Clutch N' Crab Hockey Weekend Preview 017

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

CLUTCH N' CRAB HOCKEY WEEKEND PREVIEW 016

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 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.

Clutch N’ Crab Hockey Weekend Preview 010

MARYLAND BLACK BEARS (9-10-2) at JOHNSTOWN TOMAHAWKS

After a split against the top team in the NAHL, the Black Bears are off to Western PA for a blood rivalry match-up against the Tomahawks. After a wild weekend that saw Brayden Stannard get weekly honors, the Black Bears need to shake off the wildness of Saturday night’s affair and look towards keeping a winning streak against Johnstown going. It’s been a rough ride against the Tomahawks, but the biggest key is defensive support for the goaltending, which will limit the amount of playing from behind– which they often have to do against the Tomahawks.

TEAM MARYLAND (12-9-2) at PHILADELPHIA JR. FLYERS

After a sweep last week and wins in five in their last seven, TM is heading to Philly to play a team whom they’ve beaten three of the last four games this season. The consistent play of Tristan Mock and Jeff Rebmann have helped carried TM through some rough times, while the defense could play a little tighter around their goaltending; even though the Jr. Flyers are at the bottom half of the table for goals-for on the season.

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS D3 (3-1-0) at MANHATTANVILLE COLLEGE and NEUMANN UNIVERSITY

The Mustangs are a bit of road warriors, winning both games away from The Plex, though they will be challenged with the travel this weekend. The team has been coming around, taking a lot of shots towards the net, though haven’t been blowing it up offensively just yet. Chad Watt’s two-goal outbreak last Sunday could be a starting point for a breakout, though the Mustangs would probably like to be better than 2-for-11 on the power play for a weekend and 6-for-22 on the season– especially when three of those goals were scored in the opening game.

STEVENSON UNIVERSITY MUSTANGS WOMEN (3-2-1) vs. ALVERNA UNIVERSITY

The Mustangs have had glimpses of both offensive and defensive dominance, but it seems to be on one weekend and off the next. Last week, they were on with 10 goals and only two against. Jordan Pirrello and Nikki Kendrick seems to be setting the pace, while Annie Smyth-Hammond has held down the fort in net. Hopefully, the ladies can continue their winning ways against the first-year program in Alverna.

NAVAL ACADEMY MIDSHIPMEN (9-5-3) vs. WEST CHESTER UNIVERSITY

In the last game before the semester break, as well as after the senior class got their post-graduation assignments, the Midshipmen after hoping to end it on a high note, especially as they have five wins in their last seven games. While they’re able to put shots on, they are also prone to giving up a lot of shots, which creates a lot of high-scoring games and nightmares for goaltending.

TOWSON UNIVERSITY TIGERS (3-14-1) at DREXEL UNIVERSITY

The Tigers were able to come away with a win last weekend, but will be pitted against a tough Drexel team, who was in the top-25 last week before getting beat by Navy. The upside is that the Tigers were able to get scoring spread around from their victory, which should help as they go down the stretch into the end of the semester and season.

UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND TERRAPINS (3-6-2) vs. DREXEL UNIVERSITY

The Terps will end their semester with a match-up against a Drexel team that’s winless on the road, meaning it should be a solid time for some confidence building at home. Chris Bouchard and Liam Eden have been great, but for sustainable success, more of the team would need to step up for a strong second-half.

DVCHC EAST COAST SHOWDOWN

In this special Showcase for women’s club hockey the University of Maryland Terrapins (7-3-0), Loyola University of Maryland Greyhounds (4-2-0), and Towson University Tigers (1-6-0) will play three games a piece while also trying to recruit for future generations. The Terps will take on University of Pennsylvania, Towson, and SUNY-Oswego, while Loyola will take on Mercyhurst University, University of Pennsylvania, and Towson; with Towson taking on California University, Maryland, and Loyola. A great event for more exposure for the women’s game at the college club level with games to show the game and seminars from the coaches to get the girls a little bit of a head-start in their careers.

Clutch N’ Crab Weekend Preview 006

Photo by Jon Pitonzo/FOHS Media Faction

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Clutch N’ Crab Weekend Preview 004

TEAM MARYLAND (4-3-1) at NEW YORK APPLECORE

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.

