UND HOCKEY: What Could Have Been

Ralph Engelstad Arena, 03/12/20; Photo by Scotty Wazz

After I drop Jen off at work, I usually go for a ride around the city to decompress before going to bed. On a night like Thursday March 12th, it was probably much needed. Sports stopped on that day. Rightfully so, but still a bummer that the thing many used to distract themselves from the issues around them is not there. In any case, I decided to drive to Ralph Engelstad Arena and just zone out.

As I pulled up, no lights were on in the building or outside. Light adorn the plaza area with the statue of Sitting Bull, but not much else. It was a fitting scene for the night, as the NCHC cancelled their tournament, as did the NCAA. Again, rightfully so– still a bummer.

Mostly a bummer for the student-athletes on the University of North Dakota squad who had come back to life this season following two years of missing the big tournament. They were on pace to be one of the all-time great teams in North Dakota hockey history, as they were ranked 1st in the Pairwise and were odds-on favorites to win the National Championship.

Now, it’s a case of what could have been.

With the cancellations, all anyone can do is wonder if this team would have won the NCHC playoff title to go with the Penrose Cup, if they could have dominated the NCAA and have won the school’s ninth National Championship, and if there’d be another Hobey Baker Award winner from this team. It was a season to remember for the right reasons and for the reasons that could have been.

You hate it for the team, of course, but you really hate it for the seniors of this team. Colton Poolman, who came back because he had unfinished business; Cole Smith, the heart and soul of this team; Andrew Peski, who bookended his tenure with two solid seasons; Casey Johnson, who became a valued utility option for this club in any spot; Zach Yon, who fought through injuries his last season and was a bit of an energy guy; Dixon Bowen, who carried on the UND tradition his father started, as well as being an energy guy; Westin Michaud, who came to UND as a graduate transfer and made people wish this team had him for a full four years. Those are the guys who may not get much closure on this season.

Then you look at guys outside of the seniors that may think about leaving, but could reconsider given the way this year ended. This is going on nothing at all, but you’d have to think the Ottawa Senators were heavily invested in what Jacob Bernard-Docker did this year and may have even taken a look at him moving forward. Jordan Kawaguchi’s Hobey Baker-esque season could have gotten him looks by NHL teams, but he might stay to finish this fight off. Then there’s Shane Pinto, who was looked at by the Senators heavily in the World Juniors– like JBD– but assured everyone that he would be staying at UND; but time can changes things.

Those are the stories to look at now– who stays, who goes, who comes in. There is no pomp and circumstance, no banner, no one-last-hurrah for the seniors. It’s just over. And now UND fans and players alike will have a chip on their shoulder with how this season ended and what could have been.

Rightfully so.

Media Access, COVID-19, and You

We are all mind-numbingly aware of the COVID-19 virus (I’m only going to call it C-19 moving onward) and we know what it’s done to the social landscape of the world. Obviously, sports is put into this and has led to leagues shutting down their locker room access and even possibly playing in front of empty arenas (although the AHL already did that).

My opinion is good. While it’s probably an overreaction to what equates to a beefed-up pneumonia, you rather err on the side of caution rather than have to clean up the mess that comes from not taking the right moves in the first place. Playing catch-up is never fun, especially in a wide-spread illness.

But seeing media people hem and haul about the shutting down of locker rooms and access to players and give a vague threat to the leagues bascially saying, “This better be temporary,” makes me tilt my head. As someone who has pieces of laminated paper saying I’m part of the media, I’ve never once thought that locker room access is needed to have a good story. Hell, at the University of North Dakota games; all the interviews for the masses are done in a scrum style with two or three players and head coach Brad Berry. We all get our stories, we all move along. Brad Schlossman is one of the finest writers in hockey and he rarely gets the locker room access some of these reporters in sports get, but he’s still churning out bangers week after week.

Does that help with some stories and such?? Sure. Is it a necessity?? That’s a hard sell for me. Does it equate to better stories?? I’m sure it does. Ken Rosenthal thinks it does (subscription because innovation). To a point, it can be true because access and having a good standing with the players can lead to things down the line and becoming an insider. Also, the point that it’s making the media members look petty because they’re getting singled out and other groups aren’t.

