The Maryland Black Bears took the ice for the first time in franchise history. In front of a packed crowd at Piney Orchard Ice Arena, they took on its new East Division rival, the New Jersey Titans. After a physical game, the Titans were able to spoil the Black Bears’ introduction to the league with a 6-3 win.
The first period started well for Maryland, as Marek Wazny buried the first goal in franchise history behind Titan’s goalie Brandon Perrone just 3:04 into the game, tapping in a rebound off a Matteo Menotti shot. New Jersey responded ten minutes later, when Josef Glamos buried the puck into an empty net after Maryland netminder David Tomeo left the crease to clear the puck away from Titans players.
The second period did not go of the way of the home team, as the Titans buried four goals, two of which were shorthanded, and held a 5-2 lead after forty minutes. Black Bears Head Coach Clint Mylymok cited the two short-handed goals a big back breaker for the team.
“That’s a total killer,” Mylymok said of the two short-handed goals, “If you take those out, and were a little better with puck management, we like to think it (would be) a better story.”
Titans’ forward Kyler Head scored the first short-handed goal less than five minutes into the second period, and added a second goal to conclude second period scoring at even strength. Jake Sujishi tied the game for the Black Bears after Head’s first goal with a breakaway tally, but was answered less than 90 seconds later by a short side wrist shot goal by New Jersey’s Ryan Naumovski. The second short-handed goal by the Titans was scored by Cam Gendron minutes later on a break away to make it 4-2. Head made it 5-2 five minutes later.
The scoring cooled in the third but the physical play did not die down. Carter Wade fought Cam Gendron halfway through the third period. Cameron Teamor became the first Black Bears’ defenseman to score a goal, making it 5-3 on a wrist shot from the top of the right circle with 5:38 to go. Mac Wiseman scored an empty net goal with 1:21 to go to ice the game for the Titans, securing a 6-3 win. The Black Bears ended the game 0-7 on the power play while the Titans finished 0-5
Despite the loss, Coach Mylymok loved to see the area respond to the team with a packed arena and enthusiasm for an autograph session after the game.
“For the first game in franchise history, to come out and have all these fans who are still here looking for autographs,” Mylymok said, “it just shows you what kind of attention we can get in this market and also tells us we are in a really good spot.”
The Titans and Black Bears will meet again at Piney Orchard Ice Arena Saturday at 7:45 p.m. ET.