UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND TERRAPINS (4-1-0) at WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY MOUNTAINEERS
Last Week: The Terps dominated Montclair State 17-5 with 11 players having multiple-point games.
What To Look For: It’ll be interesting to see how long the domination continues, as they play a weaker WVa team. The Terps are averaging over nine goals a game and eight players with a better than point-per-game average. While the defense may be suspect at times, that could be the only flaw in their game.
TOWSON UNIVERSITY TIGERS (1-2-0) vs. LOYOLA UNIVERSITY GREYHOUNDS (1-1-0)
Last Week: Both teams were off last week, but both teams lost to Maryland the week prior– Towson downed 12-0 and Loyola downed 7-5. Towson also lost to Montclair State 10-3.
What To Look For: Provided that Towson just won their first game in two years and Loyola was able to beat Montclair State and hung close with Maryland; it could be a big night for the Greyhounds. That said, Towson has shown a bit of a fight in them wanting to get back on the winning track, so it would seem they will do all they can to keep it close this weekend.
NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN WOMEN (4-1-1) vs. MERCYHURST UNIVERSITY LAKERS and at LIBERTY UNIVERSITY FLAMES
Last Week: Off last week, as well– but the Lady Mids are coming back from a weekend that saw them tie and lose to Michigan State in Lansing. It was a test for them, as they had been mowing down teams left and right to start the season.
What To Look For: This will be another test, as Mercyhurst is one of the top scoring teams in D2, while Liberty provides a consistent style of play that the Mids will have to counteract in short time. The good thing is that they play Mercyhurst first and will be able to adjust and adapt to take on Liberty the next night.
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.
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.
NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN WOMEN (6-0-0) at MICHIGAN STATE SPARTANS
Last Week: Only one game, but it was a dominating performance with the Women winning 9-0 over Air Force and outshooting them 75-15. The Women Mids have outscore their opponents 51-4 on the season.
What To Look For: Can the dominance continue in East Lansing?? There’s really no sign of this team letting up and quite frankly– they shouldn’t either. With each game being more important than the last, the Women Mids will have to keep the pedal down if they want to get noticed on the national stage.
UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND TERRAPINS WOMEN (1-1-0) vs. LOYOLA UNIVERSITY GREYHOUNDS and TOWSON UNIVERSITY TIGERS
Last Week: We welcome the Women Terps, who were all or nothing last week in a 20-0 lost to Rowan University, but a 12-0 win over George Washington. Alix MacKillop, Amanda Schweitzer, and Aya Gandolfo had two goals apiece in the win.
What To Look For: We’ll see what happens after the crazy free-for-all weekend from last weekend and if it’ll carry over against two other Maryland teams.
TOWSON UNIVERSITY TIGERS WOMEN (1-0-0) vs. MONTCLAIR STATE UNIVERSITY RED HAWKS and UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND TERRAPINS
Last Week: Another newcomer to the list is the Towson women, who won their first game since the 2017-18 season by beating George Washington 12-5. Lily Warshaw led the way with a hat trick in the big win for the program.
What To Look For: We’ll see if the good times keep rolling, as they’ll take on two teams who will have to go through Loyola first. Maybe someone could scout out that talent before the game.
LOYOLA UNIVERSITY GREYHOUNDS (0-0-0) vs. MONTCLAIR STATE UNIVERSITY RED HAWKS and UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND TERRAPINS
Last Week: It’s the first game of the season for the lady Greyhounds, as they’ll look to improve on their 11-win season last year out of their 16 games.
What To Look For: It’ll be a fresh start for all over, though it’ll be interesting to see how they approach Maryland– who was an all-or-nothing team last weekend.
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.
Last Week: Team Maryland came back from the Walpole Showcase splitting the weekend with a 7-4 win over the Railers Jr. Hockey Club, but lost to the Vermont Lumberjacks 3-1. It was the first time this year TM was away from the friendly confines of Piney Orchard.
What to Look For: In their first in-conference weekend set on the road, TM will be trying to keep some kind of hot offense going. Tristan Mock has joined the team and made a big impact last week with a hat trick against the Railers, while Jeff Rebmann and Denys Arkhypenko have been solid on with offensive contributions. This will be a good test on their team, as they are on the road again. They’ll be playing an Applecore team ripe for the picking (pun intended), as they’ve only scored 13 goals in six game, which should give the offense plenty of time to shine.
