The Maryland Black Bears finished first in the North American Hockey League’s East Division, setting up a first-round playoff with the East Division’s fourth seed the Northeast Generals. Northeast won the regular season series with a record of 5-3-0 against Maryland. However, game one of the best-of-five first-round series told a different story, with six different goal scorers helping the Black Bears to an 8-2 game one win over the Generals.
Maryland started the scoring off in the first period when defenseman Gunnar VanDamme tipped in a pass from forward Brayden Stannard to make it 1-0. Northeast responded with a powerplay goal from forward Joe Schubert, slamming a pass home from forward David Andreychuk to tie the game 1-1. The Black Bears got the lead back on the powerplay later that period when forward Samuel Stitz tipped home a shot from defenseman Sean Kilcullen past Northeast goalie Cullen DeYoung for a 2-1 lead.
Maryland continued its success on the powerplay in the second period with a goal on a two-man advantage when forward Brad McNeil chipped home a rebound for a 3-1 lead. Samuel Stitz continued the offense for the Black Bears as he scored his second of the game on the wrist shot to make it 4-1.
The offense continued for Maryland in the third period when forward Dimitry Kebreau tipped home a Stannard pass to make it 5-1. Brad McNeil cashed in on another rebound later in the period to make it 6-1 less than three minutes later. Black Bears’ forward Hunter Ramos scored on the breakaway later in the frame to make it 7-1 before Brayden Stannard scored on his own rebound less than a minute later to make it 8-1. This spelled the end of the night for Cullen DeYoung, who was replaced by Northeast’s backup goalie for game one Toby Hopp for the remainder of the game. The Generals were able to get one goal back with a tip-in from forward Paul Minnehan to make the final score 8-2. Maryland goaltender William Hakansson made 19 saves in the game one win. Ten different skaters for the Black Bears recorded at least one point in the win.
Maryland and Northeast will face off again in game two on Saturday evening at Piney Orchard Ice Arena, with puck drop scheduled for 6:30 pm ET. All games can be streamed on HockeyTV.