Clutch N’ Crab Hockey Weekend Preview 009: Men’s Edition

MARYLAND BLACK BEARS (8-9-2) at NEW JERSEY TITANS

After three hard fought games last weekend, the Black Bears are on the road to New Jersey to take on the league-leading New Jersey Titans. Not only will offense be key for the Black Bears, but keeping the puck out of the net will be critical, as well. That aspect has gotten better as the season has gone on; but it will need to be on full display against an offensive powerhouse like the Titans. Another big thing will be the transition game and how they’ll be able to find a weakness in the armor of the Titans.

TEAM MARYLAND (10-9-2) at CONNECTICUT ROUGHRIDERS

The EHL Showcase this past weekend didn’t bode well results-wise, but Team Maryland is back to divisional play this weekend in Connecticut. These two met opening weekend and split a series in which Jay de Ruiter broke out in a big way. We’ll see how Team Maryland can reset after last weekend, as they start on a road trip that won’t see them play at home again until January 10th.

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS D3 (2-0-0) vs. WILKES UNIVERSITY, at SUNY-MORRISVILLE

So far, so good for the D3 Stangs, as they now face their first weekend of two games. Nick Gray, Ryan Patrick, and Austin Master played great last weekend against Chatham and look like they will be the catalyst for offensive output. Dylan Schoen has been solid in net, but with plenty of help in front him to help limit the shots and rebounds in the zone.

NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN D1 (7-5-1-2) vs. DREXEL UNIVERSITY, VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY

Following a tough road loss, the Middies will be back home to hopefully gain a bit of moxie back. One of the big things for the Middies will be holding onto a lead, something they couldn’t do last weekend when up by two and allowed six unanswered goals. Trying to keep the puck away from their own net seems to be another cause of concern, though it is often cancelled out by their own goal-scoring prowess. They, however, can’t keep getting into track meets with teams week in and week out; as that will definitely wear them out more than necessary.

TOWSON UNIVERSITY TIGERS (2-13-1) vs. VILLANOVA UNIVERSITY, PENN STATE UNIVERSITY-BERKS

Another tough weekend for Towson, as they went on the road and dropped two games. It doesn’t help that they’re giving up 50 shots a game or that scoring outside of Ryan Dieter seems to have dried up. The past few seasons have been rough ones in rebuilding a one solid club team, but once they can find a way to right the ship– it shan’t be all doom and gloom in Towson.

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS CLUB (7-6-0) at PENN STATE UNIVERSITY, vs. DELAWARE

After a very hot start, the Club Stangs have seemed to have cooled a bit. As they face tougher teams, the team will adapt and learn how to play against them and respect them, but not fear them. With scoring coming from various sources, they just need to maybe sure up the defense a bit; as well as get some support to the netminders and they should be ready to take on the big gun– which are two teams they’ll see this weekend.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND TERRAPINS D2 (2-6-2) vs. JAMES MADISON UNIVERSITY, at GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY

The Terps face a fate much like the Towson Tigers, where scoring comes from some usual suspects and not much elsewhere from that. If teams shut down Christopher Bouchard and Liam Eden, the Terps seem to be a little shallow in scoring. They seem to get saves here and there, but saves at key times doesn’t seem to be happen as frequently now as it did early in the year.

Clutch N’ Crab Hockey Weekend Preview 008: Men’s Edition

MARYLAND BLACK BEARS (6-7-1) at NORTHEAST GENERALS

After a spirited weekend split against blood rivals Johnstown, the Black Bears take on another challenge in the form of three games in three days, including a Sunday afternoon tilt against the Generals. It’ll be the first meeting of the teams this season, who will be battling for the last playoff spot throughout the season. Kyle Oleksiuk continued his hot streak this past week, while the goaltending of Andrew Takacs was solid and hopefully will translate into the big weekend coming up.

TEAM MARYLAND (10-7-2) at SEAHAWKS HC and WALPOLE EXPRESS

After a Wednesday victory, Team Maryland travels for another Showcase event– this time in Haverhill, Massachusetts. They’ll be taking on two top teams from the New England Conference, while trying to keep their three-game winning streak alive. Jackson Dobek, Jeff Rebmann, Denys Arkhypenko, and Tristan Mock remain hot and will be key in helping Team Maryland have a good showing in another Showcase event.

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS D3 (1-0-0) at CHATHAM UNIVERSITY

After a solid first weekend back, the D3 Mustangs make their first road trip, a one-off, to Chatham. It’ll probably be a tougher test for the ‘Stangs, as they only allowed 11 shots on goal last weekend, whereas they did create a lot of chances with eight different players getting points in their victory. However, Luke Benitez will be a big part of the team, not only in the face-off dot– where he won 12 of 16 last week– but also creating offense as the season keeps going.

NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN D1 (7-6-1) at UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE

After a split of the weekend against William Paterson and Towson, the Middies will go on the road to Delaware– who are undefeated at home this season. Joe Kelly, Conner, and Nate Hyden have been great offensively, while John Scaccia has provided big numbers from the blue line. They’ll need to be extra solid in order to try and beat the Blue Hens in their own Coop.

TOWSON UNIVERSITY TIGERS (2-11-1) at WEST CHESTER UNIVERSITY and LEHIGH UNIVERSITY

It has not been a kind season for the Tigers. Back-to-back 6-0 losses last week showed that. Offensively, Ryan Dieter has been leading the pack with 16 points in 14 games, while Jacob Snyder is facing an average of 48.9 shots a game and has 440 saves in nine games of play. We’ll see what they can do on the road against two more tough opponents.

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS CLUB (7-4-0) vs. RIDER UNIVERSITY and ROWAN UNIVERSITY

While the hype train may have left the station a bit prematurely, the Club-Stangs got a big win in Vermont last week to end three-game skid. A key to the success is better team play and much more spread out scoring for their team. Six players already have five goals on the season, matching last year’s team for a full-season. It’ll be the second meeting with Rider this season, while Rowan is one of the dominant teams– which means it’s another test weekend at home for the Green Horses.

NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN D2 (1-7-1) at UNIVERSITY OF NORTH CAROLINA and DUKE UNIVERSITY

The D2 Middies will go to Tobacco Road…kind of…to take on UNC and Duke. It’ll be the first two-game weekend in almost a month for the Mids, which will either help them because they’re rested or hinder them for lack of playing back-to-backs. Duke and UNC, however, haven’t had many games themselves, so it could be very equal footing for the squads. Kevin Harris has been a bright spot for the Mids, though, leading offensively for the squad.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND TERRAPINS (2-7-0) vs. RIDER UNIVERSITY

Coming off of three rough weekends, a promising start for the Terps hasn’t been as much in the middle of the year. While Chris Bouchard and Liam Eden have been a driving force for this team, the rest of the team (Griffin Connolly the exception) has been mired in a bit of an offensive slump. They face another tough task in a one-off against Rider, as the Terps have only four more games until their long winter break.

Clutch N’ Crab Hockey Weekend Preview 007: Men’s Edition

MARYLAND BLACK BEARS (5-7-0) vs. WILKES/BARRE SCRANTON KNIGHTS

Last Week: The Black Bears were able to get two points on the weekend and their first win in Jamestown as a franchise on Friday. Not only that, but they had probably the most complete period in franchise history with their second period of Friday’s game.

What To Look For: While the split was nice, they’ll take a bitter loss on Saturday to heart and take on the Knights head-on. The biggest thing is that this is a team they swept about a month ago and with three losses in their last four games, the Black Bears will be hungry for a bounce-back weekend to get back to the .500 mark.

NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN D1 (4-4-1) at LEHIGH UNIVERSITY MOUNTAIN HAWKS and WILLIAM PATERSON UNIVERSITY PIONNERS

Last Week: Two tough losses to Rhode Island set the Middies back a little bit, though Charles Doherty made 76 saves over the weekend, getting tested early and often.

What To Look For: Two decent tests this weekend, as they’ll travel to a Lehigh team that only has a two-goal differential, proving they’re going to play the Middies very tough. The second night will be as tough, against a WPU team that has gotten out of the gates fast and putting up almost five goals a game. The offense will need to show up this weekend, while Doherty might need to be hot again from last weekend.

NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN D2 (2-4-0) at GEORGE WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY COLONIALS

Last Week: A one-and-done weekend for the D2 Mids, as they lost to Virginia Tech 7-3. Skippy Sheldon had 46 saves and Kevin Harris stayed up in the points with two assists of his own.

What To Look For: It’s hard to gauge since GWU doesn’t give much info for their team, but the biggest point has to be the team actually needing to provide some support for the defense. Harris will need a little help, though Tom McGowan has brought his game up in the last few match-ups.

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS (6-1-0) vs. DREXEL UNIVERSITY DRAGONS and GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY PATRIOTS

Last Week: Two HUGE home wins, as the Green Horses keep rolling along. A 5-2 win over NC State, while they game back from down 5-2 to beat Penn State 6-5 in a shootout. The Mustangs are undefeated at home.

What To Look For: It’ll be interesting to see how long this home streak can continue, though this team is only one win away from matching their franchise wins record (yeah, it’s a third year program, but still). That said, they fire-power of this team is unreal, as well with a hand-full of them averaging a point-per-game.

TOWSON UNIVERSITY TIGERS (1-8-1) vs. RIT TIGERS

Last Week: The Tigers have been getting better, but they lost tight games during their home-and-home against Temple. Goal scoring did include Ryan Dieter, though there seems to be more guys starting to help producing for the Tigers.