Bold Prediction: This has the hints of a sweep weekend with a weak Applecore team to start the season. The biggest thing is to not rest on the laurels of what they have done and play down to a level that could be presented to them.
NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN (2-1-1) vs. UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH
Two Weeks Ago: Navy went to Rochester and Erie to play RIT and Mercyhurst. While they dropped the first game against RIT 3-1, they beat Mercyhurst the next night by the same 3-1 scoreline. Nate Hyden has stepped out to be one of the early offensive contributors of this years’ team though we’re only four games in.
What to Look For: The first home games of the season are always a treat, which should help motivate the Middies against a Pitt team that was just over .500 last season. The biggest thing would be finding an offensive trend going their way, while also keeping their own house clean. Hyden has done well early on, but they’ll need more out of Derek Golembrosky, Conner Hyden, and Joe Kelly and have the upperclassmen show the youngsters the way.
Bold Prediction: Homecooking is good and I think it’s good enough for at least one win this weekend. However, Navy needs to play better on the opening games, as they’ve lost their first two opening series games. If they want to set the tone for the rest of the season, getting the first win of the weekend is going to be key for success down the road.
TOWSON UNIVERSITY TIGERS (0-4-0) vs. LEHIGH UNIVERSITY, at GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY
Last Week: The Tigers had another tough weekend, losing both games to Rhode Island 5-1 on Friday and 7-3 on Saturday. Towson gave up 112 shots on the weekend after give up 98 shots in the two game set against West Virginia the previous weekend.
What to Look For: There’s going to be a lot of shots and if you like goaltending, these games may not be for the faint of heart. However, you can look at what Ryan Dieter has been doing with four goals and five points in four games and see some kind of hope offensively. That said, that’s where it stops as Collin Mercier and Costa Pizanis haven’t been able to get fired up out of the gate.
Bold Prediction: I can’t say they are going to keep shots under 40 a game because I don’t think it will be. At the same time, I have a better feeling about support coming for Jacob Snyder and Kevin Mackey this weekend than ever, especially against George Mason. This could be a surprising weekend for Towson and at least one win for the weekend.
UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND TERRAPINS () vs. UNIVERSITY OF PITTSBURGH
Last Month: The Terps played Georgetown, but even after almost a month, no scoresheet, no update online, nothing. The Terps social media game used to be so strong.
What to Look For: Hopefully some solid play from the Terps. My hope is also the Pitt teams bussed down together to cut costs for this trip to Maryland.
Bold Prediction: We’ll get some kind of update from this game, and it’s probably going to be from the Panthers.
NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN D2 (1-1-0) vs. AIR FORCE ACADEMY, vs. ARMY
Last Week: One game on the weekend again, but it was a loss to Richmond with Sean Bowman getting the lone goal in the defeat.
What to Look For: It’s not only the first home games for the D2 Middies, but it’s also an academy weekend with both Air Force and Army coming into town. Obviously, these kind of rivalry games run deep, so the meaning of these games shouldn’t be overlooked by the teams on both sides of the puck.
Bold Prediction: Could be in tough, but I can see a sweep because of the rivalry games and because of the importance of these games for the Middies personally.
NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN WOMEN vs. ARMY
Last Week: Navy went to West Chester and ran the show with a 15-1 win on Saturday and an unconfirmed 16-0 win on Sunday. That’s 42 goals in four games for the women. That’s crazy.
What to Look For: Same as the D2 team, it’s an academy weekend and you can bet the Middies are looking for the scoring to continue against their biggest rivals in Army.
Bold Prediction: Goals will not be at a premium and I think that the Middies will take the week, stay undefeated, and stay scoring.
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.
Last Weekend-ish: A four-game in seven-day set for Team Maryland yielded only one win, but a much better improvement from last season, staying in many of the games– unlike last year when things were not so great. Against the Philadelphia Revolution, they dropped two closely contested games, with Sam Sheppard showing off his playing making skills and Bobby Geier finding the net once during the set. Jay de Ruiter was held off the scoresheet after he ravaged Connecticut’s defense mid-week.