A Talk With Sam Anas on Maryland Hockey, New Coaches, and Regaining a Balance

As Sam Anas stepped onto the ice of the Ralph Engelstad Arena, something seemed to burn him. At one of the ends of the rink hangs a National Championship banner from 2016 with the University of North Dakota logo on it. Anas was a senior during that year, as his Quinnipiac Bobcats were on the short-end of the National Championship game. It’s something his teammates on the Iowa Wild– who were on that UND team– don’t let him forget about.

“That’s something that will live with me forever,” Anas mentioned post-game of the exhibitions at The Ralph between Iowa and the Manitoba Moose. “We’ve got Luke Johnson and Keaton Thompson now and we’ve had some conversations about it, but it still burns.”

That burning desire lead him to signing a deal with the Minnesota Wild after his time with the Bobcats was finished, but it’s been a bit of an up-and-down time in the three seasons. While only netting 12 goals and 28 points in his rookie season, Anas’ sophomore year saw him as a key contributor to the team with 26 goals and 61 points. However, a streaky season last year saw him with only 38 points on the 2018-19 campaign. In order to find some more balance, Anas went back to the place that saw him contribute 69 goals and 132 points in 121 games.

“I actually went back to Quinnipiac for about two months and spent a lot of time with the strength coach there, Brijesh Patel,” Anas said. “We had a good group of alums there pushing each other. That was the biggest thing, getting in the weight room more and getting stronger, mainly quicker– not necessarily refine my game, but re-balance. The facility and everything is awesome, but Brijesh is top-of-the-line. He cares so much about us, not just as hockey players, but wants us to be better athletes and better people. There’s guys out there playing in the NHL, guys trying to play in the AHL, and you get pretty competitive. It’s a great dynamic and I think it’s going to pay dividends for this year.”

Photo by Jennifer Conway/@NHLHistoryGirl

It will be the second year for Anas and the Wild to have Tim Army as their head coach. Coming on in 2018-19, Army was the former right-hand-man to Ron Wilson and someone who got ahead of the video watching era in hockey. Army helped Iowa get to their first playoff berth in franchise history last season, getting them to the second round. Anas had a lot of praise for his bench boss.

“He brings such a passion to the rink every day. He’s very intense, in a good way,” Anas mentions about his coach. “It’s ‘win-or-die’ for him and that’s the way it should be, especially at this level. It’s fun because you don’t want to lose. Playing for a coach who will do anything to win is contagious and he gets the best out of us, which showed last year.”

Also brought on for this season was Alex Tanguay, former NHLer and Stanley Cup winner. From playing career to TV gig, the Wild seemed excited to play for him this season, at least from Anas’ point of view.

“It’s definitely a different voice for us,” said Anas. “Someone who played the game as such a high level for so long. He’s so well respected in the league and even on NHL Network, you can see why he was successful in the way he explains the plays. I’m looking forward to a year with him.”

Of course, I’ve touted Anas– a native of Potomac, Maryland– on the Chesapeake Hockey Week podcast, as he’s a guy who went through the Maryland system through high school at the Landon School, through Team Maryland, through the Washington Little Caps and went on to have solid success through college and into the pros. It doesn’t go unnoticed from Anas, who adds to the “Ovechkin Effect” that many people have said has contributed to the rise of hockey in the Maryland area.

“A lot of it stems from the success from the Caps,” Anas hypothesized. “Ever since (Alex) Ovechkin came in the picture, hockey was really taken over. It used to be all about the Redskins, but they’ve gone downhill and the Caps have gone uphill. I’ve got friends telling me they wished they played hockey growing up.”

Anas continued, “It’s just great to see more guys playing college or playing junior. A guy I went to school with, Joe Snively, signed to the Caps and he’s a Virginia guy, but it’s all in the DMV area. It’s awesome to see and you go back home and skate and each year, there’s more and more guys committing to play Division 1 or getting drafted in the USHL; it’s just going to lead to more progress.”

This is the last year of Anas’ second contract with Minnesota and he will be an unrestricted free agent at the end of the season. However, Anas isn’t looking too far ahead to that. He’s much more focused on how he can contribute this season.

“It’s about playing a complete game, you always want to be a reliable player, offensively or defensively,” Anas explained. “You don’t want to be someone who can’t be counted on at a certain part of the game. On the other end, I want to produce as much as possible. Whether it’s scoring goals, creating plays, or getting assists. A big part of that for me is the power play and we didn’t score any tonight, but we had some good chemistry out there and it’s going to be a fun year.”

Clutch N’ Crab Weekend Preview 003

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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