Five different Red Buckets hit the back of the net and Christian Stoever turned aside 41 of 43 shots to lead the visiting New Jersey Titans to a 5 – 2 win over the Maryland Black Bears at Piney Orchard Arena last night. It was the Titans third straight win and eight of out their last nine games.
Jake Suede got the Titans on the board first with 8:27 remaining in the opening period. After Brad Zona dumped the puck into the Maryland zone from center ice, it was picked up by Black Bears defenseman Philip Tornqvist behind his own net. Being pressured by Suede, Tornqvist went to clear the puck but it was intercepted by Matthew Iasenza at the near side faceoff dot. Iasenza took a shot that was blocked out front, but the rebound came right out to Iasenza who immediately took another shot but this time it was saved by Maryland goaltender Michael Morelli. After Morelli made the save on Iasenza, the rebound came out front to Suede who tucked in the rebound past Morelli to give the Titans a 1 – 0 lead.
Almost four minutes later Anthony Calafiore gave the Titans a 2 – 0 lead. Anthony Mollica picked up the loose puck just outside the Titans near side blueline and passed it up to Nick Seitz along the center ice boards. Seitz found a breaking David Posma in the neutral zone. As Posma gained the offensive line and reached the top of the slot, he passed the puck to Zach Nazzarett to his right. Nazzarett made a cross-ice pass through the slot and Calafiore one-timed it passed Morelli for his ninth goal of the season.
Maryland’s Conor Cole cut the Titans lead in half with just :36 into the middle stanza. The Black Bears’ Josh Nixon intercepted the puck just inside the Titans zone and dumped the biscuit towards the near side faceoff dot where it was picked up by Garrett Szydlowski. Szydlowski went behind the Titans net and tried a wraparound but the puck went through the goal mouth and was knocked in by Cole who was standing on the doorstep past Stoever to make it a 2 – 1 game.
The Titans regained the two-goal lead at 9:07 into the second period on Jack Karlsson’s second goal of the season. Connor Pelc intercepted the puck at the top of slot in the offensive zone. Pelc passed it downlow to Tommy Bannister who was towards the right of Morelli. Bannister cut across the crease and took a shot that was saved by Morelli. After Morelli made a successive save on Mollica, the deep rebound came out to Karlsson who shot the puck into the open net to make it 3 – 1.
Maryland’s Aden Bruich received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for kneeing Evan Werner to give the Titans the man advantage at 1:35 into the third period. Fifty-five seconds into the five-minute powerplay, Nazzarett made it a 4 – 1 game. After a scrum took place at the Black Bears near side half wall, the puck went back to Tyler Nasca at the point. Nasca passed the biscuit over to Levente Keresztes on his left. As Keresztes started to walk the line towards the far side boards, he lobbed a shot on net that was redirected by Nazzarett out front and past Morelli for his seventh goal of the season.
As the five-minute advantage was just expiring, Blake Humphrey made it 5 – 1 Titans. After Caleb Price intercepted the puck just outside the Black Bears zone, he passed it up to Jake LaRusso at the far side blueline. As LaRusso gained the line, he passed the biscuit to Seitz on his right. As Seitz reached the faceoff dot, he went to make a cross-ice pass to Iasenza but the puck was blocked by a Maryland defender, but the rebound came right out to Humphrey who beat Morelli high, blocker side for his sixth goal of the season.
Cole scored with over five minutes remaining in the game to close out the scoring for Maryland to make it a 5 – 2 game.
Despite the score both goaltenders played extremely well and had to keep their respective team in the game. It was Stoever’s fifth straight win in a Titans uniform. Morelli stopped 40 of 45 shots. Click here for the box score.
The teams will conclude their weekend series tonight at 6:15 PM at the Piney Orchard Arena.