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

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS (1-2-1) vs. LEBANON VALLEY COLLEGE, CHATHAM UNIVERSITY

A tough road weekend for the Mustang Women, as they dropped both their games in tough fashion. And upside is how well Annie Smyth-Hammond has looked early, helping the Mustangs to stay in the game for the most part. While this team doesn’t seem to have a big offensive punch yet, the fact that Smyth-Hammond has stood tall in net is a big confidence boost for the team moving forward.

NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN (7-4-1) vs. UNIVERSITY OF DELAWARE

A streaky team, the Lady Mids impressed in Mercyhurst last week, taking two of three in their showcase. Rose Gasper, Quin Ramos, and Devin Marshall helped out Maggie Madigan in scoring, while Shannon Hart held down the fort in net. Their offense will be challenged by the defense of Delaware, who have allow just over three goals a game with two shutouts on the season thus far.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND TERRAPINS (7-3-0) at TOWSON UNIVERSITY TIGERS (1-6-0)

After tough loss for the Terps and Tigers last weekend, they’re back for an in-state battle; which will be the second meeting between the two squads. In the first match-up, the Terps dominated in a 12-0 victory– which was the start of the Terps offensive climb and a strong winning streak. All the while, Towson still struggles with scoring and stopping the scoring– but for a team that’s still trying to find an identity– that could take a while to develop and patience needs to be preached.

LOYOLA UNIVERSITY GREYHOUNDS (3-2-0) at UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

A week off hopefully did the Greyhounds good, as they travel to play a Quakers team that has struggled a bit in the North Division. However, the Greyhounds will finally be leaving the state for a road game for once this year, which may give a little bit of a bonding boost to the team, as they get to the mid-part of their schedule with increasingly harder competition coming through.

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 002

TEAM MARYLAND (1-2-1) VS. PHILADELPHIA JR. FLYERS

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.

Let’s Talk About Mental Health

Photo via GoMustangSports.com

This week on Chesapeake Hockey Week, I mentioned that the Stevenson University Mustangs Women’s team will be using their Saturday game against Neumann University as their Mental Health Awareness game. All the processes from the attendance goes toward the National Alliance of Mental Illness or NAMI for short. The game will have raffles, silent auctions, and a meet-and-greet with the players after the game.

So, let’s talk about mental health because the stigma is still strong and as many Bell Let’s Talk campaigns and as many HASHTAG Sick Not Weak things go around– there’s still things about mental health some people are not putting out there– rightly or wrongly.

I am someone who suffers from mental health issues. I have been diagnosed with Major Depressive Disorder and a form of Bipolar Disorder. It is rough to live every day of my life in a “normal” manner, but that’s part of the high functioning part of this disease– you deal with it when it hits you, but even then– you shrug it off until it consumes you.

For all the things going around, for all the people who support the mental health initiative when it comes around, there still is a stigma to it. Whether it be people who think they are just stronger than the disease or people who don’t want to burden other with what’s going it– the epidemic is real and needs to be addressed in a strong fashion. The stigma around mental health is something that, while there is support for it, is also one of the most taboo things to talk about.

According to NAMI, 43.8 million adults suffer from mental health issues. In that, 9.8 million people suffer from a serious mental health issue that interferes with the life they live. Even with all of this data, people seem to push it by the wayside purposely or not. This effects work life and social life due to the crippling effects it create in people.

Yet, even after all this…it seems like something people deal with for a day or two and then it falls by the wayside, rightly or wrongly.

In hockey, there is a bigger situation. Obviously the story of Robin Lehner that’s going on is something that is huge. An active player with struggles of mental health that lead to alcohol and drug abuse, as well as suicidal thoughts. Patrik Berglund is another higher profile player who walked away from the NHL because of his mental state, mostly because he lost the drive he once had for the game he loved. With the losses of Derek Boogaard, Rick Rypien, and Wade Belak— the NHL has seemed to turn their tone on mental health awareness; but is it enough??

Yes, in the last link dump– I put my old work in there (ESPECIALLY THE RYPIEN PIECE), but it still holds true today. The fact we still have to have these talks is enough to realize– shit’s fucked up. We aren’t getting the mental health we deserve, whether it be because of pride or because of fear or because of any excuse you can think of. The reality of the situation is that if you’re not feeling great mentally, it shouldn’t be any different than if you’re feeling poor physically.

Look, if you’re feeling poor mentally– you’re pain is valid. There’s no reason why you should feel remorse or regret for not being able to perform mentally. While people shouldn’t abuse it– there are still people who do, which makes it harder to break a stigma because it’s hard to judge the reality of hurt and the need to get out of work. It’s not like a broken or sprained limb– it’s something deeper and more neurological than that.

Will there ever be a situation where the stigma is gone?? Maybe not, but you can keep pushing. There be a feeling of burden, there may be a feeling of vulnerability– but it’s okay. No one can be strong all the time. It’s not possible and if you think it is, maybe take a step back and see if you’re true in your convictions or if you’re saying/doing it because you’ve been told to be like that.

Forty-three point eight MILLION is a hard number to dispute against. It’s a hard number to hide. And odds are it’s higher just because of people who don’t feel like taking about what they’re going through or admitting their mental state matters. It does. It’s the starting block to all of your health. If your brain isn’t great, the odds that your body isn’t great are much higher.

In 1952’s “Viva Zapata,” the character Fernando said, “Cut the head off the snake and the body will die.” I feel that’s a correct quote when it comes to mental health because once your head is in a whirlwind, it affects other aspects of your bodily health. Many forget how vital mental health is to everyday life. The brain can play tricks on you and could lead you to rash decisions or comments– trust me, I know.

At the end of the day– when I say, “Take care of yourself and someone else,” it really is a way of life. Make sure you put yourself first– it’s not selfish, it’s preservation. And you hate to do it alone– so take care of someone else who you can trust and you hope can trust you.

Personally, my life in my head sucks and is very self-destructive to me. That’s why I’m re-entering therapy because it’s affecting my career, my relationships with people, and I still don’t know what direction to go in my life. You’d think by this time, nearing 36-years-old, I would– but I don’t…and that’s okay. Regardless of our age or experience, we need a little help. It’s hard to ask for it because you don’t want to be a burden, but it’s good to get another perspective on things since a lot of people are very set in our ways.

But here’s the Stevenson University Women’s hockey team for doing an event like this and hopefully, people will go out to the event in Reisterstown, Maryland on February 9th and donate to a noble and worthy cause.