But, when the Colorado Avalanche have a sign reminding media members not to hug players or sit at stalls seems more to me like writers are mad because they can’t be buddy-buddy with some players. There’s not many other entertainment industries that allow people to be as tight-knit as the sports community. It can be considered both awesome and invasive all in one.

If you’re a good reporter, you’ll find a way to get the story without having to make brunch plans with the top-line guys or deal with the stench of equipment by your nose when you sit down in one of their stalls. People’s story writing abilities aren’t tied to all-access approaches in locker room settings. Yes, it makes a story better…but there’s tons of people out there writing quality stuff without having a fraction of the access or really needing it– but they’re still getting respect from people who enjoy the content they put out– access or not.

If worst comes to worst– everyone is connected. If you have a good relationship with a player now and need access to the room without getting access to the room– you should have their number. Text them, call them, email them– if they’re really your buddy, they’ll find a way to make time for you either in-person or virtually. Does it tell the whole story you’re looking for?? No, because it doesn’t have those subtle nuances of a locker room…but it’s still better than no access at all.

And yet, the story the writers are really missing are the impact around the games. The fans who may have taken a vacation to see a game, but will have to wait because the game was shuddered down to fans. The impact this will have on local businesses on top of the impact of non-gameday happens with this panic. The workers inside the venues who are going to be losing money and might already be on a tight budget as it is.

But no, let’s talk about the locker rooms shutting down. Let’s talk about the lack of access being the reason some can’t create a good story. There’s stories to be had out there that don’t require direct player access. You just have to be good enough to find it.

Clutch and Crab Hockey Weekend Preview 023

MARYLAND BLACK BEARS vs. Johnstown Tomahawks

After a sweep against Jamestown, the Black Bears enter another crucial weekend not only for playoff contention, but for a rivalry weekend. Not only that, but it’s “Guns N’ Hoses” weekend for support local fire and police officer. These two teams don’t like each other, especially with who’s between the pipes at the other end and the tactics that were pulled last time the Tomahawks were at The Den. Some upsides is the Black Bears looked solid and will build off it and Johnstown played two games earlier this week, which could make them a team primed to beat.

Team defense will be a big deal, as it was very solid last week, limiting the Rebels to 36 shots the entire weekend and Cooper Black stopping 35 of them. That said, one thing that needs improve is the power play, which has no goals in their last 37 attempts with their last power play goal being on January 24th. Keeping the defense strong and making the power play effective will be the biggest keys for the weekend and season ahead.

TEAM MARYLAND vs. Philadelphia Little Flyers

Though it won’t start until the 9th, Team Maryland will start their playoff run after the weekend and hope to take it home. They’ll take on a team that they had a 4-2-0 record against during the season, out scoring the Little Flyers 29-21. One thing to look for from coach Josh Fusco is who will start in net– either Peter Siolas or Zach Richards, both who have had ups and downs.

With seven players in double-digits for goals, offense shouldn’t come at a premium, but it’s a matter of keeping their hot streak alive– as they come into the playoffs on a four-game winning streak. It’s a landmark time for TM and they will hopefully make the most of this during the week and beyond.

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS D3 WOMEN at Elmira College

After a huge win against Neumann, Stevenson reaches the UCHC Final Four against the host Elmira. In their only meeting this season, Elmira took it 2-1, though Annie Smyth-Hammond played stellar with 45 saves in the loss. Smyth-Hammond was amazing against Neumann last weekend, with Nikki Kendrick and Trin Barcless leading the way scoring.

More impressive during this five-game win streak is the defense the Mustangs have played, only letting up three goals in those five wins, while scoring 20 in that same span. If the team defense can keep the solid work up, they’ll move onto the UCHC Final and maybe an automatic NCAA bid by the weekend’s end.

NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN D1 vs. ECHA Playoffs

After some time off, the Mids are back at it and are at home for the ECHA Playoffs, which is something that will play well into Navy’s hands with their supporters right there at McMullen all weekend. The rest can be really great for some teams or a detriment to them, especially in a one-and-done tournament scenario. In games coming out of an off weekend for Navy this season, they were 2-1 with their only loss coming early in the season.

