The Maryland Black Bears suffered a tough series sweep at the hands of the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks this weekend after a 5-3 loss on Saturday night. The trend of somewhat of a penalty fest from last night continued early on as Reid Leibold took a hooking minor just 5:18 into the first period. Danbury wasted no time converting on this early opportunity, as they moved the puck around and, eventually, Nolan Barrett slotted one home over Isaiah DiLaura’s glove with some help from Krause and D’Agostino at the 6:48 mark. Later on in the period, Jude Kurtas tied the game, picking up a loose puck in front of the Danbury net. He was able to go up high on Seeley, who went low. The goal came at the 15:41 mark of the first period. When the buzzer sounded at the end of the first twenty minutes, the score was knotted up at 1.
The second period started off extremely well for Maryland. Aden Bruich opened the period with a goal on what was a very confusing scramble in front of the net. Josh Seeley was scrambling and turning pucks aside until one bounded to his glove side. As he tried to push himself across the crease, the net became dislodged. The Black Bears played through the whistle and Bruich put one in the back of the net. Danbury argued that the goal should have been disallowed, but the referee begged to differ, awarding Bruich the goal. Assists went to Seth Bergeron and Hunter McCoy at 1:27. Chaos continued to ensue after Nolan Barrett was assessed a game misconduct and was ejected from the game for unsportsmanlike conduct. He continued to plead his case to the officials, but in doing so, he was given a second misconduct, which will lead to a suspension for Danbury’s first goal scorer. Momentum continued to wear yellow and red when Conor Cole struck for his second of the season. In a great show of determination, Cole shot one into the chest of Josh Seeley, but the goaltender left a juicy rebound at the feet of Cole. Conor tucked home his own rebound underneath the crossbar to jump out to a 3-1 lead with 14:30 left in the second. From that point onward, however, it was all Junior Hat Tricks. Two goals on the power play evened the game at three before the clock expired for the second period. Jason Kleinhans did it on his own to get the game to within one then Cody Hoban tied it with the help of Shea Courtmanche and Mark D’Agostino. The third period would be more of the same for Danbury.
The third period continued the parade to the penalty box and Maryland eventually found themselves on a 5-on-3 penalty kill. Shea Courtmanche capitalized with a wrister from the high slot that eluded DiLaura, finding its way to the twine to give Danbury the lead. On the goal, Mark D’Agostino got his third assist of the night. The Black Bears had several great chances to equalize on the power play, including a prolonged 5-on-3 opportunity, but they were unable to do so thanks to a few key shot blocks and outstanding saves from Josh Seeley preserved the lead. The Black Bears eventually pulled DiLaura for the extra attacker with about 90 seconds left to play, but the Junior Hat Tricks stopped Maryland from getting any quality looks on net, eventually getting possession and tucking the game away after Alex Duncan cashed in on the empty net for his first of the season. The final 43 seconds ticked off the clock to finalize the 5-3 scoreline.
Nonetheless, the real story of this game will be penalties. The staff at Ice World may want to replace the benches in the penalty boxes after this game, as the two teams combined for 96 penalty minutes in this game and a total of 163 in the series. After this game, Danbury moves to 4-1-0 on the season, finding themselves in third place in the NAHL East Division with eight points through five games. Meanwhile, the Black Bears fall to 3-2-1 with seven points through six games, good for fourth place in the division. The teams will take this series to Danbury for a two game set at the Danbury Ice Arena. The puck will drop for the first game at 1:30 p.m. on Friday, October 30.