defending a Johnstown offensive rush when Dominic Schimizzi elbowed McDowell in the head. Schimizzi was given a match penalty, which should mean he is out for Game Three. Both Bruich and McDowell went off on their own power, but the fact only one got a penalty called on it seems criminal.

Not withstanding, the Black Bears were able to get their heads right, not get too overboard with trying to get physical revenge, and were able to convert after the major power play thanks to a bullet from Kevin Scott to make it 5-3. All of Johnstown’s goals came on the power play Saturday, but Luke Mountain’s empty netter sealed the victory for Maryland and gave them their third win of the year in Johnstown this season.

A big point of contention that did come up was the Black Bears’ penalty kill– which was 3rd in the NAHL during the regular season– letting up five power play goals against and one just after a penalty expired. Obviously, when that kind of drop happens immediately– there’s a cause for concern. Of course, a cause for concern could be the penalties themselves, sure; but with clearing attempts being intercepted to stop a clearing attempt or taken right off the blade, the execution of the PK is something that should be looked at as well– especially with a team as good on the power play as Johnstown.

On a better note, the quick adjustments made at the end of Game One and into Game Two is a big bright spot for this team. They didn’t let bad happenstances get to them and found a way to pick at some weaknesses of Johnstown and get onto them early and dictate the pace rather than the other way around. That will be a big point going back home for Game Three. The Black Bears will have their home crowd at the rink, they’ll need to draw off the energy of tying the series up, as well as being back at home to the faithful of The Den.

The home set at The Den are Wednesday and Thursday at 6:30 PM. Ticket available at the Severn Bank Ticket Center at MarylandBlackBears.com or available on HockeyTV if you can’t make it out there.

Maryland Black Bears 2021 East Division Semi-Final Preview

Photo: Jon Pitonzo/ FOHS Media Faction

On Friday, the Maryland Black Bears will step into their first playoff game in franchise history, as they take on their rivals from Western PA, the Johnstown Tomahawks. Albeit, it is a one-sided rivalry with Johnstown having an all-time record of 7-21-7 record over the Black Bears, this season has had a much closer feel to it.

In the 14 games between the two teams this year, 10 of them were one-goal games and five of those 10 games going into extra time. That was a carryover from the 2019-20 season were seven of the 10 games between the two were one-goal affairs. It all started with the Tomahawks winning a wild 7-6 thriller in the opening game of the season, one which saw the Black Bears go up by five goals before dropping it in overtime. Johnstown won the season series 9-3-2.

However, the five wins the Black Bears did have were pretty huge. They swept Johnstown for the first time this season, they won their first game in Johnstown this season, and showing their improvement across the board. Getting the boogeyman of not winning in Johnstown was a huge advancement for this team and something they won’t have to think about going into the series.

When it comes to scoring, Conor Cole has enjoyed playing against the Tomahawks. With three goals, seven assists, and a shootout winner, Cole has been able to find a way to get points against Johnstown. Josh Nixon and Garrett Szydlowski both have two goals and five assists this season versus Johnstown, though Szydlowski leaving Thursday’s game and not playing Friday’s game could have his availability in question going into Friday night. Reid Leibold has scored five times to lead the Black Bears in this series, with Daniel Colabufo and Hunter McCoy joining Cole with three goals a piece.

Between the pipes, Michael Morelli has played nine times this season against Johnstown with a 2.76 GAA .921 Sv% in those games and Hannes Kollen has started four times with a 3.20 GAA and .901 Sv%. Should be interesting to see how head coach Clint Mylymok goes about this one. Kollen played the last two games against Northeast, taking two wins away from that, while Morelli has been the work horse this season– though did suffer an injury a couple weeks back. The upside in this is that both played the Tomahawks tough in their outings.

One interesting note is that of Luke Mountain’s stats against Johnstown. Mr. Black Bear has only two goals and four assists in 35 games. If there were any time for the team captain to make an impact, it will be in his first playoff appearance during his last season in the NAHL.

