Maryland netminder Hannes Kollen turned aside all 27 shots he faced to back stop the Black Bears to a 4 – 0 victory over the visiting New Jersey Titans at the Piney Orchard Arena. It was the first time in the Titans six-year history that they have been shutout in consecutive games. Moreover, the Titans haven’t scored a goal in their last seven periods, dating back to the middle stanza of last Friday night’s game against the Johnstown Tomahawks.
The Black Bears Jack Hillman opened the scoring at 7:55 into the first period. Maryland’s Josh Nixon brought the puck out of his zone and set a bounce pass off the near side boards and entered the Titans zone. As he got to the faceoff dot, he reversed and sent a pass back to Hunter McCoy at the top of the faceoff circle. McCoy took a shot that was saved by Titans’ goaltender Christian Stoever but the big rebound came right out to Hillman who buried into the open net to make it a 1 – 0 game.
Maryland took a two-goal lead almost two minutes later. The Black Bears’ Jesse Horacek picked up the loose puck at his own near side half wall and passed to a breaking Conor Cole on his right. Cole skated through center ice and into the offensive zone. As Cole gained the line, he passed the puck to Garrett Szydlowski on his right. As Szydlowski skated to the left of Stoever, he made a centering pass out front to Cole and Cole redirected past Stoever for his eighth goal of the season.
Stephen Willey was called for hooking at 7:18 into the second period to give the Black Bears the man advantage. Nineteen seconds later Maryland took a 3 – 0 lead. The Black Bears’ Philip Tornqvist set up the play at top of the point and sent it over to Josh Nixon at the near side half wall. Nixon took a shot on net that was saved by Stoever but the rebound came out front to Cole who took a shot that was saved again by Stoever but the rebound came right out to Nixon who hit the back of the net for his seventh goal of the season.
Tornqvist closed out the scoring with 9:09 remaining in the second period for his first goal of the season to make it 4 – 0.
Stoever stopped 34 of 38 shots in the loss. It was the Black Bears first shutout of the season. Click here for the box score.
The two teams will meet again tonight at the Middletown Sports Complex for game two of this home-and-home series. Puck drop is 7:05 PM.