Maryland Black Bears (3-0-1-0, 7pts) vs. Odessa Jackalopes (1-1-0-0, 3pts)
at NSC SR 1 in Blaine, MN
Time: 4:30 p.m. CDT
Broadcast: (Home) HockeyTV
What You Need to Know:
Season Series: 0-0
MYD: 9pts, Van Why (3g-6a)
ODA: 5pts, Goode (3g-2a)
The Maryland Black Bears have already beaten two teams from the South Division (5-3 vs. Corpus, and 4-2 vs. Wichita Falls). They are the only team from the East that has yet to lose in regulation. This will be the first time Odessa will be facing an East Division team. It will not be the last though as they will face the Jamestown Rebels (1-1) tomorrow morning. In the Black Bears first game of this season, Vlad Polegoshko, recorded a hat-trick in his NAHL debut. This is a team that likes to get ahead early and not let their foot off the gas.
While the Jackalopes are playing four teams they will never see again this season, it is highly possible for them to get right back into the win column. The benefit of playing four different teams in four-straight days is that each team is different. There are no practices between games for either team. There are also multiple games taking place on the same sheet of ice all day. With many scouts from all levels in attendance there are already a lot of eyes on these players early on into their 2021-22 campaign.
The Division that the Jackalopes call home is currently the only one with more than two undefeated teams (Central Division). So far New Mexico (3-0), Amarillo (2-0), El Paso (2-0), and Lone Star (2-0) all have perfect records. Corpus and Wichita have yet to win a game this season, both 0-2. While the Jackalopes will not face a divisional opponent until next weekend (Wichita Falls), they will certainly look to climb their way back up to first place with wins over the Black Bears and the Rebels.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Black Bears (D: #5 – Luke Van Why)
The Hatfield, PA native is currently tied with teammate Ryan Bottrill for the team lead in points (9). The 18-year-old is in his first NAHL season and has already made his presence felt against the opposition. Last year the 5’10”-163lb. right-handed forward played only six games (4a) and all were for the Notre Dame Hounds U18 AAA (SMAAAHL). Two years ago, he was awarded to the 2019-20 AYHL 16U All-Star team. Look for Van Why to join in on the rush and constantly put the puck towards the net.
Jackalopes (D: #12 – Evan Orr)
The Michigan Tech commit is in his third season in the NAHL (92gp, 8g, 22a). The Michigan native is currently on a two-game point streak (1g, 1a). Orr was the Captain of the Jackalopes last season and already through two games it is clear how valuable his leadership is. The 20-year-old was drafted #2 overall by the Jacks in 2020. The 5’11”-185lb. left-handed defenseman was also drafted #126 overall by the Des Moines Buccaneers (USHL) in 2020. Orr has been playing fantastic hockey while in Blaine, MN. Constantly pinching up on the play and finding the open areas in the offensive zone. Look for more of the same from him as his squad faces the Black Bears.