That said, as the season rolls and going against a team that will have played the day before– as Navy has a quarterfinal bye– the odds seem in their favor. Add to the fact they were ECHA runner-ups last season, they’ll want to get the championship and have it mean that much more to do it on home ice.

UND HOCKEY: Penrose Make Appearance After Hawks OT Win

GRAND FORKS, ND– With a playoff like atmosphere and the 1980 National Championship team in the house, the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks had a lot to play for on Saturday. In a tight-checking game and an emotional roller coaster in the last 47 seconds of the game, the Hawks took out the Western Michigan Broncos 2-1 in overtime. 

“It was an entertaining game that’s for sure from a fan standpoint,” UND head coach Brad Berry mentioned after the game. “From our perspective on the bench, wow, two evenly matched teams, hard fought battle, and physical series. Just glad we found a way to win in overtime and win the Penrose right away.”

It was back and forth between the two to start the game, as the Fighting Hawks got on the board first with Collin Adams putting home his 12th of the year off a rebound kicked to his stick from an initial shot from Colton Poolman. The goal came from a sharp angle, as Adams was right next to the goal line when he got the puck and fired it far-side past Ben Blacker to put the Hawks on the board first. It was a neutral zone battle for most of the period before Paul Washe tipped home a Wade Allison shot that fooled Adam Scheel to tie the game. 

The final 40 minutes of the game were a grind. Neither team let up an inch and the score remained tied at one at the end of regulation with a combined shot total of 33 shots (17-16 UND) after sixty minutes of regulation play. 

“That’s playoff hockey what you saw this weekend,” mentioned Berry. “I thought the officiating let us play and there was a lot of energy that was spent out there. A lot of plays weren’t being made because two teams were playing fierce out there”

In the overtime, there was plenty of action in two minutes to make up for the last 40, as Western Michigan thought they had a game winner, only for it to be called off on goalie interference, as there was no attempt by the Broncos player to get out of the way of Scheel. A short time later, the Fighting Hawks came back on a rush for Matt Kiersted to rip a shot from the point, which rebounded off of Blacker to the stick of Shane Pinto– who made no mistake with an empty net and sent the sellout crowd home happy and give UND a weekend sweep. With the sweep, the Fighting Hawks will get a share of the 2020 Penrose Cup for best regular season record in the NCHC.

“This whole year has been a bit different than the last two years, and I’ve loved every minute of it,” UND captain Colton Poolman said of the team this season. “We still have one more weekend to go and we’re going to try to win this thing outright, for sure.”

THEY SAID IT

“I think that’s the best goal I’ve ever scored. Just everything about it– winning for the seniors, winning the the Penrose Cup. Just the whole moment is something I’ll never forget. I really can’t gather my thoughts, but that building all night you could feel the momentum shift” — Pinto on the game winning goal.

“That shows you the focus and resiliency they had. We had to wait there for the review of the play and we just huddled up the guys and talked to them that we’re going to play longer and just make sure you’re ready to go.” — Berry on the team focus during the overtime review.

“A bad bounce for Western Michigan, but one got called back last night, one got called back tonight. That was a spark we needed honestly. We got some energy on the bench and we go out and score that one. We’ve won games in so many different ways and that’s another new, different way.” — Poolman on the team’s will to win this season. 

“It means everything. Coming in as a freshman you’re a little bit scared. It’s just how it is, it’s a new kind of environment, but they took us in with open arms and kind of taught us the ropes. They’re a special group of guys and we just want to win it for them.”– Pinto on the senior class.

UND HOCKEY: Hawks Inch Closer to Penrose with Friday Win

GRAND FORKS, ND– With the NCHC regular season title in their sights, the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks took one step closer with a win against Western Michigan University Friday night taking the first game of the weekend set 3-1. Adam Scheel made 26 saves in his first win since January 11th and his first start since January 24th.

“It’s always fun to get in the net no matter what,” Scheel said post-game. “I was happy and excited to be back. My team helped me, limited the chances, and played hard defense. Couldn’t have done it without them.”

