Maryland Travels to New Jersey; sweeps Philadelphia!

SEWELL, NJ– In their last road trip of the regular season, the Maryland Black Bears looked to stay perfect when traveling to Hollydell to take on the Rebels. It did take a little work, but the depth and perseverance of Maryland shone through with a sweep of the Rebels and going closer to the regular season East Division title.
Write up courtesy of Scott Wasilewski of the “Defending The Den” and “Chesapeake Hockey Week” Podcasts, found on twitter: @DefendingDenMBB & @ChesapeakeHWPod
Photo credits to Jon Pitonzo & Jim Harding

FRIDAY MARCH 31st, 2023: BLACK BEARS (5) at Philadelphia (2): It took just 3:32 for Maryland to get on the board with Dimitry Kebreau registering the first goal that ricocheted off the glass behind Jakub Krbecek, hitting Krbecek in the back and into the net for a wacky first goal. Maryland then got plenty of push-back from the Rebels, who held the puck in their offensive zone for a decent amount of time, not allowing the Black Bears to gain any momentum when they did get out of their own zone. The pressure paid off for the Rebels as Sonny DiNubile threw a puck on goal from the point that went through a maze of bodies in-front and passed William Hakansson to tie the game. While the Rebels tried to find the goal against goal, the transition game for Maryland was stronger, with Riley Ruh wiring a wrister behind Krebeck for his fifth of the year and to give the Black Bears back the lead heading into the intermission.

In the second period, the Black Bears got into some penalty troubles in the middle of the frame, but the Black Bears were able to kill off those attempts and keep their lead. It wasn’t until 3:06 remaining in the frame when the Rebels would tie up the game again with David Deputy would block a shot and get sprung on a breakaway where he would get it behind Hakansson for the 2-2 tally. The Black Bears only took 1:16 to regain the lead after a solid breakout ended with Jesse Horacek leading Kebreau in the slot for a slight redirect for Kebreau’s second of the game and a 3-2 scoreline heading into the third period.

Though the first two periods weren’t the normal for the Black Bears, they would kick into another gear for the third period, adding to their lead 4:29 in when Sean Kilcullen’s cross-ice pass found Hunter Ramos coming down the blindside for Ramos’ 20th of the season. Maryland would add onto their lead on the power play with solid movement around the zone ending with Brad McNeil notching his 17th of the year off a feed from Ramos making it 5-2. Maryland would continue the pressure, outshooting the Rebels 15-7, but it would end 5-2 for the Black Bears, giving them their 38th win of the season. Hakansson had 24 saves in his 25th victory of the season.

SATURDAY APRIL 1st, 2023: BLACK BEARS (4) at Philadelphia (3): Building off their strong third period Friday, Maryland would get out of the gate early with an early power play allowing them to control the offensive zone despite not getting a goal out of the first power play. The Black Bears would strike first again, as Kal Essenmacher deflected a Trey Scott shot to give Maryland the 1-0 lead. Maryland would hold serve for most of the period, outshooting the Rebels 14-3, but only showing a 1-0 lead going into the intermission.

The Black Bears continued their press at the Rebels goal, but it was the Rebels who would cash in on their chances. Starting only 4:39 into the second, Carter Casper hammered a one-timer off a cross-ice pass to tie the game. Only 44 seconds later, Connor Sedlak would come over the blue line and throw a wrister high to beat William Hakansson to give the Rebels the lead. The Black Bears would get plenty of chances in the frame, but Jakub Krbecek was solid in the second for the Rebels. Some penalty issues in the frame bit the Black Bears at the end, as Greg Spitznagel would throw a low-wrister on net from the left circle and make it 3-1 Rebels going into the break.

With work to do, the Black Bears got things going early. After a big save by William Hakansson on an odd-man rush, the Black Bears went down the ice where Riley Ruh found Hunter Ramos only 25 seconds in to cut the Rebels lead in half. With momentum, the Black Bears would draw a penalty and convert on their chance with Christian Catalano ripping home his 30th of the season with a wrister in the slot to tie the game up. The comeback would be complete for the Black Bears with Jesse Horacek holding the puck on the blue line, waiting of Gunnar VanDamme streaking through the neutral zone then wiring a shot passed Krbecek to give Maryland the 4-3 lead. Hakansson made a couple of clutch saves down the stretch to help keep the lead and garner the 39th win of the season for the Black Bears. The Black Bears won all six games they played on the road in Hollydell.

The Black Bears are off next weekend, but return home for their last regular season games against the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks. Tickets are available at as the Black Bears prepare for the Robertson Cup playoffs.