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 Preview 021

MARYLAND BLACK BEARS at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights

Every weekend is pretty much a playoff weekend for the Black Bears as they continue to fight for the last playoff spot in the East Division. This weekend, they head to WBS and maybe try to close the gap on the Knights, who are four points ahead of the Black Bears going into the weekend. After a split against Maine last weekend, the Black Bears are looking to get some kind of offense going, as they haven’t scored more than two goals per game in their last three games. With Brayden Stannard being out the last couple of weekends, the Black Bears will need others to step up should he be out again this weekend coming up. On the upside, Jackson Sterrett has been getting some puck luck recently, while Aaron Swanson has jump into a more prominent role as his tenure has gone on.

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS D3 MEN vs. Elmira, Lebanon Valley

In the last weekend of the regular season, the Mustangs try to improve their spot in the UCHC and perhaps get as high as second in the UCHC, but will have to battle against Elmira– who is right behind the Mustangs in the standings. If nothing else, the Mustangs will use this as a dress rehearsal going forward, though their second half of the season has been a little rougher down the line, as they are 6-5-2 since the semester resumed in 2020. The upside that their conference record is strong and they beat both Elmira and Lebanon Valley on the road just one month ago.

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS D3 WOMEN at Alvernia, Wilkes

With a 4-1-3 record in their last eight, the Mustangs head into their last weekend of the regular season and sit second in the UCHC South Division. Facing off against two teams lower in the table and two teams they’ve beaten already this year, the Mustangs have their own destiny in their hands if they want to stay in second spot. The only down side if that they are below .500 on the road this season, which could make it a little more difficult for them to get points, but this team has faced adversity this season and come out the other end fine. Here’s hoping going into playoffs, they’ll be able to use this tune-up weekend as a jumping off point for a bigger run.

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 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.

Three Days at The Den

When the NAHL announced in April 2018 that they were expanding to Odenton, Maryland– I was excited, but also apprehensive. In fact, I was wrong about a lot of things that they were going to do in the infancy of that team– like the name and inclusion of Natty Boh. However, as time goes and proves me wrong– I’m happy that I was wrong. Spending time around the team this week and at a home game after a season-and-a-half reporting from afar, this team couldn’t be in better shape with what they’ve laid out from the beginning of the team.

The experience of the week was nothing short of tremendous both in a fan experience side of things with participating in intermission festivities to the professional side of thing with access to players and coaches, as well as helping with recaps of the intermission and getting some time in the booth with play-by-play announcer Alex Utano. The open-arms that the Black Bears welcomed Jen Conway (@NHLHistorygirl) and myself was great. It shouldn’t be such a surprise considering how well they take care of Jon Pitonzo as our official podcast photographer.

Thursday morning, Jen and I went to practice and immediately had Black Bears captain Logan Kons tap on the glass and give a head-nod acknowledgement of us being there– which is a stand-up act in and of itself, but more on that later. Following that, communications director Colin MacCarthy came over to welcome us and following practice, team president Robyn Remick came up to us to make sure that we were well taken care of and offered us a skate in the now-reality Rink Two, which we took her up on.

During the, Colin and I worked out who I wanted to talk to for the week– which turned out to be not only a podcast; but the weekly Black Bears’ Report they put out on their social media streams. Following that, Robyn, Colin, Jen, and myself sat up in the Black Bears war room and talked about things inside and out of hockey. It was very good time hearing stories of Robyn’s past at ESPN and the different things she’s experienced when in the sports lifestyle. We took our leave later to let them get to work and have us adventure on our vacation.

Friday night was a great night, not just because of the Black Bears win, but also just being able to experience the game first-hand. The in-game production, coordinated by Harrison Hascoe, was top-notch and very well executed to keep the fans involved during stoppages in play and during the intermission– even if it means putting two podcasters in a grueling obstacle course that is not meant for two former athletes with dwindling cardio. With my time up in the HockeyTV booth with Alex Utano and cameraman Will (whose last name I didn’t get or forgot– sorry Will) was also awesome, as it had been over 15 years since I last called a hockey game.

Also on Friday night, it was meeting up with billet parents who I have interacted with online before, but have never met face-to-face– with the exception of Bethany and Brian; who came to North Dakota in the summer. It’s always great to meet those people behind the scenes to help keep these players in a family lifestyle while they’re away from home.

