The visiting New Jersey Titans scored three, second period goals in three minutes to overcome a two-goal deficit en route to a 7 – 5 victory over the Maryland Black Bears in the 2019-20 season opener for both teams.
The Black Bears took a 1 – 0 lead just 4:49 into the first period when Bryden Sinclair tucked in a rebound past Titans netminder Arseni Sergeev after Sergeev made a nice in-close save on Wilmer Skoog as Skoog cut across the goalmouth.
A minute and a half later Skoog would be called for head contact to give the Titans the man advantage. After picking up a loose rebound, Mitch Machlitt would set up the play in the offensive zone’s far side corner. He sent a pass behind the Black Bears net to Michael Outzen who immediately sent a touch pass out to Matt Cameron who redirected the puck past Maryland’s goalie Andrew Takacs to tie the game at one at 6:10 into the opening period.
The Black Bears would take a 2 – 1 lead mid-way through the first. Trying to clear the zone, Titans defenseman Josef Glamos sent the puck high off the glass that went into Maryland’s zone where it was picked up by Thomas Jarman at his own blueline. Jarman would leave a drop pass to Aidan McDowell who would skate end-to-end along the far side boards and take a short side shot that beat Sergeeve.
With two minutes remaining in the opening period, Glamos picked up the loose puck deep inside his own zone and passed it up to Chris Garbe. The Titians forward would bring the puck into the offensive zone and drop it off to Shane Haviland. Haviland would make a reverse play and sent a cross-ice pass to Ole Andersen who one-timed it passed Takacs to tie the game at two.
The Black Bears would regain the lead just 2:56 into the second period. After Takacs made back-to-back sprawling saves, the rebound came out to teammate Brandon Sinclair who sent a bounce pass off the far side boards where it was picked up by Jackson Sterrett. As Sterrett skated to the faceoff dot, he took a wrist shot that beat Sergeeve long side to make it a 3 – 2 game.
Four minutes later the Black Bears would double their lead.
Ethan Heidepriem would start to skate the puck out of his own zone and sent a long stretch pass to Brayden Stannard who deflected the puck into the end boards behind Sergeeve. Stannard picked up the loose puck and sent it out front to Jude Kurtas who put it past Sergeeve to give the Black Bears a 4 – 2 lead at 6:47 into the middle stanza.
To try and regain momentum, head coach Craig Doremus pulled Sergeeve and replaced him with Patrick Pugliese.
The Titans would go onto score four unanswered goals, three of them in three minutes.
A minute after changing goalies, Outzen would cut the Black Bears lead in half. Machlitt brought the puck into the offensive zone along the far side boards. He would send a blind pass to the top of the high slot to Brody Medeiros who spinned around and passed it up to Outzen who cut across the goal mouth and beat Takacs to make it 4 – 3 Black Bears.
Two and a half minutes later Garbe would tie the game at four. As Glamos entered the offensive zone, he passed the puck to Garbe on his left. Garbe then would take a wrist shot that beat Takacs long side.
Twenty-nine seconds later veteran Kyle Jeffers would give the Titans their first lead of the game. After a turnover by the Black Bears deep in their own zone, Jeffers would pick up an errant pass in the slot and he walked in on Takacs and beat him through the five hole to make it 5 – 4 Titans.
Entering the third period with a 5 – 4 lead, the Titans would make it 6 – 4 on Jeffers second goal of the game at 6:18 into the final period. Machlitt would bring the puck out of his own zone along the near side boards and enter the offensive zone on a two-on-one with Jeffers. As Machlitt skated across the blueline, he passed it over to a breaking Jeffers on his right. Jeffers would take a snapshot that beat Takacs to give the Titans the two-goal lead.
Each team would exchange goals to close the scoring and make it a 7 – 5 game.
The Titans netminders would combine to save 29 of 34 shots (Pugliese stopped 13 of 14) while Takacs turned aside 31 of 38 in the loss.
The two teams will be at it again tonight at Piney Orchard Ice Arena at 7:45PM.