Black Bears 2019-20 Season in Review: Fare Thee Well

The downside of junior hockey is the fact that there is a definitive end to it all. Whether it’s leaving for college when the time comes or it means getting to the age-limit; there is a finite amount of time players have in the NAHL. It’s time to relive what they were able to bring to the Black Bears– no matter the term.

NOTE: This is for the players who are definitely leaving as of this writing. It does not take into account players who may be leaving for the USHL or elsewhere.

First things first, we start with the captain– Logan Kons. Going from fighting for every minute last season to being the leader of the Black Bears this season, Kons grew as a player in the off-season and showed off his personality off the ice as a leader for the community. It should be no surprises that Kons took home the East Division Community Service Award, as he was front and center of initiatives for the team within the Baltimore/Washington community, as well as showing his appreciation to people who came out to The Den by coming out and being around the fans after games.

On the ice, he was very noticeable with 24 points in his 52 games on the season, as well as potting three game-winning goals– tying him for the team lead with Aden Bruich and Brayden Stannard. With an appearance at the NAHL Top Prospects game, Kons was able to put his hard work out on a bigger scale for scouts to see. While there hasn’t been a clear path for his future, the way Kons carries himself will make him successful as his life moves forward.

Another part of the leadership group leaving is defenseman Hampus Rydqvist. In his first year in North America, Rydqvist was able to pick up on the different nuances of the smaller rink and succeeded enough to capture the East Division Defenseman of the Year, as well as being named to the East Division First Team. With an explosive shot, smooth skating ability, and a small wrecking ball when the opportunity arises; Rydqvist provides all the tools to be successful moving onward.

His time in Maryland allowed the Swede to get recruited by Miami University to play in the NCHC starting next season. A player with a good outlook off the ice, but serious when the blade hits the ice; Rydqvist took the time in a new locale in stride and as the season went along, got plenty comfortable with his new surroundings Stateside. Here’s hoping it continues for him in Ohio.

A third member of the leadership team departing is Jackson Sterrett, the leading scorer for the team this season. With his speed and ability to find holes in the oppositions’ defense, Sterrett was able to put home 19 goals, including four short-handed. The UMass-Lowell recruit was consistent all season, never going more than three games without a point. With the departure of Wilmer Skoog, Sterrett put up 21 points in 27 games to end out the campaign.

Having moved all around North America to pursue his goal, Sterrett leaves the Black Bears having set the single-season mark for goals and short-handed goals. There’s a tremendous upside with Sterrett, which he will put on display in Hockey East starting next season in hopes of helping the Riverhawks get back to the NCAA Tournament.

One of the late-season acquisitions for the Black Bears is Aaron Swanson, who came over from the Springfield Jr. Blues. However, even in his short time; Swanson made a big impact for the Black Bears with four goals and nine points in only 12 games with Maryland, while adding a veteran presence to the squad and would have been a great asset for the playoffs.

Even with the short time, Swanson was able to leave an impression with his teammates in regards to his work ethic and with the Black Bear Nation in his hustle and grit in his games played at The Den.

To round it out, Jack Smiley was another late-season pick-up, but made a mark on the team. The physical forward brought more size to the team when he was picked up from Corpus Christi, as well as a tenacious forecheck which helped the Black Bears create some turnovers in the neutral zone.

Much like Swanson, the hard work Smiley was able to put in won the favor of Black Bear Nation. Despite only getting one goal in his 12 games, the intangibles that Smiley brought to the table helped give the team an important piece they may have been missing for their playoff run.

To all five of these men, thank you very much for your tenure with the Black Bears– regardless of service time. Even just one game makes you part of the family from this point forward. Make sure to come back and visit or call every once and a while.

Black Bears 2019-20 Season in Review: What Could Have Been

For the Maryland Black Bears, this season was one of statements. After a rough first season, the Black Bears pretty much overhauled the roster with only five players who played any games for Maryland in the 2018-19 season. There was plenty of time for head coach/GM Clint Mylymok to assemble his team, rather than the rushed circumstances of last season. And, in all honesty, there was only one way to go– and that was up.

On the new squad, Mylymok brought in seven players who had already committed to Division I NCAA schools, which would show that the talent of the team would be on the higher end. Add that to the improvement of the returnees and all that was needed was the buy-in of the players and to create chemistry in order to succeed.

The theme for the year from the players I talked to was the togetherness of this team. You could see a lot of the players playing for each other, picking each other up, and not showing defeated body language out on the ice if the chips were down. Regardless of where the lines came through, the team was able to mix and match in situations. You could see the players getting better as the year went along, even if the stats didn’t show as much.