What To Look For: In the battle of the Tigers, it will quite the test of Towson, especially with Jake Snyder getting a lot of rubber again this year. However, the biggest hurdle is the fact they only have 18 goals-for in 10 games. Towson will really need to pick things up and start with RIT.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND TERRAPINS (2-2-2) vs. UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE BLUE HENS and ROWAN UNIVERSITY PROFS

Last Week: The Terps played two games and we only know the result of one– losing to Penn State 5-2 on Friday.

What To Look For: The Terps have been on a bit of a skid, though the games have been close. It would have been hard to keep the torrid pace they set from the start of the season; but it’s not like it’s all been silent. Defense will be the biggest thing in order to keep the puck out of the net.

Clutch N’ Crab Weekend Preview 006

Photo by Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

MARYLAND BLACK BEARS (4-6-0) at JAMESTOWN REBELS

Last Week: It was a tough weekend at home, as the Black Bears got swept by the Johnstown Tomahawks. Old Black Bears Quinn Warmuth and David Tomeo came in and made themselves at home like they never met, with Tomeo winning weekly honors. Two goals from the Black Bears came from Wilmer Skoog and Kyle Oleksiuk.

What To Look For: Jamestown wasn’t kind to the Black Bears last year, but with a different squad with a bitter taste in their mouth from last weekend should be able to fuel the Black Bears. The one thing is the special teams, especially on the power play, where there has been plenty of chances; but with little to show on the scoresheet. The penalties are also something that need to be limited, as the PK is at 71.4% on the season.

TEAM MARYLAND (6-6-2) vs. PHILADELPHIA JR. FLYERS

Last Week: It was a long week for Team Maryland, going 1-2-1 in the week with trips seeing the Philly Little Flyers and taking part in another EHL Showcase against Seahawks HC and the New Hampshire Avalanche. Tristan Mock, a newly minted EHL All-Star, had four goals and three assists and Denys Arkhypenko had four goals and four assists on the week.

What To Look For: Maybe some home cooking will help Team Maryland, as they return home to play for the first time in almost a month. The last team they played at home were these Jr. Flyers and they swept them in that series. As they go through teams again, you can expect some adjustment on both sides, but I believe the coaching staff knows the right ways to adjust to keep the opposition on their toes.

TOWSON UNIVERSITY TIGERS (1-7-0) at/vs. TEMPLE UNIVERSITY OWLS

Last Week: The first win of the season for Towson occurred, though they split the weekend with Cleary University. And upside was that Towson kept the shot total under 40 for both games, as well as getting offense from Matt Curtin and Nate Dailey to take some pressure off Ryan Dieter (who still had five points on the weekend) and Costa Pizanis.

What To Look For: Temple is a very offensive heavy team, so the defense will need to be as sharp as they were last week to keep Jake Snyder and Kevin Mackey protected in the pipes. Towson also will have to win on the road, something they haven’t done in five games on the road so far, which is a hurdle they’ll need to get over to be successful this year.

NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN D1 (4-3-1) at UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND RAMS

Last Week: The Middies swept the weekend with a 3-1 win over the College of New Jersey and 8-2 win against Penn State-Berks. Nate Hyden had two goals and three assists, brother Conner Hyden had four assists, Joe Kelly had two goals and three assists, while Casey McCormick (34 saves) and Charles Doherty (29 saves) held down the fort in net.

What To Look For: URI is a balanced team with their .500 record and almost identical goals-for and against. The Middies seem to be getting their goal scoring going again, something we saw a lot of last season. With Navy getting goal scoring from all over the place– like last week where eight different players scored– the team seems to be hitting their groove offensively.

NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN D2 (2-3-0) at VIRGINIA TECH UNIVERSITY HOKIES

Last Week: It was a tough one for the Middies, as Xavier came in and took the team to school with 12-2 and 9-1 wins. Tom McGowan and Kevin Harris (2) had the goals on the weekend.

What To Look For: The Middies will need to be much better defensively, especially against a Hokies’ team that has just under four-goals-a-game right now. The offense for Navy needs a kick in the butt, as they’ve only score 11 times in their five games, which won’t do much to support Skippy Sheldon and Nick Gordon in net.

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS (4-1-0) vs. NC STATE WOLF PACK and PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS

Last Week: The Green Horses had their first loss of the season as they went up to New Jersey and lost a tough one to Rider University despite Pierce Dushenko’s 45 saves in net. Brandon Scholze and Val Ramage had the goals.

What To Look For: NC State is averaging six goals a game, so the stingy defense for Stevenson will need to be in top form against the Wolf Pack. Penn State will be coming in after a game against the Terps the night before and then will play them again the night after. It’ll be crucial for the Mustangs to get on top of the Nittany Lions early and often to wear them out.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND TERRAPINS (2-0-2) vs. PENN STATE NITTANY LIONS

Last Week: The Terps were in Virginia for the ACCHL Virginia Invitational, as they lost in OT to Virginia and Virginia Tech, with their game against James Madison having no scoresheet attached. Andrew Amick had three goals in the two games, while David Ely had two.