In a best-of-five, a quick start is going to be more than crucial and being able to win on the road is going to be a must. While in a perfect world, you win all the games on the road– should the Black Bears come out of Johnstown with a split– it will set them up nicely coming home, as they ended the season winning seven of their last 10 games at The Den.

Black Bears Clinch Playoff Spot

Photo: Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

For the first time in franchise history, the Maryland Black Bears are headed to the post-season.

With the Maine Nordiques beating the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks in regulation Friday night allowed the Black Bears to clinch a spot on points percentage. Especially considering the 2019-20 season was cut short due to COVID, this is a huge accomplishment for this franchise to get into the playoffs; as it would be for any franchise for a chance to play for the league title.

From a team that was put together in less than four months in their first season, to starting to gain an identity and be in a playoff spot int the second season, to now being a team who will finish at or above .500 at the end of the season and will be playing for a chance to get to the Robertson Cup. On top of that, this season also had to deal with the injury bug that most teams face; but also a long losing streak in the middle of the season they had to bond together and overcome– which is something that should help them in the playoff setting.

Even with the playoff berth, there’s still three games to play. The focus is going to be on being smart about how they play in terms of discipline in not wanting to get suspended, as well as trying not to get injured– but also playing competitive enough to keep the in-game reps going for the post-season. The fact is, Saturday night’s game could be a preview of the first round match-up with Johnstown having won the East Division and Maryland still fighting between 3rd and 4th spot.

Enjoy the berth tonight, get back to work for Saturday’s game, as well as next weekend’s games to close out the regular side of the schedule. One box has been checked off, now to focus on the next boxes in the way.

Marathon Week Leads to Sprint Run for Black Bears

Photo: Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

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.

Reworked Schedule Gives Black Bears Six Games in Eight Day Stretch

Photo by Jon Pitonzo, FOHS Media Faction

When I last wrote about the Black Bears before real-life, work, and apathy towards writing happened, they were mired in a pretty big skid of eight games. Unfortunately, it got to the a franchise-record 12 games before they finally broke through into the win column. After the down streak, the Black Bears have gone 5-0-1 including a recent sweep in Johnstown against the Tomahawks, which has helped give them a bit of breathing room in the fourth and final playoff spot.

However, they’re going to be going on a hell-week of sort after this weekend’s games against the Northeast Generals at The Den in Piney Orchard. After this weekend’s games, they’ll have six days without games, then starting April 23rd, they’ll have six games in eight days. This is due to the make-up games that are needed for when Danbury shuttered down for a couple months due to COVID restrictions. The eight-day trip starts in Attleboro to play Northeast on the evening of the 23rd and afternoon of the 24th, then down to Danbury for games on Monday and Tuesday afternoon, before returning to The Den for a Thursday and Friday tilt against New Jersey.

As if these players haven’t been battle-tested enough, this will really show their determination going into this string of games.

While it is a lot of hockey in the short time frame, this is a team who has dealt with adversity and such before. Knowing the task at hand, head coach Clint Mylymok and assistant coach Brandon Gotkin will be able to keep the team’s focus at said task during this stretch. Plus, who knows, but a road-trip like this could be something that bonds this team closer together, like so many youth hockey tournaments in years past. Not only that, but the returnees from last year are running it back, as this team is neck-and-neck with the virus-shortened season team from last year in terms of their record.

If nothing else, it’ll make the players dig deep within themselves and maybe find an extra gear they didn’t think they had. They might be a tired bunch, but it feel like this team is a tight bunches, too. Guys who will be able to pick others up on the bench, get each other motivated when the time calls for, and carry through it all together.

But that’s two weeks from now. Task-at-hand is attempting to get four-points this weekend and then figure out the next weekend at that time.