What To Look For: The Jr. Flyers haven’t allowed a goal in either of their games this season, so it’ll be a test for the Team Maryland offense to see if they’ll be able to get a tally on the board. With nine different goal scorers on the season in four games, the wealth has been spread just a bit. They obviously can’t expect de Ruiter to pot four every game, so it’ll be up to the lights of Sheppard, Geier, and Rory Gresham to take the heat off of de Ruiter.
Bold Prediction: Team Maryland has out shot their coverage so far and I think it’ll continue. Whether it will yield two wins remains to be seen, however; I do expect at least one goal to be scored in each game, as that trend can’t go forever. Goalie Armand Charland will be tested and will hopefully keep TM in the games for the weekend.
NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN (1-0-1) at RIT (Friday); at MERCYHURST (Saturday)
Last Weekend: Though the updates were kind of there, the scoresheets aren’t– but Navy was quick to clarify why. In any case, they did split in Morgantown against the Mountaineers; losing in overtime Friday night 3-2, while winning Saturday’s game 3-2.
What To Look For: With output from their younger players, like Nathan Hyden and Daniel Schoenemen, as well as their returnees in Joe Kelly and Conner Hyden; the Middies will be looking forward to start spreading the offensive joy around. The blue line was quite active last year thanks to John Scaccia and Brendan Reynolds, which they will hope will carry them going forward. A travel day between these games, it’s all hands on deck for the Midshipmen this weekend.
Bold Prediction: For some reason, with the travel in there, I sense a split happening. Maybe with RIT being the loss and Mercyhurst being the win. Though, I can definitely see a trend in who will be the top offensive guys on the team– like we saw last year with Derek Golembrosky, Luke Turk, and Alex Vandenberg.
TOWSON UNIVERSITY TIGERS (0-0-0) at WEST VIRGINIA UNIVERSITY MOUNTAINEERS
Last Season: It was a bit of year to forget for the Towson Tigers going 7-21-3 on the season, a far cry from their 17-17-3 record from 2017-18. Luckily, the three top scorers from last year in Ryan Dieter, Costa Pizanis, and Collin Mercier are all back. Dieter has 18 goals and 30 points on the year, bringing his total for his career to 85 points in 83 career games. Jake Snyder played a big role in net for Towson with 1297 saves and had a .905 save percentage despite a 5.16 GAA.
What To Look For: We’ll see what kind of team Towson is this year and how much support– both in goals and within the zone– they can give to Snyder and how much offensive output they’ll be able to have. West Virginia is a solid task for the Tigers, especially since they can use Navy as a measuring stick to what they can expect.
Bold Prediction: Towson went 2-1-0 against West Virginia last year, with their only loss coming in the consolation game of the Crab Pot Tournament at the end of the year. Towson split their opener last season, but I think good fortune could shine on them and they start the season hot with two wins on the road.
STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS (0-0-0) at GEORGE MASON UNIVERSITY PATRIOTS (Friday); VS. WEST CHESTER UNIVERSITY GOLDEN RAMS
Last Season: In their second season in club hockey, the Mustangs got better from their 1-win season in their first year. However, a 6-17-0 record was great for Coach Urgo and the “Green Horses” for their second season. With only 14 skaters, they took a toll on themselves, but spread the wealth for scoring with Gary Matyok, Thomas Foschini, Joshua Watterson, and Brandon Scholze were all in double-digits in goals and at a point-per-game or better on the year. Pat Schena was solid in net with a .910 save percentage, but a 4.61 GAA for his troubles.
What To Look For: With a bigger roster and key returning players, Coach Urgo could very well get a solid performance out of his team this season. The bigger roster will definitely help the team as they get deeper in the season, as well as not tire out some of the scoring lines– and maybe even distribute the scoring a little more. With Schena leaving, David Shahady might be the defacto starter, but time will tell if there’s someone behind him to take over those reigns.
Bold Prediction: Personally, I believe they’ll be able to win their opener at George Mason, but they did lose to a deep West Chester team last year and with a quick turnaround from a later evening game to an afternoon game– it could prove a little tough on the legs at the start of the season. However, I fully expect the Green Horses to get one win on the weekend.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
With Penn State and Arizona State making the jump from Division I club team to Division I in the NCAA, it makes some wonder who is going to be the next team to make the big jump to the NCAA and who is really able to make the jump with few stumbles along the way.