What To Look For: These games will be spread over three nights, with a game Friday and the second on Sunday. Maryland will need to take advantage of the tired Penn State team Sunday, as I noted they play Stevenson on Saturday. With goals coming from players other than Evan Yamaguchi and Liam Eden, it helps Maryland’s cause going forward with their depth.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND TERRAPINS WOMEN (3-1-0) at MONTCLAIR STATE RED HAWKS

Last Week: The Lady Terps beat the other two Maryland teams in the DVCHC, beating Loyola 7-5 and Towson 12-0. Alix McKillop had seven goals and four assists in two games, Eleanor VanVranken had two goals and five assists, and Angeline King had four goals and an assist.

What To Look For: In only a one-game weekend, the Terps will try to keep imposing their will against the winless Red Hawks. McKillop and VanVranken seem to be on a role, but even if they do get neutralized; King, Amanda Schweitzer, and Laura Zheng have the ability to pick up the offensive slack.

Clutch N’ Crab Weekend Preview 005: Men’s Edition

Editor’s Note: I’m taking out the “Bold Prediction” portion mostly because most of them never come true and it’s hard to look into the future when you have a full-time job and can’t study video tape to have an accurate representation.

MARYLAND BLACK BEARS (4-4-0) vs. JOHNSTOWN TOMAHAWKS

Last Week-ish: They had a bye week last week, but it was only after the Black Bears swept the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights by a combined score of 12-5 with Jackson Sterrett leading the way with three goals and four assists.

What To Look For: It’ll be the return of the original Black Bear captain Quinn Warmuth, who is on the side of the rival Tomahawks. While the Tomahawks had the Black Bears’ number last year, the fire power of that team has moved onto college. With the Black Bears coming off a fresh weekend and gaining more confidence by the day, it won’t be so easy for those players from Western PA. We’ll also possibly see the newcomers of the team in Filip Jakobsson and Noah Kiemel.

TEAM MARYLAND (6-5-1) at SEAHAWKS HC and NEW HAMPSHIRE AVALANCHE

Last Week: Two series in less than a week saw TM split with New York Applecore and the Philadelphia Jr. Flyers. Connor Ball had four goals and an assist in those four games, while Tristan Mock added more to the offense with three goals and three assists. While Peter Siolas hasn’t been as hot, Armand Charland and Zach Richards have picked up the slack in net.

What To Look For: Going to West Chester, PA for another showcase weekend will be interesting to take in, especially with this being their fifth and sixth games within eight days. Odds are this team will be giving their all, but the travel and possible fatigue may catch up to them during these games.

NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN D1 (2-3-1) vs. THE COLLEGE OF NEW JERSEY LIONS and PENN STATE-BERKS NITTANY LIONS

Last Week: Two tough losses for the Middies against the Pitt Panthers last week, as they were downed in their home weekend. Josiah Tolvo had a goal and two assists on the weekend, with Nathan Hyden adding a goal and assist of his own to keep his offensive consistency alive and well. Navy had six different scorers on the weekend, as well.

What To Look For: Navy is facing two weaker opponents this week, as TCNJ is a D2 school and Penn State-Berks only has one win in three games, but this is a weekend to actually build up confidence going forward. To handle these teams easily would help set the tone ahead of them, while also seeing where they are at in case they falter to one of both of these teams.

TOWSON UNIVERSITY TIGERS (0-6-0) vs. CLEARY UNIVERSITY COUGARS

Last Week: Another tough weekend for the Tigers, losing to Lehigh 2-0 and then traveling to George Mason and dropping a 3-1 decision there. While there isn’t definite stats for the Lehigh game, Towson did hold GMU to only 36 shots on Sunday– which is solid for a team with some defensive issues on the year.

What To Look For: Towson will be taking on Cleary University as the latter will be playing their first games in the history of the university. It will be quite the interesting match-up to see if this Tigers team, who has had some struggles, can upend this first-year club. It’ll take more offense and defense, as Ryan Dieter and Costa Pizanis have six of the team’s seven goals on the season.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND TERRAPINS (2-0-0) at UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA CAVALIERS and JAMES MADISON UNIVERSITY DUKES and VIRGINIA TECH HOKIES

Last Week: It was total domination by the Terps over Pitt with 17 goals in two games and back-to-back hat tricks from Liam Eden; who also potted two assists on the weekend. Not to be outdone, Chris Bouchard had nine points (3g, 6a) on the weekend– which showed that the rust from a month off didn’t show for the Terps.