While Saturday night was a loss, the production and energy in the arena was amazing and kept everyone invested in the game throughout. Especially after the game, where autographs for fans in attendance happened; which happens win or loss– which is a nice connection with these players to the fanbase and the community as a whole. Also, before the game, a reception was held beforehand, as it was Swedish Heritage Night. Delicacies were made and brought from Sweden that season ticket holders and staff partook in with the families of defenseman Hampus Rydqvist and Filip Jakobsson, as well as Lars-Erik Tindre from the Swedish embassy. Another way that the team connects the fans with the team and also making those from the team feel a little closer to home, if only for a night.

Not only that, but seeing people I haven’t seen in a while– like my former teammate Kevin, meeting people who know my former teammates and who I interact with online– Mark; meeting fellow DMV area hockey backers– like Derek of Chesapeake Regional Hockey Review and his son; plus meeting a podcast listener whose name I didn’t get, but was wearing a Patrick Kane US Hockey jersey– so shoutout to you PK88 listener. It was a great coming together of the hockey community in the region.

Back to Logan Kons for a second. I mentioned earlier about him saying hi when Jen and I got there– but after that practice, he formally said hi to us and we chatted and after the game Saturday he came up and thanked me for coming out and asked when I’d be back in the area. I noticed that Friday, as well, with Kons going up to fans, billet families, player’s families, and talking to them and thanking them for coming out. That’s the mark of a true leader when the off-ice commitments are as strong as the on-ice commitments. If there’s someone to look at when it comes to all-around good person in hockey– Kons will be tops on that list for me.

The entire experience was great, the staff there from Robyn to Colin to Harrison to Alex to Will to Herb the PA Announcer to Mitch the Media Intern to the Ice Crew to everyone was top rate, very welcoming and open, and willing to take time out to make things right if there were problems to make sure that they are running a top-notch program on and off the ice.

If you have the chance to make it out to a Black Bears game, I implore you to do so. This is a team that cares about the community from the president to the players and everyone in between. They all make sure the experience you have there is one you will want to come back to and one that will last in your mind. Thanks to everyone who welcomed Jen and I to the rink and it’s something we’ll be sure to return to hopefully sooner than later.

Clutch N’ Crab Hockey Weekend Preview 015

MARYLAND BLACK BEARS (15-13-4) vs. NORTHEAST GENERALS

Riding a five-game winning streak and coming off a weekend break, the Black Bears hit the ice at The Den for the start of 2020. The Black Bears have been playing solid hockey, outscoring opponents 21-5 during the winning streak. This all while dealing with the departure of leading scorer Wilmer Skoog to Boston University. However, the departure of Skoog is probably going to be the turning point that brings the team together more. The entire team has come together to be better than before, with Jackson Sterrett and Brayden Stannard starting to emerge offensively for the team. However, in the previous meeting this season with the Generals, the Black Bears lost a three-game set two game to one in Northeast, with the two losses being one-goal affairs. With a new attitude, we can expect the best from this team trying to stay one of the hottest teams in the NAHL.

TEAM MARYLAND (14-15-3) at PHILADELPHIA LITTLE FLYERS

A difficult end of 2019 and going winless in December is something that Team Maryland hopes to resolve in their first game of the new calendar year. Hampered with a seven-game losing streak, the team looks to use the two-week break they had to regroup and get more mentally rested going into the final weeks of the schedule. With Denys Arkhypenko coming back after a five-point performance at the World Juniors Division 1-B tournament, the offense should have an added kick in their game this weekend against the Little Flyers.

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS D3 (9-1-0) vs. CHATHAM UNIVERSITY

One of the hottest teams in D3 hockey right now, Stevenson looks to add another win to their seven-game win streak this weekend in a one-off against Chatham. Getting into the USCHO rankings for the first time in team history, the #12 Mustangs are trying not to let the almost month off hurt them too much. Their +25 goal differential overall is tops amongst other UCHC teams overalls, while in-league, they are a +7, which is second in the conference. This is wilder given that leading scorer Dominic Brenza is 41st in UCHC overall scoring, showing how spread around the puck has been. Freshman goalie Ryan Kenny has been stellar with 1.84 GAA in his six starts– all wins– and has two shutouts in his six games.

Clutch N’ Crab Hockey Weekend Preview 014

MARYLAND BLACK BEARS (13-13-4) vs. WILKES-BARRE SCRANTON KNIGHTS

After a huge three-win weekend in Maine, the Black Bears return home for their last series before a small winter break against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, a team that’s just a single point ahead of them in the standings.