After a first period that seemed more like a tight checking playoff game, UND started to come into their own during the second period. It took them to about half-way before cracking the scoresheet, with a wonderful goal off a three-on-two. Jacob Bernard-Docker started the rush out the zone with Jackson Keane on one wing, Judd Caulfield on the other; JBD found Keane, who got it back to JBD, who got it to Caulfield, allowing Caulfield to go forehand-backhand on Brandon Bussi and slip it past him for the 1-0 lead. Five minutes later, UND got on the power play, where Jasper Weatherby won a draw back to Ethan Frisch. Frisch sailed it to Matt Kiersted, who let a wrister go that fooled Bussi and made it 2-0 Fighting Hawks. 

Western Michigan cut the lead in half at 4:35 of the third, as they got plenty of whacks at the loose puck in front, but Dawson DiPietro got the last whack behind Adam Scheel to make it 2-1 UND. Up until then, Scheel had made several quality saves to start the third, getting his first start in several weekends. UND thought they got the two goal lead back when Jordan Kawaguchi scored, but the goal was called back after Bussi jumped out to make the save and while diving, hit Collin Adams’ thigh as Adams was looking for the rebound outside the crease. The NCHC officials said that it interfered with Bussi making the save and waived it off. Bussi had to leave the game, letting Ben Blacker in the net. A chippy game ensured, with many a missed call until Mattias Samuelsson got an interference call, Westin Michaud to get a tip off a Gabe Bast blast that was set-up by Kiersted to make it 3-1. 

The intensity turned dirty, as Ronnie Attard caught Shane Pinto blindsided in the UND defensive zone. The hit jarred Pinto’s head and left him laying on the ice momentarily as the scrums happened around him. Attard got a five and game for direct head contact to Pinto. With only 1:15 remaining, there wasn’t much else to do but run the clock down, as the Fighting Hawks draw closer to the Penrose Cup for best regular season record in the NCHC. 

THEY SAID IT

“That’s the last thing I wanted to do. I’m confident in my game and my ability. No need to change or hit the panic button.” — Scheel on if he adjusted his game at all since being out.

“Me and Peter (Thome) are really good friends. No matter who’s in the net, it doesn’t change our relationship. You really come to work every day with a little chip on your shoulder and work hard to be ready for your next opportunity. No matter what, Peter’s a great teammate. So you learn from a guy like that. He’s a great guy in the locker room and he was always supportive of me, so I’ll do the same for him.” — Scheel on his relationship with fellow goalie Peter Thome. 

“He had a really good two, three weeks of practice here. We always look at how goalies do against the other teams and he plays outstanding against Western Michigan. And Peter Thome has been playing outstanding as well, but this is the opportunity for someone else to come in. I think it was a combination of a lot of things, but mostly Adam staying sharp and working his tail off in practice.”– Brad Berry on the decision to start Adam Scheel.

“It was kind of a gametime decision that Cole Smith wasn’t in the lineup and it kind of throws you on your heads a little bit about what to do to replace a guy like that. I think what we did was sided on having experience and get Dixon Bowen, a senior; Casey Johnson, a senior; guys a little bit harder, heavier, quicker players to try to take away time and space.” — Berry on his line-up moves ahead of Friday’s game.

Clutch N’ Crab Hockey Weekend Preview 022

MARYLAND BLACK BEARS vs. Jamestown Rebels

After a disappointing weekend in Wilkes-Barre, the Black Bears are back at home and are now in crucial win territory from this point forward. Also, trying to fix the power play will need to happen, as they have no converted on their last 28 power plays. Hampus Rydqvist scored the last PPG on January 24th against this Rebels’ team. This team needs to make their own luck rather than hoping that puck luck reaches them. It’s a gut-check time for all involved if they want to make hold onto the final playoff spot, especially against teams chasing them.

TEAM MARYLAND vs. North Carolina Golden Bears

In the final regular season weekend, Team Maryland takes on the EHL whipping boy in North Carolina. The biggest thing for Team Maryland is to get in playoff form. They can’t shy away from their game plan even against a team lower in standing. If they sweep this weekend, they’ll move into fourth spot and still face the Philadelphia Little Flyers, but at home rather than on the road.

