Despite overcoming a two-goal deficit, the Titans fell to the visiting Maryland Black Bears last night 4 – 3 to split the critical two-game series between the first and second place teams in the East Division.
With the loss, the Red Buckets now trail Maryland by seven points in the division standings with eleven games remaining in the regular season.
Maryland’s Hunter Ramos opened the scoring at 6:12 into the first period. After Brad McNeil picked up the loose picked at the top of his near side faceoff dot, he made a cross-ice pass to Christian Catalano who skated up along the far side boards. As Catalano reached the offensive zone, he passed the biscuit to Ramos on his left. As Ramos gained the line, he took a wrist shot that beat Titans netminder Zak Brice through the five hole for Ramos’ eighteenth goal of the season.
Anthony Calafiore tied the game at one at 2:30 into the second period. With the puck in the offensive zone and on a delayed penalty, the Titans’ Matej Teply set up the play at the top of the far side faceoff circle and passed it down low to Ethan Wongus at the near side faceoff dot. Wongus made a seamless cross-ice pass through the slot to Calafiore who took a wrist shot that beat Black Bears goalie Jack Wieneke high short side for Calafiore’s eighteenth goal of the season. It was Calafiore’s first goal in six games.
Maryland then took a two-goal lead starting at 6:51 into the middle stanza when Gabriel Westling took a wrist shot from the near side faceoff circle that beat Brice high, short side to make it 2 – 1.
The Black Bears then made it 3 – 1ok a two-goal lead at 10:34 into the period when Luke Van Why took a wrist shot that beat Brice long side to for his twelfth goal of the season.
With 7:19 remaining in the second, Maryland’s Raymond Perrault was called for interference to give the Titans the man advantage. Nineteen seconds later Ben Muthersbaugh cut the Titans deficit to one. Ben Yurchuk started the play at the near side half wall and made a long pass back to Joe Harney at the far side point. Harney passed the biscuit to Dominik Bartecko on his left along the blueline, and Bartecko immediately passed it to Muthersbaugh at the faceoff dot and he took a one-timer that beat Wieneke short side for Muthersbaugh’s first goal of the game.
Muthersbaugh tied the game at three with 2:37 left in the period. After gaining the offensive zone line along the near side boards, Muthersbaugh took a wrist shot from the bottom of the faceoff circle that surprised Wieneke and beat the Maryland goaler long side for Muthersbaugh’s second goal of the game and fourth in the two-game series.
The Black Bears’ Brayden Stannard scored after a broken play in the Titans zone when he took a wrist shot to beat Brice to give Maryland back the lead at 7:08 into the final period to make it 4 – 3 and close out the scoring.
Brice stopped 28 of 32 shots while Wieneke turned aside 35 of 38 shots. Click here for the complete box score.
Last night’s game concluded the Titans six-game homestand posting a 3 – 3 record. They now have eleven games remaining in the regular season and only three are at home (at the end of this month). The Red Buckets next four games are on the road starting in Attleboro next weekend against the Generals and the following weekend in Lewiston, ME against the Nordiques.