Lacey Eden Arrives on National Scene

Photo: Tom Lynn/ University of Wisconsin Athletics

With two game-winning goals, including the title-clinching overtime winner, it’s probably safe to say that Lacey Eden’s arrival season in the NCAA can be deemed a success. While there’s still the NCAA tournament to go, the Annapolis native has been nothing but stellar in her first season with the Wisconsin Badgers.

To think, it almost didn’t happen like this.

Eden had initially committed to Princeton University and was going to attend there this fall. The pandemic had other ideas, as the Tigers and the rest of the Ivy League shuttered down their winter sports season. Since she had never started at Princeton, she stayed home and trained with her skills coach, Russell Smith, while trying to figure out the next step. Ivy League schools don’t use Letter of Intents, so there wasn’t any “contract” to break. While she was training in Maryland, a spot at Wisconsin opened up and the rest was paperwork and logistics.

“It’s been an amazing experience so far and I’m excited for the future. Everything has been so surreal,” Eden said post-game Sunday of her choice to join Wisconsin. “Everyone accepted me on the team right away and we’ve gotta so close over the past couple of months. Everyone is so focused on the goal and it’s such a special environment to be in. There’s nothing quite like that.”

Eden started with the Naval Academy youth hockey program before moving onto the Washington Little Capitals to join their 14U and 15U AAA team, where she was teammates with London Knights defenseman Bryce Montgomery and Team Maryland forward and Maryland Black Bears tendered player Farrell Dinn.

After two years at Archbishop Spalding High School, Eden moved forward in her junior season; heading to the legendary Shattuck-St. Mary’s School in Minnesota. Immediately at Shattuck, Eden thrived finishing her two years there with 75 goals and 175 points in 96 games. Going to Shattuck also allowed Eden to get noticed by the US National Teams, participating twice in the Women’s World Junior U18 Tournament, getting a silver and gold medals to her name.

While she did show up on the Badgers roster after the season started, she has left her mark in only 12 games with eight goals and 15 points in that span. That’s good enough for fifth on the team in points, tied for 11th in WCHA scoring, and tied for 2nd in rookie scoring. Also, her 1.25 points-per-game have her third in the WCHA behind teammates Daryl Watts and Sophie Shirley.

One has to think that with all the talent around her, Eden would feel at home after competing on the national stage. Eden mentioned to Katherine Fominykh of the Capital Gazette that Wisconsin was the closest thing to being on the National Team as you can get. “You still have a ton of girls who have competed nationally on this roster. Practices every day have to be prepared for that next level.”

That next level is still to be determined. Both the NWHL and PWHPA are out there, with the latter doing more of a touring system than a league per set. With the constant call for a sustainable league moving forward, it will be interesting to see how professional hockey on the women side is set up by the time Eden finishes school in three years time. The support from NHL players and team with both women’s hockey entities have started to fuel the call for something to happen to display the talent of women’s hockey in a domestic stage rather than just be all international setting.

Though, that international setting would be key for Eden, as she hopes to make it onto the US Women’s National Team for the Olympics in the future, hoping to follow fellow Marylander Hayley Skarupa in capturing a gold medal. Both Eden and Skarupa, as well as Madison Farrand, Sam Walther, and Veronika Pettey have led a great charge for the talent that is coming out of the Maryland hockey ranks and making it onto bigger stages.

For now, however, Eden and the Badgers have their sight set on something more– back-to-back National Championships. They’ll start that quest Tuesday March 16th, as the Badgers take on Providence College in the quarterfinal round before the Frozen Four at the end of that week.

Attempting to Snap Slide as Crunch Time Hits for Black Bears

Photo: Jon Pitonzo/ FOHS Media Faction

Bear down.

It’s not just a clever pun, but it needs to become the mantra for the Maryland Black Bears right now.

Mired in an eight-game losing skid, you have to feel it’s a frustrating feeling for these young men. A team that got out to a lightning start, that looked like world beaters, that looked like they could be the team to beat in the East Division. But hockey doesn’t happen like that, you have limit mistakes, get the bounces going your way, and make the most of opportunities given. The Black Bears have done most of those three on the list, but still haven’t been getting the results.

