The Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks will travel to The Piney Orchard Ice Arena in Odenton, Maryland this weekend for a two-game series against the Maryland Black Bears. With a playoff spot within reach, let’s take a look at the keys to the series.
Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks – 27 games, 13-12-2 (28 points, 5th in East Division)
Maryland Black Bears – 35 games, 12-17-4 (30 points, 4th in East Division)
Tale of the Tape
With the top four teams from each division qualifying for the playoffs once the regular season ends on May 16th, this weekend’s matchup presents an important opportunity for the Jr. Hat Tricks to overtake the fourth-place Black Bears in the east division standings.
The Black Bears are one of the coldest teams in the NAHL right now, riding a 12-game losing streak with their last win dating back to February 8th.
Danbury played hard last weekend against the Maine Nordiques but ultimately lost two of three games on the road. While disappointing, there are many positives to take away from the performance.
Jr. Hat Tricks netminder Geno Pichora earned his first NAHL win on Saturday, stopping 35 of 37 shots. Jason Kleinhans scored for the third consecutive game on Friday, giving him four on the season and three on the man advantage. Luke Wheeler potted a short-handed goal on Saturday with the Danbury penalty kill improving greatly over the last two games of the series.
Danbury has dominated Maryland in head-to-head play this season, winning five of six meetings. Their success against the Black Bears has truly been a team effort with 19 Jr. Hat Trick goals being scored by 14 different players.
Players to Watch
Alex Krause, F (DHT)- Krause, a Dartmouth commit who is second on the Jr. Hat Tricks with 20 points this season, has shined the brightest against Maryland with four goals in six games. He scored both the game-tying and go-ahead goals back on February 26th against Maryland.
Mark D’Agostino, F (DHT)- D’Agostino loves to play against the Black Bears, notching a goal and five assists over six games against Maryland this season. The UConn commit has eight goals and eight assists in 22 games.
Josh Nixon, F (MBB)- Nixon has been red-hot lately for the Black Bears, logging three goals and four assists over his last five games. He netted two against the Jr. Hat Tricks on February 26th in a losing effort. Expect the Lake Superior State commit to make an impact this weekend.
How to watch
Live streaming will be featured on HockeyTV. Puck drop is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Follow @JrHatTricksNAHL on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for important updates on the Jr. Hat Tricks all season long.
Written by Johnny Alexandre