What To Look For: A big travel weekend for the ACCHL Virginia Invitational but with their game being as well-rounded as it has been; it shouldn’t be much of an issue. Eden, Bouchard, and Evan Yamaguchi should be able to keep the offensive wheels turning against teams who have had struggles when it comes to scoring and keeping the puck out of the net, as well.

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS (4-0-0) at RIDER UNIVERSITY BRONCS

Last Week: An off-weekend for the surprising Mustangs, who swept West Virginia the week previous. Brian Hodges had three goals in the series, with Brandon Scholze providing two goals and an assist. With those wins, the Mustangs are only two wins away from tying the franchise record for wins…albeit a young franchise at that.

What To Look For: It’ll be a battle of the undefeated teams with Rider holding a 4-0-0 record as well. This Stevenson team, however, has put in a lot of work to make this year better and with a full roster of talent on the full 200-feet, they’ll make quite the game out of it. Goaltender by committee has worked, but someone will need to break out and take the reigns sooner or later. Hodges and Mark Bowen have been great offensively and will need to continue that to help the Mustangs get even better.

NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN D2 (2-2-0) vs. XAVIER UNIVERSITY MUSKETEERS

Last Week: The D2 Middies split the Commander-in-Chief Showcase last week in Annapolis, losing to Air Force 5-1, but beating Army in thrilling fashion 4-3. Though I didn’t see the Army game, Skippy Sheldon made 59 saves in the loss to Air Force, where he didn’t get much help offensively from his teammates.

What To Look For: With the undefeated Musketeers coming in, the D2 Middies will be in tough. They’ll need to make sure they play solid defensively, as to not have a repeat of the Air Force game, while also providing offensive support. Xavier has played better on the road, which will mean the Middies will need to be even more up for the game than usual.

Clutch N’ Crab Weekend Preview 003

MARYLAND BLACK BEARS (2-4-0) at WILKES-BARRE/SCRANTON KNIGHTS

Last Week: The NAHL Showcase came and went with the Black Bears coming out of Blaine with a 2-2-0 record to show for it. The defensive game came around with the Black Bears giving up one less goal in the four game Showcase (7) than they did in the second periods of the previous two games against New Jersey (8). Cooper Black came in and played amazing well with two wins and 1.00 GAA over those two wins.

What To Look For: Can the teamwork of this team carry over into the divisional match-ups?? I believe it can, as this team looks more together than last year’s bunch. There’s still some work to be done and some guys still need to get going this season; but overall– the small steps the team has made looks to be the start of something more solid for the Black Bears.

Bold Prediction: Two of the older Bears in Jonathan Young and Luke Mountain will finally hit their full stride. Mountain showed some signed of getting it going before Blaine and Young showed some leaving Blaine. It might take a little bit of nudging, but those two are too good to keep slumping for too long.

TEAM MARYLAND (3-2-1) at Jr. Railers HC (Sunday); Vermont Lumberjacks (Monday)

Last Week: A big sweep of the Philadelphia Junior Flyers helped Team Maryland get a jump on their divisional foes and, like their affiliates, has really showed a culmination of being at this level for the second season. Peter Siolas came back from injury to post two solid winning efforts. Jeff Rebmann potted a goal and four assists on the weekend, while Tristan Mock scored two goals on Monday’s affair.

What To Look For: It’s the first time on the road for Team Maryland and they’ll play against the best and worst team in the New England conference. Rebmann has the hot hand going into it, but how much can Jay de Ruiter be held back, especially after his promising first weekend.

Bold Prediction: Team Maryland goes to Walpole and takes both games of this event and comes back looking better than ever. Also, we’ll see both Siolas and Armand Charland come away with wins, as de Ruiter has a breakout game against Vermont.

TOWSON UNIVERSITY (0-2-0) at UNIVERSITY OF RHODE ISLAND RAMS

Last Week: It was a rough opening weekend for the Tigers, as they were outscored 8-2 on the weekend, with both Jake Snyder and Kevin Mackey facing a lot of pucks in those games, while the offense left more to be desired, though Costa Pizanis and Ryan Dieter showed up for the offense– as they have most of their time with the Tigers.

What To Look For: Team defense will be one thing to see if it shows up this week. It’s one thing to have a weekend that’s a hiccup on the radar, but when they gave up almost an average of 50 shots a game last season– it’s more than a blip, it’s a trend. Regardless of how much Pizanis, Dieter, and the offense provides, the fact they are giving up almost 50 shots a game isn’t going to help anyone’s cause.

Bold Prediction: The Tigers will get one win on the season, but the biggest thing is that they will have at least one game where they will give up less than 40 shots in a game. Even if it’s just 39 shots– that’s less than 40 and a start to some improvement for the defense and a little less shell-shocked goaltending.

