PORTLAND, Maine — Ted Hart added a few more firsts to his resume as the first Maine-born player to skate for the Maine Mariners.
His first goal in the ECHL was just about Maine's only highlight in a loss to the Norfolk Admirals on Wednesday, November 20.
Hart got his opportunity just 14 seconds into the second period. Off a feed from Michael McNicholas, he blasted a wrist shot into the net. His goal tied the game at 1-1. But the Admirals were dominant the rest of the way to a 6-1 win over Maine.
The next game in Norfolk on Friday, November 22, was a mirror image of the first. The score was the same at 6-1 but this time it was the Mariners who came out on top. Despite ample offense, Hart didn't figure in to the scoring.
Hart would get back into the action in the series capper on Saturday, November 23. Thanks to good puck movement between Terrence Wallin and Ryan Culkin, Hart was in the right place at the top of the crease to score on a redirect at 58 seconds into the game. Once the Mariners lost the lead a few minutes later, they never regained their footing on the way to a 5-2 loss.
With both of his goals coming out of town, Hart didn't get to bask in the cheers of the local crowd. But he'd only have wait until Tuesday, November 26, to show them what he can do.
The Mariners and Worcester Railers were tied, 2-2, after one period of play. Forty-nine seconds into the second, Ryan Gropp scored off a pass from Hart. His first ECHL assist gave Maine the lead, but only temporarily. Regulation ended in a 4-4 tie, setting up Alex Kile to play the hero with the winning goal in overtime.
Having grown up in Cumberland, Ted Hart may have the biggest cheering section at the Cross Insurance Arena in Portland. He built a following by leading Greely High School to back-to-back state championships in 2012 and 2013.
Hart tried out for the Mariners at training camp, but missed the cut for the opening day roster. Instead, he started the season with the Peoria Rivermen in the SPHL. In the five games he played with them, he chipped in a goal and five assists.
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Hart's hard work eventually won over the Mariners. When a roster slot opened up for a forward, they gave him a call. He joined the team on November 5 and played his first game as a Mariner in front of a home crowd on November 9.
Mariners fans will have their next chance to fill the CIA with cheers when the Indy Fuel come to town on Friday, November 29 at 7:15 p.m.