During this year’s NHL Draft, the University of Illinois announced that they were the first team to participate in the newly sponsored research for the feasibility of more college teams being brought up to the Division I level of hockey. It would make sense for Illinois to be the first to be in this program, as the state is surrounded by plenty of college hockey and would have a built-in conference alignment in the Big Ten once they move into D1. In the ACHA, Illinois went 13-11-3 in 2016-17 and finished the season being ranked 13th in the final rankings. That ranking is up from their 17th final ranking in 2015-16 and even with their final 2014-15 ranking at 13th. Illinois has been a club team for 60 years and with the Big Ten finally getting a hockey conference, it could be time for them to make the jump to the big show.
That said, I wholly expect that the next team to get funding to see if their program is viable for NCAA D1 status will be the Naval Academy. You can bet that the NHL and NHLPA will announce that during the Stadium Series weekend in Annapolis, as well.
The location of Illinois would be perfect when you look at the map of the NCAA. It’s clear to see that if you’re a D1 hockey school, you’re probably in Northeast corridor or the upper Midwest. Only two of the 60 NCAA D1 schools are south of the Mason-Dixon line (Miami-Ohio, Alabama-Huntsville) and seven teams are west of Minnesota (North Dakota, Colorado College, Denver, Air Force, Arizona State, Nebraska-Omaha, Alaska-Anchorage, Alaska-Fairbanks) with the two Alaska teams on thin-ice with keeping their teams due to financial reasons.
With the look at Navy, the move would help the NCAA establish a move towards the under-represented Mid-Atlantic region of the US. On top of that, the team would have already have the two other service schools– Air Force and Army– as their rivals. McMullin Arena may be one of the smallest of the NCAA, but they would be in line with what Robert Morris University has with the majority of the stands being on one side of the rink rather than a bowl seating situation.
There are some issues with Navy getting in and being competitive from the start, with recruiting being the biggest issue, which are the same issues that Army and Air Force deal with when it comes to bringing in the top players into the program. With players having to do service time after their college career is done, some may be hesitant to joining the team. This is something that former Army goalie Parker Gahagen is dealing with, as he signed an amateur try-out with the San Jose Sharks, but is not looking into whether or not he could defer his service time (a minimum of two years) to move on with his NHL career. The same thing happened with Zach McKelvie after he finished his Army career, but had his pro hockey career stalled due to having to finish his active duty time in the Army.
However, the move to the Mid-Atlantic region for NCAA D1 hockey would be great for the high school scene in and around that area. While there are great club teams who play in that area and have a history behind them, it’s an underserviced area of the US when it comes to the prospects of high school players playing close to home. Especially with Alex Ovechkin having an impact in registration for youth players in the Maryland/DC/Virginia area, you’d think the NCAA would want to tap that market, too. Both Sam Anas (Quinnipiac) and Jamie Fritsch (New Hampshire) were Maryland kids who were able to break out and have D1 careers, but for the most part, a lot of players in the area look to the club team’s D1 or hope for a NCAA Division III school to go to– which isn’t bad, but you’d think they’d want to strive for move and try to get that boost to D1.
While Navy would be a good fit to the NCAA D1 pool, the University of Delaware could be another option. While not the most sexy of choices, the pool of players they can pull from would be tremendous as they would have Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey players to recruit and be close to home base. Delaware’s D1 club program has been a model for consistency and has won an ACHA National Championship in 2012, the first for the program. The team would fall into that Northeast corridor area of travel, but be a little closer for kids in surrounding states who don’t have D1 college hockey within a reasonable driving distance. While they did run into trouble last season, having to pull out of the season due to school sanctions, the team was reinstated by the school without having to miss a season because of said sanctions.
This whole scenario doesn’t include the growth of hockey out west, especially in California and Arizona. With Arizona State making the jump, they may have started a westward shift, but without any club teams (sans University of Arizona) being all that prominent in Division 1 of club hockey, it will take a little more time to grow the college game out there. The whole point is that right now, NCAA hockey is a big area of development for NHL teams and more and more kids from different areas are getting involved. It’s up to the NCAA to maybe explore harder into what they need to do to expand past the 60 teams they have now and make it viable. Assistance from the NHL and NHLPA will help greatly, but the NCAA can’t rely on those entities, as they will only look for area that would also help in NHL markets rather than outliers.