Last weekend, the Black Bears probably played their most complete weekend of hockey in recent memory. They were able to control the pace of the game for the majority of the three games, they got solid goaltending and defense, while their scoring was clicking in a big way. The team’s dynamic seemed to be on full display with everyone on the roster contributing– even if it wasn’t on the scoresheet.

This weekend is the third meeting between the Bears and Knights, with Maryland holding the lead in the series at 3-1, though it’s been almost two months since their last meeting against each other. Obviously a lot has changed, but the matter at hand for each team is to sweep the weekend and have some kind of breathing room going into the second half of the season.

For Maryland, the key is to keep that solid defensive momentum from the Maine series over into the rest of the year. There were very minimal turnovers or bad breakouts that series, which is something they haven’t always done this season. Both Andrew Takacs and Cooper Black were fantastic when called upon, letting up only four goals in the entire three-game series. More over than that, the addition of Mikhael Gonchar has seemingly helped the defense on both sides of the puck, while Logan Kons and Hampus Rydqvist continue to be the anchors of that blue line.

On the offensive side, Jackson Sterrett has been emerging as the top producer for this team. With East Division Star of the Week honors, the Tennessee native has honed his game into an even more well-rounded setting. It also shows the trust that the coaching staff has in him with placing him in every kind of role imaginable to help him succeed, which includes the penalty kill– earning him three short-handed goals in the season. Not to be outdone, Brayden Stannard and Kyle Oleksiuk have been fantastic as complimentary options for the offense. Both have come up with key goals in the last couple weeks, while also showing a ton of grit in the offensive style. Add that to Andrew Remer and Ethan Heidepriem being solid in the face-off dot and around the puck and you’ve got a top-12 that has every facet of game play ready to move ahead and committed to being there for each other.

The Knights have been a streaky team of sort this season, winning two of three this past week, while being 5-3-2 in their last ten. Both Lincoln Hatten and Tyrone Bronte seemingly love to play against the Black Bears, as Hatten has three goals and an assist already this year against Maryland, while Bronte may not be scoring as much (two assists), but is a thorn in the side on his forecheck. One of the biggest things for Maryland is continuing to pepper the goaltending in Zach Stejskal and Alex Contey, whom they’ve score 19 goals in the series so far. Keeping the Knights on their heels is going to be the top priority in making sure they can’t dictate pace.

And if you’re in the area, go to the Maryland Black Bears website to get some tickets and support your local team. Tell ’em Scotty Wazz sent you and some people ask, “Who??” and others will say, “How’s he doing these days?? Does he know about the second rink??”

Clutch N’ Crab Weekend Preview 013

MARYLAND BLACK BEARS (10-13-4) at MAINE NORDIQUES

It was a rough weekend last weekend for the Black Bears, as bad breaks and untimely turnovers haunted them against Jamestown. However, they’re meeting the Nordiques for the first time in franchise history, so it should be a hoot– especially for a three-game weekend such as this one. If the Black Bears are going to be successful is to find a way to convert on those scoring chances, especially since Maine has given up the most goals in the East Division. Conspicuous by the absence of one of the league’s top scorers on their roster, Maryland will need to band together moreso than usual in order to get back on a consistent winning track.

TEAM MARYLAND (14-13-2) at NEW YORK APPLECORE

A bit of a downspell for TM, who are coming off another couple of losses at this latest Showcase this week, but after a four-game win streak, they’re hit with a four-game losing streak. With only three games before the year-end break, TM needs to find some kind of extra gear to end 2019. They’ll have to do it without Denys Arkhypenko, who is representing Ukraine in the World Junior Division 1B tournament going on in Kyiv. TM will finish out their calendar year with two more games in New Jersey Wednesday and Thursday, as well.

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS ACHA (7-8-0) at ROWAN UNIVERSITY

After a quick start to the season, the Green Horses have kind of simmered down, though the trip to Europe may have been a good thing and maybe a bad thing for last week and the lag that comes with it. That said, they have a chance to finish out strong with a battle against an undefeated Rowan team, hoping to pin them with their first loss. One of the biggest attributes for the Mustangs is their ability to score with a various amount of players with 13 players having a goal and six having five or more. The biggest thing would be keeping it out of the goal, as the team doesn’t have a goalie with under a 4.00 GAA, though Pierce Dushenko has come up huge for this team in key moments this season.