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS D3 MEN at Wilkes College

After an 8-4 win thanks to a Nick Gray hat-trick, the Mustangs go to Wilkes for a two-game playoff with mini-game tactics in effect if each team takes a game. Unfortunately, Stevenson dropped both games to Wilkes, once at the start of the season and once at the beginning of February. The same offense shown against Neumann needs to carry over, while the defense needs to tighten up, as Ryan Kenny has faced a ton of shots down the stretch and showing some flaws.

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS D3 WOMEN at Neumann University

Riding a four-game winning streak into the playoffs, the Mustangs head up to Aston, PA to With a loss and a tie this year against the Knights, the Mustangs will hope to put that aside and make sure they make the most of this quarterfinal and make the most of their momentum. Outscoring their opponents 18-2 in the four-game win streak, the Mustangs are getting their offense going at the right time, especially for a one-and-done scenario.

Clutch N’ Crab Hockey Weekend: Crabpot Tournament Edition

TOWSON UNIVERSITY TIGERS vs. UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND TERRAPINS

The Tigers have had a very rough season. Their goal differential is a minus-121, they have given up an average of 55.8 shots a game (1732 in 31 games), and only have one player who has double-digits in goal scoring. Obviously, defense is an issue, but all things considered; Jacob Snyder and Kevin Mackey have done all they could in net for this team and still had a team save percentage of .901 on the year. Offense wasn’t been grand either, with Ryan Dieter being the biggest contributor– as he has been for his four years at Towson. With Dieter and Matt Curtin leaving, the big stalwarts of the offense staying is going to be Costa Pizanis and Collin Mercier; who have been good…but consistency is king.

When it comes to the Terps, things were going well until Chris Bouchard left due to mid-season graduation. After Bouchard’s departure, the Terps only scored 11 goals in seven games (1-6-0)– one of which was a 7-goal output against Delaware– and they were shutout in three game during that stretch. However, Liam Eden had a quietly solid season with 13 goals and 26 assists, while Evan Yamaguchi was hot at the start of the year, but kind of faded through the season. Griffin Connolly had a strong second-half which kind of got Maryland a nice shot in the arm late.

PREDICTION: Though these teams are struggling, this could be a solid match-up with both having a lot to prove. Towson wants to not lose to a lower division team, while Maryland would love to beat a D1 team at the end of the year. At the end though, I think Towson comes out on top only due to the lack of offense Maryland has out out in this semester.

NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN vs. STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS

Navy has been at the top of their game this season, making sure that they are in a prime position in the playoffs, which they are hosting, next weekend and it’s paid off. Even going into the season with two untested goalies in Charles Doherty and Casey McCormick; those worries were put to rest as both keepers have been stellar with both having above .925 save percentages and sub-2.40 GAAs. Sophomore Joe Kelly and freshman Conner Hyden have been a solid duo offensively, leading the way for scoring; while John Scaccia and Brendan Reynolds have been great on the back-end.

One of the better stories coming out of Maryland hockey has been the ACHA Mustangs. Head coach Mike Urgo’s team doubled their win total from last year, had the best season in the short team history of this squad, and won three games against European pro teams during Thanksgiving. They are a part of the growing culture of hockey that Stevenson is growing. This is also a gun-slinging team that scored five-or-more goals ten times this season; Mark Bowen, Brandan Scholze, and Ian Malone leading the way. More over, Stevenson had ten players in double digits in points, while Pierce Dushenko was good when called upon, finishing with a .912 save percentage in the process.

PREDICTION: While it’s a tough one to pick, I may have to give the edge to Navy. Both teams are hungry, they have a lot of heart, and there’s plenty of skill on each side. That said, I think the goaltending will be a big factor and the skill is a touch better in the Mids side of things.

CRABPOT FINAL PREDICTION: In my scenario, Navy takes on Towson– to which I have to go with Navy in that one. Navy had beaten the Tigers 6-0 and 7-1 this season and I don’t see the Mids slowing up one bit if they have to take on the Tigers for a third time.

