DANBURY, CT– After some changes to the Maryland roster ahead of the roster deadline, the Black Bears had a bigger task at hand in the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks. After their six-game win streak was broken last Saturday, Maryland aimed to start a new one; which was quite successful in the sweep of Danbury over the weekend.
FRIDAY OCTOBER 7th, 2022: BLACK BEARS (3) at Danbury (1): With new faces in new places, the Black Bears took a bit of time to find some chemistry with their new teammates, but after a shift or two– things clicked. Maryland took control offensively, tilting the ice in their favor with a 20-5 shot advantage after 20. There was nothing to show, but the seeds were being sown. Maryland did give up some chances, but Jack Wieneke was solid, despite not facing much action; making key saves when called upon.
More pressure from Maryland, as they continued to control the pace of the game when they finally broke through. Taking a pass from Branden Piku, Dimitry Kebreau extended his goal-scoring streak to five games with a rocket on the off-wing to make it 1-0 Maryland. The Black Bears continued the pressure in the Danbury zone, as they knew they could get a second one in due time. That due time game with Christian Catalano putting him a loose puck off a Jesse Horacek shot and the Black Bears went up 2-0. Wieneke played solid in net, again not facing many top chances. Unfortunately, Danbury would get on the board with Bohdan Panasenko netting his own rebound to cut the lead in half. The Jr. Hat Tricks got some momentum off that, starting to get through the neutral zone easier and trying to sustain some pressure. Once the buzzer sounded, however, the game was still a one-goal contest in favor of Maryland.
The niceities came through between both teams, as Danbury and Maryland traded physical barbs and plenty of scrums at the end of plays. Not much to show for it on the penalty side until the end, however. Maryland did get their two-goal lead back, as Jesse Horacek got behind the defense after a breakout and wired one to the top corner to make it 3-1. With Maryland continuing their push, Danbury tried to slow it down after the whistles before Brad McNeil and Danbury’s Sean Matthews got into a tussle, resulting in Matthews heading to the showers early. The Black Bears had a power play the rest of the game, which led them to the 3-1 victory.
SATURDAY OCTOBER 8th, 2022: BLACK BEARS (4) at Danbury (0): Some pleasantries were exchanged during the first part of the game, with each side reintroducing themselves, but nothing came from any of it. What did come from the first was more offensive prowess, as the Black Bears got things started just past the six minute mark with Maryland keeping the puck in at the point and turning it into Kaleb Tiessen’s first goal of the season with Luke Van Why on the helper. Maryland kept the feet moving and less than four minutes later, Dimitry Kebreau had plenty of time and space to bury his 10th goal of the year and moved his goal-scoring streak up to six games while putting the Black Bears up 2-0. Danbury tried to answer back, but Jack Wieneke and the defense for Maryland were up to the task and kept all the Jr. Hat Tricks attempts at bay, keeping the 2-0 lead into the intermission.
Tasked with killing off a penalty to start the frame, the Black Bears got plenty of chances shorthanded while keeping Danbury looking for answers. Maryland continued to tilt the ice, with their offense peppering Danbury’s Adam Johnson in net. Hunter Ramos finally connected with under five minutes to go in the frame with a rocket of a shot going right through Johnson and made it 3-0. Stacked with four lines that can score at any moment, the Black Bears continue to be a force and able to keep the opposition at bay with their stingy defense.
Danbury tried to fight back in the third, matching their two period total in shots during the last 20 minutes, but Maryland was able to fend off the attacks, Wieneke looking comfortable in his crease. With under five minutes to play, Jesse Horacek was streaking down the wing and hit a laser cross-ice pass to Christain Catalano, who put it into the yawning cage to make it a 4-0 Black Bears lead. After the goal, things get feisty again, with a couple of cross-checking penalties to show for it. It didn’t mean much at the end, as the Black Bears preserved the shutout for Wieneke and pushed their record to 10-2-0 on the season.
The win also marked the Black Bears’ 100th regular season win in franchise history, all under the watchful eye of Clint Mylymok. In just over four seasons, Mylymok’s squads have gotten better and better each season, putting together the right pieces for what’s needed in Maryland. Add that to the 27 players who have committed to NCAA programs in those four seasons and Mylymok has built a culture of advancement in the Black Bears organization.
Maryland finally gets to play at home for the first time since opening weekend, as they’ll take on the Jr. Hat Tricks Friday and Saturday nights from Piney Orchard.
Recap courtesy of Scott Wasilewski and the “Defending The Den” and the “Chesapeake Hockey Week” podcasts. @DefendingDenMBB and @ChesapeakeHWPod on Twitter.
Photo credits to Jon Pitonzo and Jim Harding.