Humungous Action in a Small Arena

By Connor Bell

Set in an arena where it looked and smelled like hockey was always meant to be played, a hockey game took place in The Garden Ice Rink between 1st place Tier Two Division 3 Maryland and 3rd place Tier 1 Division 3 George Mason. On a Friday night around 10:00 PM you might not figure many people to be at a Division 3 hockey game, but honestly those people didn’t know what they were missing out on. There was maybe 25 people in the crowd including this journalist, but the style of play by both teams throughout the game intrigued me with every goal, pass, and hit on the ice.

Coming into this game Maryland had gone undefeated in their Tier 2 Division 3 conference play, and George Mason had won the Tier 2 championship last year so they moved up into the Tier 1 Conference. No doubt Mason was the favored opponent with bigger size and seemingly more speed on their team. But there was one thing George Mason did not have, and that was the support of Maryland families coming out to watch the game their individual sons loved to play so much. As for the actual game however, it was tough sledding for the Terps from the start.

After the first 3 minutes since the drop of the puck, the game seemed like it could go either way as both teams skated up and down the rink like it was their last hockey game ever. However, within the same first 3 minutes George Mason had scored on back to back goals and Maryland found themselves down 2-0. After finding themselves behind 2 goals to none, Maryland struck on the offensive, creating many chances for themselves but George Mason goalie Bryan Kraus had shut the door on all but Maryland’s Reed Kaczmarek who scored a goal with 2:26 left in the first period.

As the second period came to start, Maryland created many more chances for themselves, with many loose pucks around the net, the frustrated Terrapins just could not seem to capitalize on them. Meanwhile on defense, the Terps were struggling to contain Mason’s offense, who scored again with 13:26 in the second. Also, Maryland could not stay out of the penalty box with 2 penalties in the second period, but they were both killed off. As the second period went on George Mason had fewer and fewer chances to score in fact, however they made the most on those chances and managed to score 2 goals even though they as well suffered 2 penalties in the second a 5 minute major and a 2 minute minor. The Terps went into the locker room down 4-1 and in need of a big time final period.

As the game was classy to start unfortunately it did not end classy, another 2 penalties plus a small scrapple between the two teams broke out towards the end of the game sending 2 George Mason players and 1 Maryland player to the penalty box. With 2 more George Mason goals in the 3rd Maryland became frustrated but they never stopped fighting as they ended up scoring twice towards the end of the game.

It seemed like it was just one of those nights for Maryland Hockey, who had not played a game in two weeks before that game, but like all bad losses, it will wake them up and motivate them to play their next game even harder.