It was an important series for the Maryland Black Bears, as the team looked to gain ground on the Northeast Generals for the fourth spot in the East Division. They were able to do just that, completing a sweep of the Generals with a 3-1 win.
Northeast struck first, as Alex Cohen followed up a blocked point shot to the lower right circle and fired a shot low left side past Maryland goalie Anthony Del Tufo to make it 1-0 in the first period. But the Black Bears responded with Bobby Batten’s first goal as a member of the Black Bears to make it 1-1. It began with Daylon Mannon tipping the puck between his legs on goal, but Generals’ goalie Marko Sturma made the pad stop. Batten picked the puck up in front of the net and wrapped it around Sturma’s pad to tie the game.
There was no scoring until the third period, where Maryland took a lead that they would not relinquish. Black Bears’ forward Patrick Choi forced a turnover along the boards and the puck was picked up by Luke Mountain. Mountain went in on a breakaway and slid the puck under the pad of a shuffling Sturma to make it 2-1. The Black Bears had a chance to put the game away with an extended two-man advantage, but could not capitalize. However, Maryland forward Connor Pooley scored on the empty net in the final minute, sealing a 3-1 Maryland win. Anthony Del Tufo, who is normally the goalie for the Black Bears’ EHL affiliate Team Maryland, won his second consecutive game with a 29 save effort.
With the sweep, Maryland jumps into a tie with Northeast for fourth in the East Division, which would be the final playoff spot for the division come season’s end. The Black Bears hit the road next weekend to face the Jamestown Rebels at Northwest Arena Friday, January 25th at Northwest Arena. Maryland returns home to face the New Jersey Titans Friday, February 1st.