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY (2-0-0) vs. WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY MOUNTAINEERS

Last Week: A road game didn’t deter the Mustangs, nor did an early Saturday start– as they swept the weekend with wins against George Mason and West Chester. Mark Bowen was on fire with four goals on the weekend, Gary Matyok had a pair of his own, while the defense held firm– especially against West Chester late.

What To Look For: A full weekend back at the Reisterstown Sportplex should do a world of good for a team who is already at one-third of their win total from all of last season. Coach Mike Urgo has gotten this team into great shape, with the returning players gelling well with the new players. The only thing they need is support from the local hockey fans and this team can do anything.

Bold Prediction: Any West Virginia team hasn’t been great to Maryland teams, but Stevenson bucks this trend in D2 with another big weekend ahead of them. We still haven’t see guys like Thomas Foschini or Brandon Scholze kick it into high gear, which may be coming if Bowen continues to build great offensive energy that can infect the rest of the team.

NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN D2 (1-0-0) at UNIVERSITY OF RICHMOND SPIDERS

Last Week: Only one game as the D2 Middies beat Millersville University 3-2 in OT with a hat trick from Kevin Harris. Not much else was put out there in terms of stats, so we have to go with that for now.

What To Look For: With only two games in two weeks, how much chemistry can be brought from practice into the game situation. Obviously, a disciplined team like Navy could be okay with the time between games; but overall– what will this mean for them when weekend start to pick-up?? At least they’ll get their travel out of the way early.

Bold Prediction: Harris may not be the offensive start, but the Middies will go to Richmond and take a win out of their hands and come back to Annapolis 2-0-0.

NAVAL ACADEMY WOMEN’S (2-0-0) at WEST CHESTER UNIVERSITY RAMS

Last Week: Upstate New York was no match for the Navy Women’s team, as they swept SUNY-Oswego and outscored them 11-3 in their first outing. Six different goal scorers on Saturday’s win, though no record of the Sunday scoring.

What To Look For: Another road weekend for Navy, as they’ll try to keep their legs about them with all the travel. West Chester has been on a decline in recent seasons, but Navy shouldn’t take them lightly as it could be a change of pace and cycle of classes for WCU.

Bold Prediction: Navy keeps the winning ways alive and they’ll keep distributing the wealth of goals, while not shying away from playing defensive hockey, as well.

Clutch N’ Crab Preview: NAHL Showcase Edition

Photo by Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

It’s the time of year where Blaine, Minnesota becomes the mecca for hockey, even if only for a weekend. All 26 NAHL teams will be in action across four days in a clash of divisions that’ll stay that way until the Robertson Cup Final Four.

Last year, the Maryland Black Bears got their first win in franchise history against the Springfield Jr. Blues and went 2-1-1 in their four games. They’ll be heading back to the Schwan Super Rink to get their first win of the season

Last Weekend: It was one of firewagon hockey against the New Jersey Titans, as they got outscored 15-10 over the two games, with Wilmer Skoog proving to be a great off-season pick-up for the Black Bears, as well as putting himself 2nd in league scoring after the first weekend. While the Titans had their top guns on full display, the Black Bears held their ground as much as they could and if not for the second period in each game– it could have been a different outcome for the team. The defense was able to pick-up some offense, as well, with two goals and nine assists coming from the blue line, Aidan McDowell and Bryden Sinclair leading the way with a goal and three assists a piece.

This Weekend: The Black Bears will face a three teams from the Midwest Division and one from the Central Division. They’ll start off with the Minnesota Magicians being first, a team that finished second in the Midwest and lost in the division finals. On Thursday, the Fairbanks Ice Dogs will be the opponent, the league runners-up from last season and one of five teams to score over 200 goals on the season. Friday has the Janesville Jets, who got the last spot in the Midwest playoff run, as they lost to Fairbanks in the first round. Finally on Saturday morning, the Minot Minotauros– Skoog’s last team and 2nd in the regular season in the Central Division in 2018-19 before losing in the division finals.

What To Look For: Obviously, the biggest thing is to see how the Black Bears play in the second period. Giving up eight goals in the second frame, including five in Saturday’s game, is not a good look and something that the team needs to buckle down on. Also, how sustainable is the offense for Maryland and what other players can breakout to compliment Skoog’s offensive touch; which we’ve seen some glimpses from Brayden Stannard, Jackson Sterrett, and Ethan Heidepriem; not to mention Luke Mountain– who had two assists this past weekend and is trying to build off his great second half last season.

Bold Prediction: I expect the Black Bears to get at least two wins, like last season; but I fully expect them to be a bit more stingy on defense. Defensive zone coverage plagued the team last year and a little bit of that showed last weekend. Both Andrew Takacs and Gavin Abric will be tested and hopefully they can get some more support with the first weekend jitters out of the way.

Clutch N’ Crab Weekend Preview 001

This is a new thing to bring you a preview of the teams we cover on Chesapeake Hockey Week. The weekly review will be on there, but you can get the bigger previews on here in the written word.

