Dominik Bartecko scored two, third period powerplay goals to lead the visiting Titans to a 2 – 1 win over the Maryland Black Bears to complete the weekend sweep between the teams.
Although the calendar said the end of November it felt like the end of April during this weekend series. In another fight-filled, hard fault battle, the defending Robertson Cup champions were the first team to sweep the current East Division leading Black Bears this season – at home or just the season itself.
It was the Titans sixth straight win and thirteenth out of their last eighteen games. They are now two games over .500, and the victory enabled the Titans to bring their goal differential to zero for the first time this season. This has been a remarkable turnaround for the Red Buckets since their opening night loss to Maryland.
After a scoreless first period, Maryland opened the scoring with 1:40 remaining in the middle stanza off the stick of Adam Schankula. After the Black Bears won the draw just outside the Titans zone, the puck went right to Schankula who walked in all alone on Zak Brice and Schankula took a shot that was saved by the Titans netminder, but the rebound went off of defenseman Tyler Sanborn’s shoulder and into the net to give Maryland a 1 – 0 lead.
At 4:47 into the third period, Maryland’s Riley Ruh received a five-minute boarding major to give the Titans the man advantage (it was the Black Bears second five-minute major in the game). Twenty-six seconds later, Bartecko even the score.
After Bartecko took a shot from the far side point that went wide of the net, the loose puck was picked up by a Maryland’s Kaleb Tiessen behind his own cage. Tiessen went to clear the biscuit but it was kept in the zone by Leo Schwartz at the near side point. Schwartz made a cross-point pass over to Bartecko who skated to the faceoff dot and took a wrist shot that beat Black Bears goalie William Hakansson long side for the St. Louis, MO native’s first goal of the game.
Bartecko gave the Titans the lead for good with 9:21 into the final period. After Maryland dumped the puck deep in the Titans zone, Brice sent a long outlet pass to Ben Muthersbaugh at center ice. As Muthersbaugh gained the line along the near side boards, he went to make a centering pass to Reese Brednich in the slot but the puck was blocked outfront but Bartecko picked up the rebound and took a wrist shot that beat Hakansson long side to make it a 2 – 1 game.
Brice, who was exceptional again between the pipes, stopped 36 of 37 shots in the win while Hakansson turned aside 22 of 24 in defeat. Click here for the complete box score.
With last night’s win, the Titans have now evened the season series with the Black Bears at three games a piece after starting the year 0 – 3.
The Titans next five games will be at home starting next weekend against the red-hot Maine Nordiques who will enter the Middletown Sports Complex winning three games in a row and nine out of their last ten games.