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 Maryland Black Bears

Maryland Split Weekend in Maine Forcing Game Five Sunday at Home

May 12, 2024 - North American Hockey League (NAHL)
Maryland Black Bears News Release

LEWISTON, ME- After two tight games in Odenton, the Maryland Black Bears headed up to Lewiston to take on the Nordiques in the East Division Final for Games 3 and 4. After a tightly contested Games 1 and 2, it was more of the same for 3 and 4 with each team getting a win to set up a winner-take-all Game 5.

FRIDAY MAY 10th, 2024: BLACK BEARS (0) at Maine (3): The first period was the continuation of the games in Maryland, where both sides kept the game tight checking and creating their own chances, but being stymied by solid defense and the of goaltending Owen Lepak for Maryland and Carter Richardson for Maine. Blocked shots and big saves were still on the menu, as both Maine and Maryland were unable to find the back of the net, sending the teams into the first intermission scoreless.

Photo Credits : James Harding (TheArtOfPictures), Jon Pitonzo (Face Off Hockey Show Media Faction)

Early in the second period, Maine would get on the board as Nils Forselius picked up a loose puck behind the net and tried to center the puck in front of the net, but the pass would hit off a Maryland defender and redirect into the net to make it 1-0 Maine. The pressure swung back Maryland's way with pressure on the Maine net, but they couldn't find the equalizer in the period, keeping the score 1-0 after 40 minutes.

The Black Bears pushed their pace to start the third, trying to even the game, but Richardson and Maine would limit the high quality chances and second chances for the Black Bears. Maine would have the only goals in the third, both into an empty net, provided by Evan Orloff and Forselius. The frustration for Maryland would start to boil over with a couple late game skirmishes, but it wouldn't matter as Maine took Game 3 by a 3-0 scoreline and pushed Maryland to the brink of elimination.

SATURDAY MAY 11th, 2024: BLACK BEARS (4) at Maine (2): Maryland looked to get aggressive to start, trying to throw their weight around and cause havoc in front of the Maine net. An early penalty kill helped Maryland get some momentum going their way, as they took back offensive control. That culminated with Matthew Croxall redirected a Jeremi Tremblay shot to make it 1-0 for the Black Bears. Owen Lepak handled his business in his crease to keep the Black Bears up by one after one.

The Black Bears tried to continue their push, but an early penalty gave Maine some momentum back, but the PK and Lepak kept them at bay. Midway through the period, Tremblay was able to break away from his defender for a mini-breakaway and buried his first of the playoffs to make it 2-0 Maryland. Late in the frame, Dimitry Kebreau put on a shot from the goal line to go over the shoulder of Carter Richardson on the near post to make it 3-0 Black Bears before the end of the second.

Maine would get their offense going early in the third as Ryan Panico was able to find a rebound in a scramble in front to make it 3-1. Minutes later, Luke Chappelle put home a wrister on an odd-man rush to make it a one-goal game. The momentum swung Maine's way, but the Black Bears were able to withstand the brunt after the Chappelle goal and got a power play with about five minutes left in the third. That power play resulted in Kebreau getting his second on a redirect in front to make it 4-2. The Black Bears were able to shut it down and force a Game 5 on Sunday night.

Tickets are on sale for Game 5 at or limited tickets will be at the Piney Orchard Arena box office.

Write up courtesy of Scott Wasilewski

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