Even when, at the time, their top player– Wilmer Skoog– left for Boston University mid-season; the team banded together and got stronger after that, with a six-game win streak happening not too long after Skoog’s departure. Players like Jackson Sterrett and Brayden Stannard picked up the main offensive duties, while down the stretch Reid Leibold and late acquisition Aaron Swanson chipped in towards the end of the year.

Goaltending was stable with Andrew Takacs and Cooper Black swapping in and out before Takacs was dealt for Aaron Randazzo before the trade deadline. Black had a stellar rookie season, while Randazzo brought experience to the cage in the short time he had with the team.

Defensively, the team got better as they went along. The own-zone turnovers got less and less, the breakouts were better overall, and the team as a whole was able to support their goaltenders out in sticky situations. Not to mention captain Logan Kons and Hampus Rydqvist contributing offensively, while also taking care of their own zone.

But everyone played the role they were told and even chipped in other places. Andrew Remer was an energy guy, but potted some crucial goals and create chances down the stretch. Garrett Szydlowski had a hard shot, but played a decent board game. Cameron Recchi was a havoc on the forecheck, which created scoring chances on turnovers. Thomas Jarman had a physical presence, but also was called upon on power play duties. This team had the “next man up” mentality down, which helped if things got dicey.

It’ll always be a mystery of what could have happened in the last eight games. The tension of the playoffs were something that would have gotten a lot of people excited, anxious, and would have shined a light on the team as they moved forward. Unfortunately, that’s not something that happened. Everything was cut short, though officially the Black Bears did finish fourth in the East Division; technically in the playoffs.

The biggest factor for this team was growth. The development of the players, the development of the fan base, and the overall success rate from year one into year two. The goal should always deal with being better than your last season of play. That’s something the Black Bears were able to do, albeit getting cut short in the process. But a 20-win season and playing meaningful games late in the season should constitute a successful season, even if there wasn’t a chance to show off the hardware or banners for it.

Yet, they did the fans at The Den proud, improving immensely from where they were last season with hopes of things to come next season. Granted, the roster may, once again, see a lot of new faces on 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.

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.

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.

Clutch N’ Crab Hockey Weekend Preview 018

MARYLAND BLACK BEARS (16-17-7) vs. JAMESTOWN REBELS

It’s a revenge weekend for the Black Bears after going to Jamestown last weekend and getting swept. You’d also have to think they are also wanting to break their seven-game skid. Probably more frustrating is five of those seven losses have been by one-goal. With new faces in the line-up, the Black Bears are looking to make a seismic shift to their season going for a playoff push.

TEAM MARYLAND (18-18-3) vs. NEW JERSEY 87s

Another revenge game for a team at Piney Orchard, this one is Team Maryland– who lost to New Jersey a week ago at Piney Orchard 3-2. With plenty to stew about and knowing their opponents properly, TM will need to made a few adjustment and limit the shot total from New Jersey in order to reverse their fortune this week.

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS MEN D3 (12-4-1) at KING’S COLLEGE, WILKES UNIVERSITY

After an underwhelming weekend, the Mustangs are looking to get back on the winning track with two games in the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton area. While they have beaten King’s this year, Wilkes gave the Mustangs their first defeat of the season, something I’m sure Dominick Dawes’ crew would want to get back in a big way. A key to that will be the consistency of the power play, which has gone 2-for-16 in their last three games.

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS WOMEN D3 (7-7-2) at NAZARETH COLLEGE, UTICA COLLEGE

With a sweep last week, the Mustangs got back to the .500 mark as they head into the final month of the regular season. Consistency is going to be key for the Mustangs, as they try to put together their first three-game win streak since November.

NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN MEN D1 (13-6-3) at TOWSON UNIVERSITY, VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY

In their penultimate weekend of the season, Navy will have their last in-state turn-up before the Crabpot at the end of the month with a team who hasn’t been as stellar as they hoped in Towson. Though, Navy’s road record pales in comparison to their home record, which could be an equalizer. However, they have beaten Villanova before the semester break– which could mean a tougher task for the Middies

NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN MEN D2 (3-9-3) vs. GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY, THE CITADEL

A big win to start the short semester, Navy’s D2 team has a big task in front of them with three-in-three against a very solid George Washington squad and two against D3’s The Citadel. With scoring sometimes at a premium for the Mids, they’ll need to rely heavy on a transition game against GWU, while The Citadel will try to strangle the Mids defensively.