Photo by Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

MARYLAND BLACK BEARS (0-0-0, T-1st in East Division) VS. NEW JERSEY TITANS (0-0-0, T-1st in East Division)

Last Weekend: It was an exhibition weekend for the Black Bears, as they took on the USHL’s Youngstown Phantoms and the Titans. They lost both match-ups, but showed plenty of upside on their game– especially from newcomer Wilmer Skoog, who was acquired from Minot this summer. Luke Mountain also looked to build off his solid second-half of the season with a spirited fight against Youngstown. Against New Jersey, local product Finn McLain and returning defenseman Logan Kons got the goals in the loss.

What To Look For: One of the biggest things to see is how comfortable the team will look in a regular season game. Practice can only do so much and with only two exhibition games; it’s hard to tell which guys will click with each other on the ice. On top of that, the defense was a big concern towards the end of last year, but with the additions of Bryden Sinclair, Jack Hillman, and Hampus Rydqvist; the skill on the blue line has went up immensely from what we last saw. Another point to watch for is the power play– as it only worked at 12.8% last season. With more skilled added to the team, it will be interesting to see how much they improve off of last year’s trouble spot. Finally, it’s Andrew Takacs’ crease this year, as he looks to be the rock between the pipes in his first full season as starter.

Bold Prediction: It’s easy to be a homer and say the Black Bears will sweep. I won’t be that homer…yet. I fully expect a split at home for the Black Bears, while I can definitely see Skoog being a major offensive factor in the games. The Black Bears will take Friday’s game trying to make up for the loss last weekend and while feeding off the great crowd at The Den, but I think they may come up just short on Saturday’s game after an emotional opening night.

Photo via @NavyHockey

NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN (0-0-0) at WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY MOUNTAINEERS (0-0-0)

Last Season: The Midshipmen went 25-6-1(SOW)-3 last season and ended up one game short of winning the conference title, but lost out to West Chester University. Despite a strong record, many thought Navy had a lesser schedule than most and that’s what held them back from getting a sniff at the ACHA National Championships with an at-large bid. However, they won the Crab Pot Tournament, which might have been a little consolation.

What To Look For: The Middies had a high powered offense last season, which they hope to continue into this season; but they also gave up a ton of goals, as well. One of the keys for Navy will to balance the scoring a defense, while helping out their goaltending every once and a while. We’ll have to see where this weekend takes them and what it could prove against a Mountaineers team, who Navy defeated 7-2 in their only match-up last last year.

Bold Prediction: Navy got off to a solid start last season against Slippery Rock, sweeping those games– which is why I think they’ll sweep West Virginia. Starting off the season out west seems to do the Middies very well.

Photo via @UMCP_Hockey

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND TERRAPINS (0-0-0) vs. GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY HOYAS (0-0-0)

Last Season: The Terps were on and off our radar, as the record keeping was shotty at best. Finishin 8-13-1, the Terps are looking to rebound from a down season. However, they did have two MACH all-stars on their squad in forwards Chris Bouchard and Evan Yamaguchi.

What To Look For: After some tough matches last year, the defense could be the main focus for the Terps; who could run into some big trouble against some high-offensive teams in their schedule, like Liberty University, Drexel University, and University of Delaware. Georgetown will be a great team, as they are a balanced team, but will be enough for the Terps to start their lockdown approach.

Bold Prediction: With three weeks between games, the Terps should go out there and really leave it out on the ice to make an impression in their first game. Though Georgetown had a better record last season, Maryland took the season series sweep with two wins at the beginning and end of the season.

Photo via @TeamMarylandEHL

TEAM MARYLAND (1-1-0) vs. PHILADELPHIA REVOLUTION (0-1-0)

Last Week: Well, it was earlier this week, but Team Maryland split with the Connecticut Roughriders, dropping the first game 7-5, but taking the second 5-4. This is a much better offensive Team Maryland team from last year, as Jamie de Ruiter had FIVE GOALS in two games, including four of Team Maryland’s five in game one– two of which were short-handed.

What To Look For: Team Maryland will be facing their former goalie in Anthony Del Tufo in at least one of the games. We’ll have to see how Del Tufo can track Team Maryland’s shot– while Team Maryland needs to limit the shots against, as Connecticut had 78 shots in two games. The defense will need to be much tighter as the season rolls along.

Bold Prediction: Team Maryland will be able to fend off Del Tufo and take at least one of two on Sunday and Monday– with my bet being on the Sunday game, while both teams will be trying to wake up for a 10:30 am Monday morning start time– but the Revolution could very well come out on top.

Black Bears II: Electric Boogaloo: 2019-20 NAHL Schedule Released

Photo by Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

Tuesday evening, the NAHL released the schedule for the 2019-20 season, which means we can all start figuring out when Scotty is going to get home to see the Maryland Black Bears play in his old arena. There will be 60 regular season games, including the NAHL Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota– and it’ll be a time for the Black Bears to see if they can not fall into a sophomore slump and make a big push in the East Division.