On the Topic Of the Crab Pot Tournament

The 43rd installment of the Crab Pot Tournament is taking place this weekend at McMullen Ice Arena on the Brigade Sports Conplex in Annapolis, Maryland on Friday. It’ll see four games being played where the winners of the Friday games will face off in the title game Saturday night and the two losers will be in the consolation game. This title is one that is very known in the Maryland hockey community and really holds a special place with the Naval Academy as a year-end tournament.

When it comes to the history of the literal crab pot on a trophy base, it goes back to 1978 when then-Navy head coach Steve Gordon. Gordon was a goalie at Northeastern University in Boston and took part in the Beanpot Tournament that happens in mid-January every year. It’s claimed that the Crab Pot is the Beanpot offspring named after the Maryland blue crab, while many players have said it’s a great compliment to the Beanpot for the mid-Atlantic ACHA teams.

This year’s tournament is pretty special for the area, too, as it’ll be the first time since 2017 that it’ll be an all Maryland-based tournament. Of course, the Naval Academy is in Annapolis, but joining the Midshipmen will be the Stevenson Mustangs (Reisterstown), Towson Tigers, (Towson…obviously), and the Maryland Terrapins (College Park). For a trophy that is so absurdly Maryland, it’s a nice sight to see all four teams being from the state. Granted, we’ll see how the skill levels are, as both Stevenson and Maryland are Division 2 and will take on Navy and Towson (respectively) who are Division 1 in the ACHA.

It also gives a spotlight for the team to people who may not get to see these teams on a regular basis. It’s can be a haul from College Park to Towson to see a game or Reisterstown to Annapolis– especially on the weekend. This puts all the teams in one spot for all to take in. You could hope that this could be a recurring thing, as with the Beanpot– but it has been mainly an invitiational tournament that takes into account the playoff schedules of these leagues the teams are in– but if the stars can align properly, maybe it can be come a regular meeting of the four in years to come.

The tournament is a special one for the players at Navy. When speaking to Navy co-captain Derek Golembrosky he said, “The people of Annapolis love it, we (Navy) love it, it’s a cool spectacle to be in every year. It seems when teams come here for that, they always play harder against us. Last year’s tournament (win over Rhode Island) was a highlight of my career. Just sitting on the bench, heart pounding, and then into the overtime and shootout was just one of the top moments of my career.”

So, the question is now with how big the Crab Pot is and how the growth of women’s hockey has become– will we ever see a Women’s Crab Pot with Navy, Maryland, Towson, and the Loyola Greyhounds?? Time will definitely tell, but with all four of those teams in Division 2; they could go in on equal footing and draw an entirely new crowd of people to the event.

If you have the chance and are in the Annapolis area, I say you should take a look at it. It’s Friday and Saturday with game one at 5:30, game two at 8:30 and all the Maryland content you could hope for.

UND HOCKEY: Hawks Sweep Denver Off Their Feet, Weekend Series

GRAND FORKS, ND– Despite not having captain Colton Poolman in the line-up, the University of North Dakota Fighting Hawks pulled off a sweep of Denver University this weekend, winning Saturday night 3-1 and holding the Pioneers to just two goals on the weekend and only four goals in the four games the two met each other in this season. 

North Dakota dictated the pace through the first, holding Denver to only two shots midway through the frame. Thanks to a Liam Finlay holding call, Matt Kiersted potted his fifth of the year thanks to a ricochet off the glove of Denver’s Justin Lee went past Magnus Chrona to give UND the lead. UND’s defense kept the Pioneers to the outside, allowing Peter Thome to see the puck perfectly. Thome’s biggest save came off a cross-ice pass that forced him to go post-to-post in order to make a toe save and keep it a 1-0 game. 

For most of the second period, it was a chess match, with neither team wanting to make a wrong move and have it go against them. Denver flinched first with just under half the period to go, when Jacob Bernard-Docker started a rush, finding Jordan Kawaguchi on the wing, who then passed it cross is to Collin Adams to make it a 2-0 game. Denver got one back five minutes later, as Brett Edwards threw a shot at Peter Thome after it was dumped into the corner; Thome couldn’t get to his post fast enough and the Edwards shot went off Thome’s side and in the net. 