TOWSON UNIVERSITY TIGERS MEN (3-22-2) vs. NAVAL ACADEMY, VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY

The Tigers have only scored five goals in the last five games, which isn’t ideal when their goaltenders are getting pummeled with shots. Two tough tasks this weekend follow, which could make this season to forget even more forgettable– or they could play a spoiler for both these squads as we get to the end of the year.

TOWSON UNIVERSITY TIGERS WOMEN (1-10-0) vs. GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY

It’s been a rough year for the Tigers, but they’ll start off their second semester with the team they defeated in their first game of the year– which has been their only win in two years. Being well-rested will help, though there could be a little rink rust in the early going.

LOYOLA UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND GREYHOUNDS (6-4-0) vs. GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY

With a tough OT loss at Villanova, the Greyhounds look to rebound and keep challenging the Terps for top spot of the DVCHC South Division. They’ll be taking on a team who has been winless this year, which could be a path back to the win column or a trap game against an underappreciated opponent.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND TERRAPINS MEN (3-11-3) vs. LIBERTY UNIVERSITY

After a tough weekend in New Jersey to start the semester, the Terps face the #1 team in D2. With the absence of Chris Bouchard, Evan Yamaguchi was the only goal-scorer of last weekend. They’ll need a full effort from everyone on the roster in order to keep up with the top team in D2.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND TERRAPINS WOMEN (9-5-0) at WEST CHESTER UNIVERSITY

In their second to last game, the Terps will go to West Chester to get back on the right path while prepping for the playoff possibility. The biggest thing will be if the offensive continues to be as dominant as they have been in the first semester.

Clutch N’ Crab Hockey Weekend Preview 017

MARYLAND BLACK BEARS (16-15-7) at JAMESTOWN REBELS

It’s a crucial weekend for the Black Bears, as they try to snap their five-game losing skid, as well as pick up important points against the Rebels, who they’ll play four times in the next two weekends. While the losses have been close ones, the chance is now for the Black Bears to turn up the heat and learn how they are at facing adversity. With new acquisition Jack Smiley in town, it’ll be interesting to see what dynamic be brings to the Black Bears line-up moving forward.

TEAM MARYLAND (18-17-3) vs. NEW JERSEY 87s

After two big wins against North Carolina, TM is back at it for a single game this week, trying to avenge a sweep they suffered in New Jersey in mid-December. They will be without the services of Jay de Ruiter, who will be representing the Netherlands as alternate captain in the Division II World Junior Championship in Korea. Playing against the top team in the Mid-Atlantic Conference will be a real test for TM as they look ahead for a playoff berth.

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS D3 (12-3-0) vs. SUNY-FREDONIA

After a weekend sweep last week, the Mustangs look back in the right track and just below the top-ten in the national rankings. With Ryan Kenny being dominant in net as a freshman and the special teams being solid– 32.5% PP and 83% PK– the Mustangs and hoping to improve as they get to the last weeks of the season and hope to get into the National tournament.

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS WOMEN (5-7-2) vs. WILKES COLLEGE, KING’S COLLEGE

It’s been a roller coaster season for the women of Stevenson, with not much consistency in their play all season. With a week of team-building and a weekend on the road; the women will look to get back on their winning side against a team in King’s that they’ve handily beat earlier this year and Wilkes, whom they are facing for the first time.

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS CLUB (10-11-0) vs. ????

While I don’t know the logo of the college they’re playing, the Mustangs club team will be honoring their first team, as the seniors are being honored this weekend. As they’ve seen the team grow, they’ve seen the growth of the team culminate in their final year. As the team starts to really roll in the end, they hope to end it for a high note for their fans and as they roll into the playoffs.

NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN D1 (12-5-3) vs. TEMPLE UNIVERSITY, at DREXEL UNIVERSITY

After a sweep of the weekend, the Middies look to continue to pad their lead in the ECHA standings in hopes of putting themselves in a great position for the playoffs. With the combo of Joe Kelly and Conner Hyden clicking so far after the semester break, Navy is hoping they can keep the balanced attack going as they start the home-stretch of the season.

NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN D2 (2-8-0) vs. ST. JOSEPH UNIVERSITY

It is not the year the D2 Middies have hoped for, but they can still save face in the last few games of the year. Kevin Harris has been great on the offensive side of the puck, though the defense has kind of left Skippy Sheldon out in the lurch for the better part of the season.

NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN WOMEN (10-5-1) vs. LIBERTY UNIVERSITY, MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY

With a big sweep last week, the Midshipwomen will take on two big tasks in three games. Liberty is one of the top teams int he ACHA, while Michigan State took them to the limit in Navy’s trip up north earlier in the year. Maggie Madigan, Devin Marshall, and Rose Gasper will need to really be on their two-way game to be successful this weekend.