Puck drop for the Black Bears is at home on September 13th, as the New Jersey Titans will be at The Den at Piney Orchard for the two-game weekend set; which is the exact same match-up to open up the season last year. The Black Bears went 3-8-1 last season against the Titans, but played them tight with the exceptions of the first and last games of the year against them.

Maryland will play three-game weekends twice in the new season, first against the Northeast Generals November 8th through the 10th, while they’ll make their first trip up to Lewiston, Maine to take on the Nordiques December 13th through the 15th. The Black Bears will only see the Nordiques twice next season, with Maine traveling to Piney Orchard February 14th and 15th for a Valentine’s Day weekend of fun.

Of course, with Maine being the new team in town and travel being hell (about 550 miles between the two rinks), that’s seems to be the only reason why there isn’t more than two meetings between these teams. The Black Bears will get their fair share of their normal foes in Johnstown, Jamestown, Northeast, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, and New Jersey in a push to make their first post-season appearance.

It should also be noted that the NAHL Showcase is not put into the schedule yet, but that will happen September 18th through 21st at the Schwan Super Rink. This will be the only time before the Robertson Cup Final Four that the Black Bears will play outside of their division.

Bruich Leads Drafted Group of Black Bears for 2019

Another NAHL Draft has come and gone and the Maryland Black Bears come out of it like every other team– with plenty of promise and upside to be had. With eight forwards, three defensemen, and two goalies picked, the Black Bears look ahead with a nice mix of youth and experience to their selections.

However, their first pick at fourth overall could be a solid cornerstone for the team next season, as power forward Aden Bruich got selected out of the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 16U organization. Only just turning 17 in March, the 6’3, 220 power forward could be what the Black Bears need in terms of grit and grind to counterbalance scoring. The Clarkson University commit put up 28 goals and 43 points across the Tier-1 Elite League and 16U Midgets. If he can get his size to translate into the NAHL style of play, it could be a huge boost to the scoring of the Black Bears. Even in his Twitter old Twitter bio he said he plays a North/South, heavy, physical game. Coming off a National Championship doesn’t hurt either.

Here’s how the rest of the Draft shook down:

3rd Round: Hampus Rydqvist (Frolunda 20U) 7g, 15pts in 44 games
3rd Round: Zachary Borgiel (Leamington, GOJHL) 2.25 GAA, .924 Sv% in 28gms
4th Round: Aidan McDowell (The Hun School, USHS-Prep) 12g, 27pts in 23 gms
5th Round: Samuel Mojzis (HC Slovan Bratislava 20U) 29g, 53pts in 45 gms
6th Round: Liam Ovington (NJ Avalanche 18U, T1EHL) 4g, 10pts in 27gms
7th Round: Brayden Stannard (Oakland 16U) 15g, 44pts in 69 gms
8th Round: Andrew Remer (Ottawa, CCHL) 8g, 25pts in 57 gms
9th Round: Philip Ekberg (Conneicut, NCDC) 14g, 31pts in 50gms
10th Round: Jack Quinn (Northfield-Mount Hermon, USHS-Prep) 19g, 41pts in 40gms
11th Round: Trevor Adams (Salmon Arm, BCHL) 17g, 41pts in 55gms
12th Round: Kyle Peters (Virtua 18U, AYHL) 8g, 26pts in 21gms
13th Round: Aaron Dickstein (Milwaukee, NA3HL) 2.93 GAA, .905 Sv% in 44gms

A couple of things to note from this draft:

-Hampus Rydqvist and Aaron Dickstein are 20 years old this year, making it their last year to be eligible to play. We’ll see if they make the team out of camp; which I think Rydqvist would be a better bet to make it as a right-shot defenseman with higher level experience. Dickstein will have to fight Anthony Del Tufo, Andrew Takacs, and maybe David Tomeo to get some crease time– same goes for Borgiel, though Borgiel does have some NAHL experience with Brookings (now St. Cloud) and Muskegon in 2017-18.

-Along with Bruich, there are two other D1 commits picked in this draft. Brayden Stannard is commit to Nebraska-Omaha and Trevor Adams is a commit to Air Force. Stannard was also picked by the Green Bay Gamblers late in the USHL Draft this off-season.

-Aiden McDowell is an alum of the Mercer Chiefs system, one of the Black Bears affiliated teams. With 29 points in 24 games last year in the 18U program, his scoring touch could prove valuable with the big club this coming season.

It was a solid draft from GM Clint Mylymok and AGM Jason Deskins. We’ll see what the future hold for these players, as open camp for the Black Bears starts in less than two weeks (June 14th) with main camp being held July 17th, all at the Den at Piney Orchard.