While the third period was more of slog, the Fighting Hawks held off late attacks by the Pioneers and ended it with Jasper Weatherby burying an empty-netter to seal the deal and sweep for the top-ranked North Dakota. The win kept the hot streak alive for North Dakota with a winning streak of five games, games in which they’ve allowed a total of five goals. It also allows UND to pull eight points ahead in the standings for the NCHC. 

THEY SAID IT

“Just an overall commitment, we’re not getting spread out. This is a good team off the rush, our d-men can’t be caught out on an island. Our forwards have to help out through the rush, through the d-zone. We always call it five-in-the-picture. We want to make sure that any time we see in our video, five guys are together, coming up and down the ice.”– Brad Berry on what’s help the defensive game in the last five. 

“I think in the third period, you could tell– they ramped it up and we ramped it up. Obviously, it’s going to be playoff hockey from here on out. It’s going to get tougher and tougher and we’ve got to get better.”– Collin Adams on the atmosphere as the regular season winds down.

Clutch N’ Crab Hockey Weekend Preview 020

MARYLAND BLACK BEARS vs. Maine Nordiques

With only one win in their last 10 games, the Black Bears are in for a crucial match-up against a team creeping up on them for that fourth and final playoff spot. With the line-up set, everyone is going to have to step up in a bigger way to keep hold of that fourth spot while holding off the competition behind them. Hopefully, Brayden Stannard will be back in the line-up to add to the offensive punch of the Black Bears.

TEAM MARYLAND vs. Philadelphia Little Flyers, North Carolina Golden Bears

After plenty of goals in their split last weekend, TM has a task in the Little Flyers to start the weekend, a team they’ve already beaten three times; while they’ll have North Carolina come in for the first of three games to end the season. While these are primer games, TM shouldn’t take any of these games for granted going into the playoff season. Despite playing a weaker team in North Carolina, the pedal still needs to be to the floor to gear up for the second season.

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS D3 MEN at Nazareth University, Utica College

After sweeping the weekend last weekend, the Mustangs will look to continue that on the road, where they have only lost one game all year. The power play clicked well last weekend, though the penalty kill did let up three goals against Neumann on Friday. With first place in the UCHC within reach, every conference point matters– especially against a team in Utica who is right behind the Mustangs in the standings

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS D3 WOMEN at Lebanon Valley College, Chatham College

After a less than desirable finish to their home schedule, the Mustangs head out on the road, where they are the opposite of the men’s side– winning only one game on the road. With only road games left, the Mustangs will need to find an extra gear in order to get over those road woes, and bring home at least one victory out of this trip to stay up in the playoff conversation.

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS D2 MEN’S CLUB at MACH Playoffs

With their first task being Rowan University, the Green Horses will be taking their most successful team in the brief three year period into the MACH playoffs. They run into a Rowan team who is second in the conference and has taken both match-ups this season. Yet, the playoffs are a different beast and with all the adversity Stevenson has faced already– what’s a little more to overcome to get to the next round and maybe a title shot.

LOYOLA UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND GREYHOUNDS WOMEN’S CLUB at DVCHC Playoffs

The Greyhounds won the South Division of the DVCHC, so they’re automatically into the semi-final game, where they’ll take on the second lowest seeded team in that game. Loyola comes in winning seven of their last eight to end the year and with Jessica Chicko playing out of her mind with four hat-trick in her last five games, including three straight. It’s always good to have that hot a hand when going into the playoffs– especially in a one-game scenario.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND TERRAPINS WOMEN’S CLUB at DVCHC Playoffs

While they looked like world beaters in the early going, the Terps had a bit of a bumpy patch late in the season, going only .500 in the last six games. They’ll take on West Chester in the first round, a team they met and lost to two weeks ago. If there’s any time for a revenge game and for Alix McKillop to really bust out the scoring– it’ll be here.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND TERRAPINS D2 MEN’S CLUB at MACH Playoffs

The Terps have a bit of an uphill climb for the MACH playoffs, coming in as the last seed and facing powerhouse Liberty in the first round– a team that swept the Terps two weeks prior. The Terps have only won one game since semester break (seven games) and will have to dig deep or they’ll be preparing for the Crabpot tournament a little bit earlier than they’d hope.