TOWSON UNIVERSITY TIGERS (3-19-1) vs. UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH, at WILLIAM PATERSON UNIVERSITY

Going one for three last week wasn’t bad for the Tigers, who have had a less than stellar season. Jacob Snyder was a stud facing over 150 shots in the three games and got quite the workout in. With two tough tasks ahead of them, the biggest thing is survival and saving face as the season stgarts to wind down.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND TERRAPINS (3-9-2) at COLLEGE OF NEW JERSEY, RIDER UNIVERSITY

With Chris Bouchard gone, the weight of the scoring will fall to Liam Eden for the Terps. While there’s only a few games remaining, the task at hand will be to let get some momentum at the end of the season and see who takes over the reigns as the offensive dynamo going into next season.

UNIVERSITY OF LOYOLA-MARYLAND WOMEN (7-2-0) at VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY

In their first games back, the Greyhounds will look to build off the first half success, especially with the four-game win streak they are on. With only one game in the weekend, they should be able to push themselves hard enough to get back into game speed, but also adapt to the play of ‘Nova as the game goes on.

CLUTCH N’ CRAB HOCKEY WEEKEND PREVIEW 016

MARYLAND BLACK BEARS (16-14-6) at JOHNSTOWN TOMAHAWKS

It’s a crunch-time weekend for the Black Bears. While they do sit comfortably in fourth in the East Division, losses in their last three isn’t something they want to have as we’re in the second half of the season. Granted, they did muster some points in those games, but losses are losses. Heading into a rivalry weekend, you’d have to think head coach Clint Mylymok has this team motivation to get a road win or two and help their playoff push a little more.

TEAM MARYLAND (16-17-3) vs. NORTH CAROLINA GOLDEN BEARS

As they try to right the ship fully, Team Maryland is looking to have a strong run to the playoffs against the bottom team in the Mid-Atlantic Conference. After a decent showing at the last Showcase, TM will have home-ice the rest of the regular season– which should be a help mentally in order to not have to worry too much about traveling the rest of the way. Now it’s a matter of keeping the puck out of the net, which has been a bit of a problem, even in the wins.

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS MEN D3 (10-3-0) at LEBANON VALLEY COLLEGE, ELMIRA COLLEGE

While it’s still early, the Mustangs are facing some adversity. After an eight-game win streak, Stevenson has dropped their last two and go on the road hoping to change their fortune. It’s going to test the guile of freshman Ryan Kenny, who has been stellar in his breakout season otherwise. Luke Benitez has been tremendous in his sophomore season, using his size in front of the net and along the boards to create space for himself.

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS WOMEN D3 (5-5-2) at ELMIRA COLLEGE, WILLIAM SMITH COLLEGE

With a big win in their 2020 opener, the Mustangs have had a bit of a hiccup after a quick start to the season. The well-rounded nature of this team has been taking form and should help carry this team further. As Nikki Kendrick and Annie Smyth-Hammond leading the way, it’ll be a good example for the rest of the young squad for the rest of the season.

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS CLUB (8-11-0) vs. UNIVERSITY OF SCRANTON, DREXEL UNIVERSITY

Back somewhat healthy, the Mustangs club side got off to a solid start– even in a loss– to Delaware. With only six games left, the Mustangs will need to dig deep to get a winning season and go strong into the Crabpot Tournament and the playoffs for them. With a couple weeks left, the Mustangs and go all out this weekend at home and then rest up for a time after that.

NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN MEN D1 (10-5-1-2) at TEMPLE UNIVERSITY, PSU-BERKS

After an almost two month layoff, the Middies are back in action on the road. It’ll be interesting to see how this team plays very rested up, but possibly with some rust in game-play situations. Hopefully the rest will help their road play, as they are just above .500 and have scored 14 less goals on the road than at home.

NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN WOMEN (8-5-1) vs UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH

Another Navy team with a long layoff, but the ladies are back at McMullen looking to get on the winning trail. With a few games left, all at home, the women will bare down as they go in to the College Hockey East playoff role and will inevitably face Liberty at some point if they want to win a title.

TOWSON UNIVERSITY TIGERS MEN (3-17-1) vs. DUQUESNE UNIVERSITY, INDIANA UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

The Tigers will try to salvage an otherwise disappointing season as they’ll play at home most of the rest of the schedule. While Jacob Snyder’s .914 save percentage has been impressive for a team that gives up an average of 4.95 goals a game. The lack of offense– with the exception of Ryan Dieter, Matt Barilla, and Costa Pizanis– really has hampered the team and hopefully will be adjusted in the second half for momentum to next year.