The visiting New Jersey Titans played their most complete game of the season en route to a 6 – 1 win over the Maryland Black Bears. Evan Werner and Jack Ring each had a pair of goals.
It was the highest goal total amount the Titans had scored in a game this season and was capped off by another strong performance between the pipes by Berk Berkeliev.
Werner got the Titans on the board with 2:37 left in the opening period. Werner picked up the loose puck behind his own net and brought it up along the near side boards and passed it up to Matt Doyle just outside the Titans zone. Doyle passed it up to Nick Seitz at center ice and Seitz left a trailing pass for Doyle. The Niagara Falls, NY native made a crisp pass to a breaking Werner on his right. Werner charged the net and beat Black Bears goalie Michael Morelli long side for his first goal of the evening.
Ring notched his first goal of the game just 4:13 into the second period. As Black Bears defenseman Aidan McDowell had the puck at the top of his own slot, he was stripped of the biscuit by Connor Pelc. Pelc took a wrist shot that went high and wide of the net but it took a sharp bounce off the end boards and right out in front of the Maryland net to Ring who tapped in the rebound for his third goal of the season.
Werner scored his second goal of the game with 6:31 left in the middle stanza. With a scrum taking place at the far side half wall in the Maryland zone, Tommy Bannister picked up the loose puck. As Bannister started to skate atop the faceoff circle, he made a cross-ice pass to Werner who took a one-timer that beat Morelli to give the Titans a 3 – 0 lead.
With 3:24 remaining in the second, the Titans took a 4 – 0 lead on Zach Nazzarett’s first goal of the season. As Maryland’s Josh Nixon was bringing the puck out of his own zone along the near side boards, he cut towards center ice but was stripped of the puck by Nazzarett. Nazzarett entered the offensive zone on a 2-on-0 with Blake Humphrey. As he went to the net Nazzarett, using Humphrey as a decoy, went from his backhand to his forehand and deked passed the fallen Morelli and deposited the puck into the back of the net.
Maryland would break the shutout with 1:14 left in the second. As Black Bears forward Shane Albert was bringing the puck out of his own zone along the near side boards, he chipped the puck towards center ice where it was picked up by Brad Zona. As Zona went to turn to his right, he lost an edge and fell and the loose puck was picked up by Josh Waters who walked in all alone on Berkeliev and beat the Titans netminder for his first goal of the season.
Karsten Bourgoine replaced Morelli to start the third period.
Ring scored his second goal of the game with 6:54 left in the third to give the Titans a 5 – 1 lead. After the Black Bears cleared the puck out of their end, it was picked up by Anthony Mollica at his own near side blueline and he passed the puck up to Ring at center ice. The Hingham, MA native made a nifty move towards the outside as he entered the offensive zone and took a shot that hit the far post and past Bourgoine for his fourth goal of the season.
Jack LaRusso scored on a breakaway to make it 6 – 1 with 3:31 left in the final period to close out the scoring.
Berkeliev stopped 30 of 31 shots by Morelli and Bourgoine combined to turn aside 39 of 45. Click here for the box score.
The two teams will meet again tomorrow night at 8:30 PM for game two of this weekend series at Ice World.