The Maryland Black Bears are in the midst of an increasingly tight playoff race and for the first time in franchise history hosted the newest member of the North American Hockey League’s East Division, the Maine Nordiques. The affair did not end well for the Black Bears, as the Nordiques beat the Black Bears, 5-2.
Maryland scored the first goal with just over three minutes. Jackson Sterrett handled the bouncing puck in the slot and shot it low to the left past Maine goalie Wesley Mankowski for a 1-0 lead. Maine responded on the powerplay with defenseman Cole Ouellette scoring on the one-time slap shot for a 1-1 tie.
The Black Bears started the second period strongly with a Jude Kurtas rebound goal to give the Black Bears a 2-1 lead. Play got physical with a scrum that saw Nordiques’ forward Tristan Thibeault take a five-minute major penalty, giving the Black Bears a powerplay; however, things went south when Nordiques forward Cannon Green scored off a shorthanded breakaway to tie it up at 2-2. Shortly after the penalty expired, Trent Grimshaw took the lead for Maine, scoring five-hole for a 3-2 advantage. At the end of the period, Maryland forward Jack Smiley received a five-minute major for cross-checking.
The Nordiques capitalized once on the major penalty with defenseman Andrius Kulbis-Marino scoring on a wrist shot in his first game with Maine for a 4-2 game. Nordiques forward Noah Kane capped off the scoring when he slid the puck in past the skate of Maryland goalie Aaron Randazzo for a 5-2 final.
The Black Bears hit the ice tomorrow afternoon against the Maine Nordiques for a 2:00 PM ET puck drop time at Piney Orchard Ice Arena.