The stats tell a helluva tale from the results. In this slide, the Black Bears have been involved in four one-goal results, three games with the opponent potting the final goal as an empty-netter, leaving only one game that they were down bad– the first game of the skid against Maine. Only three games were the opponents had four-or-more goals, which shows that the defense and goaltending is pretty on-point. On the flip side, the Black Bears have only scored three-or-more goal in two of these games during the slump.

One possible outcome for the lack of scoring may be the power play not being able to connect on their opportunities given. In this slide, the Black Bears power play is 1-for-32 (3.1%), which doesn’t bode well moving forward. Maryland power play is working at a 7.8% (9-for-116), ranking last in the NAHL. Putting that in perspective– the Black Bears have more short-handed goals in the skid (2) and in the season (11) than the power play does. When you have an average for four power plays per game, plenty of chances are left on the table.

Is there one big issue to fix with the extra man, though?? The puck movement has been better on the power play, but it seems like the possession of the puck where they have some issues. Whether it’s an over-aggressive penalty kill throwing guys off or too much over-handling of the puck, there’s nothing that’s not allowing this team to get a lot of looks on net or keeping consistent pressure on net. Just an adjustment here and there on zone entry and then how rebounds are handled after blocks or attempt on net– this machine could get rolling.

This is still a solid team, still a team that can be the best in the young franchise’s history. It’s just a matter of getting the offense clicking again, which shouldn’t be hard for a team who had a 3.25 goals-per-game clip prior to this slide. With 19 games remaining, it’s definitely gut-check time for the Black Bears. The East could be one of the tighter divisions in this league and Maryland is in the thick of it. They have to tools to make the playoffs and make some noise.

They just have to bear down.

Another Division I Commitment Adds To Success Culture for Black Bears

Photo: Jon Pitzono/FOHS Media Faction

On Thursday, Maryland Black Bears’ defenseman Jack Hillman announced his commitment to College of the Holy Cross. It is the sixth commitment from a Black Bears this season, fifth to a Division 1 school. With Hillman’s commitment, the Black Bears have 13 players on their current roster going to D1 schools in the future. Not only that, Hillman becomes the 14th players on the Black Bears to make a college commitment while rostered on the team.

Hillman has been solid in his second season in Maryland with a goal and six assists on the year. With the departure of Thomas Jarman, Hillman has stepped up in a big way, play a more physical role on the blue line while also keeping the opposition in check defensively and starting the transition game from the Black Bears zone. The intangibles that Hillman breaks may go unmarked on the scoresheet, but is something many people look at when it comes to a player having a complete game.

It should come as no surprise that the Black Bears are off to their best season in their short time in the NAHL. With that much talent on the team, it shouldn’t be surprise they’re 12-6-5 on the season and have played very solid as a unit. It helped that the roster from the start had plenty of committed players, coupled with acquisitions of players who had their college seasons shut down for the year– you’d have to think all of that combined helped the four in-season D1 commits get noticed by playing with players who have already committed.

By-and-large, the on-ice moves that Clint Mylymok has made for this Black Bears team has definitely accelerated the success for the team, as well as showing off that by playing in Maryland– you’re going to get noticed by D1 schools and get plenty of chances to show how well you play alongside and against D1 talent.

Hockey isn’t the only thing schools want to see, they want to see how the player is outside of the rink. The team has taken that issue to heart, as well, creating a better culture off the ice to counter balance what is put on the ice. When there has been a hint of trouble off the ice, it has been dealt with swiftly and for the betterment for all involved. Mylymok and president Robyn Remick have shown that they want not just good hockey players on the team, but they want good people on the team, above all.

It speaks to the culture that the Black Bears have built up and the personnel they bring in as reason for the success, as not only do players have to hockey skill– they also need the grades and maturity to get into these school in the first place. The Black Bears have built that from the ground up, which is paying off for the players on and off the ice.