The visiting Maryland Black Bears spoiled the Titans home opening celebration as they defeated the Red Buckets 8 – 4 last night at the Middletown Sports Complex. It was the most goals allowed by New Jersey in their home opener in franchise history.
Prior to the game, the team took one last look at its historic run to the Robertson Cup championship with a nice video and the unveiling of the East Division and National Champion banners.
It looked like it was going to be a great night when the Titans scored two powerplay goals within the first three and a half minutes of the game to take an early two-goal lead.
Just fifty-four seconds into the game, Maryland’s Gunnar VanDamme was called for tripping to give New Jersey the man advantage. Thirty-six seconds later Anthony Calafiore, who earlier in the day was named the team’s captain, scored his fourth goal of the season.
Calafiore started the play inside the offensive zone at the far side faceoff dot and sent a pass back to Eric Charpentier at the point. Charpentier made a cross-ice pass to Brendan Dumas who immediately passed the biscuit to Levente Keresztes, who was to the left of the Maryland net. Keresztes made a backdoor pass through the goalmouth to Calafiore who one-timed it into the net past Black Bears goalie William Hakansson to make it a 1 – 0 game.
With 17:15 remaining in the first period, Maryland’s Caleb Craven was called for high sticking to put the Titans back on the powerplay. With time winding down with the extra attacker, Calafiore started the play at the far side point and made a cross-ice pass to Dumas at the top of the near side point. Dumas took a wrist shot that was deflected by Michael Young out front and past Hakansson to make it a 2 – 0 game.
After Blake Farrell was called for high sticking to give Maryland their first powerplay of the game. With time winding down on the man advantage, the Black Bears Christian Catalano picked up the loose puck near the end wall in the Titans zone. As he went around the New Jersey cage, he made a centering pass out front to Hunter Ramos who took a wrist shot that deflected off a Titans defender and past netminder Zak Brick to cut Maryland’s deficit in half with 12;19 left in the period.
Two minutes later the game was tied.
Maryland’s Elliott Lareau picked up the loose puck along the Titans far side half wall and took a shot from the faceoff dot that was saved by Brice, but the big rebound came right out to Adam Schankula who backhanded the rebound up and over Brice’s glove for his second goal of the season.
The Titans regained the lead on a Michael Young penalty shot. As Young picked up the loose puck just outside his own zone, the skated through center ice and into the offensive zone all alone, the was taken down from behind by Maryland’s Kareem Alazem and Young was awarded a penalty shot. Young then beat Hakansson high blocker side to give the Titans a 3 – 2 advantage with 5:49 left in the opening period.
Dumas was called for slashing with 4:39 to go in the period to put Maryland back on the powerplay. As time was winding down on the man advantage, the Black Bears’ Dimitry Kebreau tied the contest. VanDamme picked up the loose puck at the far side blueline and entered the offensive zone. As he cut towards the net, he took a shot that was save by Brice, and the rebound came out to Kebreau at the bottom of the near side circle, and he took a wrist shot that beat Brice short side to make it 3 – 3 with 2:45 remaining in the first.
Each team had taken 11 shots by that time and the game was knotted at three.
Maryland took the lead for good with two seconds remaining in the period. As Keresztes broke out of his own zone, he made an outlet pass to Dumas but the puck bounced over Dumas’ stick and right to the Black Bears’ Quinn Kennedy. As Kennedy gained the line, he passed the biscuit to Alazem at the top of the far side faceoff circle. Alazam made a centering pass out front to Gabriel Westling who made a move on Brice and backhanded the puck into the net to make it a 4 – 3 game.
The Black Bears then received another goal by Ramos and Westling as well as a pair of goals from Catalano while Keresztes scored his first goal of the season to close out the scoring and make it a 8 – 4 game.
Titans netminders Brice Jacob Torgner combined to stop 22 of 30 shots while William Hakansson turned aside 20 of 24. Click here for the complete box score.
The team’s will be at it again tonight at 7:00PM for game two of this two-game series.