MIDDLETOWN, NJ– In a rare midweek match-up, the Maryland Black Bears travelled up to Middletown, New Jersey to visit the New Jersey Titans on Tuesday night in a match-up of the top-two teams in the East Division. In the sixth match-up between the two, New Jersey scored four unanswered goals, three of them in the third, to beat the Black Bears 6-5
TUESDAY JANUARY 25th, 2022: BLACK BEARS (5) at New Jersey (6): Renewing their pleasantries, the Black Bears and Titans had a feeling out time between each other with Michael Morelli and Andrew Takacs being tested early, but making key saves to start. Even with chances, there was a little rough stuff, as Aden Bruich and Tyler Sanborn got into a scuffle that got them a five-and-ten penalty. Maryland were the first to strike, with Jack Blanchett able to find some time and space pinching in on the rush to get his seventh of the season and give the Black Bears an early lead. New Jersey took that as their wake-up call, as they started to press offensively thanks to a power play. They would finally break through with a solid passing play in transition that ended with Brendan Dumas putting home his 15th of the year to tie the game. Maryland did get some shake-ups as both Ryan Bottrill and Laker Aldridge got taken down and both missed some time– Aldridge getting the worst of it after a hard hit against the boards, which drew a penalty. On the ensuing power play, Jacob Brockman cashed in after a great set-up by Kevin Scott on a one-timer to make it 2-1. Moments later, Miles Gunty made it 3-1 after a frantic shooting gallery in front ended with Gunty picking up the loose puck and putting it behind Takacs.
New Jersey got things going quickly thanks to a carryover penalty and quick passing off their sticks, with Anthony Calafiore finishing a tic-tac-toe passing effort to cut Maryland’s lead to just one. Maryland got the two-goal lead back off a turnover in the neutral zone to get a three-on-one into the Titans zone that saw Branden Piku finish off the Black Bears tic-tac-toe effort from Bruich and Bottrill. Just 11 seconds later, Tyler Young picked off a passing attempt by New Jersey and took it in alone, beating Takacs to make it 5-2. Maryland kept pressing and getting plenty of chances to extend the lead, but Takacs was sure to not let up the next goal. After the midway point of the frame, the Titans got a goal back on a transition breakout with Blake Farrell getting the rebound from a Tommy Bannister shot that cut the Maryland lead to two. While New Jersey pressed hard to get another goal before period’s end, Morelli and the defense kept chances to a minimum and kept the game at 5-3 into the second intermission.
Trying to hold things off, Maryland withstood some solid chances by the Titans, leading to some big saves from Morelli early in the period. However, a Maryland penalty led to a New Jersey power play goal thanks to a backdoor pass from Dumas to Calafiore to make it a one-goal game. Another costly penalty on Maryland resulted in another New Jersey power play goal, as Chris Carroll deflected a Dumas shot to tie the game at 5s. Maryland was able to wake-up offensively, starting to break the defensive scheme by New Jersey and getting some things towards the net, but it didn’t yield much for scoring. New Jersey battled late and were able to come all the way back after a turnover in the defensive zone led to Calafiore finishing off his hat trick to make it a 6-5 game. While Maryland pulled Morelli late and had some chances, they couldn’t find the equalizer and drop a heartbreaker of a game 6-5.
The Black Bears will need a short memory of this, as the Johnstown Tomahawks come to town on Friday and Saturday with tickets for the game available at Tickets.MarylandBlackBears.com from the Severn Bank Ticket Center.