The Maryland Black Bears scored two, third period goals to defeat the visiting New Jersey Titans 2 – 1 in playoff style hockey last night. The defeat leaves the Titans only one point ahead of the fourth place Black Bears in the East Division standings.
Maryland’s Cam Gaudette was called for cross-checking at 7:05 into the opening period to give the Titans the man advantage. As the powerplay was winding down, Anthony Calafiore hit the back of the net to give the Titans a 1 – 0 lead. Zach Nazzarett took a shot from the top of the near side faceoff circle that was blocked out front, but he picked up the loose puck in the corner, turned and made a centering pass through the goalmouth to Calafiore who buried it past Black Bears goalie Michael Morelli for his fourteenth goal of the season.
After a scoreless second, the Black Bears tied that game at 5:04 into the third period. With play behind the Titans net, Maryland tried a centering pass out front that was blocked and the puck went to the Black Bears Dylan Finlay in the near side corner. Finlay took a sharp angle shot that was saved by Christian Stoever but the rebound came right out to Branden Piku who knocked the biscuit past Stoever for his fifth goal of the season.
With 1:28 remaining in regulation, Maryland’s Bryan Huggins scored the game winner. The Black Bears Brad McNeil picked up the loose puck at his own near side half wall and passed it up to Luke Mountain along the boards. As Mountain gained the line, he stopped at the top of the faceoff circle and made a cross-ice pass to Huggins who redirected the puck past Stoever for only his second goal of the season.
Stoever stopped 25 of 27 shots while Morelli and Tristan Mecenas combined to turn aside 35 of 36. Click here for the box score.
The two teams will conclude this weekend’s series tonight at 6:30 PM at the Piney Orchard Arena. Should the Titans lose in regulation, they will drop to fourth place in the East Division with three games remaining in the regular season. The top four teams make the Robertson Cup playoffs.