Brendan Dumas (2 goals and 1 assist), Anthony Calafiore (3 assists) and Dante Palombo (3 assists) each had three points to help lead the Titans to a 6 – 2 win over the visiting Maryland Black Bears to salvage a weekend split between the teams.
Despite it being the first of October, the game had a playoff feeling with the defending national champions and current East Division leader playing tight checking hockey with a few fist-a-cuffs and sound goaltending.
Ryan Novo gave the Titans and early 1 – 0 lead at 6:07 into the first period. Defenseman Brian Robertson started the play at his own near side faceoff dot and sent a pass up to Novo at the blueline. As Novo entered the neutral zone, he passed the biscuit to Palombo on his left. Before entering the Maryland end, Palombo sent a cross-ice pass to Dumas right before Dumas was entering the offensive zone. As Dumas gained the line, he made a centering pass out front to Novo in the slot and Novo slid the puck through the five hole of Black Bears goalie Jack Wieneke and into the net for Novo’s second goal of the season.
Maryland tied the game just twelve seconds into the middle stanza. After the Black Bears’ Brad McNeil won the opening draw, the puck went back to Luke Van Why at the top of his own far side faceoff circle. Van Why stopped and made a long, cross-ice pass that bounced off the near side boards just inside the Titans zone where it was picked up by Christian Catalano who walked in all alone on Red Buckets goaltender Jacob Torgner and Catalano deked towards Torgner’s right and backhanded the puck past the prone Titans goaltender and into the net for Catalano’s sixth goal of the season.
At 3:58 into the second, Van Why was called for holding to give the Titans the man advantage. As the powerplay was about to expire Dimitry Kebreau scored a shorthanded goal to give the visitors a 2 – 1 lead. As Johnny McMahon kept the puck in the near side point in the offensive zone, he passed the biscuit to Ben Yurchuk at the top of the point, but the puck bounced off Yurchuk’s skate and it was picked up by Kebreau who skated through center ice and into the offensive zone all alone on Torgner. As Kebreau cut towards his left, Torgner went to poke check the puck, but the biscuit rolled off Torgner’s stick and behind him into the empty net for Kebreau’s team high eighth goal of the season.
McNeil was called for boarding at 7:38 into the middle stanza to put the Titans back on the man advantage. Seventeen seconds later Dumas tied the game. Calafiore picked up the loose puck at the near side half wall inside the offensive zone. As the Staten Island, NY native skated back towards the top of the slot, he passed the biscuit over to Dumas at the top of the far side faceoff circle. Dumas took a wrist shot that went through the right arm of Wieneke and into the net for Dumas’ third goal of the season.
Tyler Sanborn gave the Titans the lead for good with eight second remaining in the second. After Palombo won the draw deep inside the Maryland zone, the puck went back to Owen Luik at the near side point. Luik made a cross-point pass to Sanborn who immediately sent a return pass to Luik. The Oakville, Ontario took a shot on net that went wide and it bounced off the end wall all the way to Sanborn at the top of the far side faceoff circle. Sanborn took a howitzer of a one-timer that beat Wieneke long side for Sanborn’s first goal of the season.
With 2:21 remaining in regulation, Catalano was called hooking to give the Titans the man advantage. A minute later, Michael Young doubled the Titans lead. Young picked up the loose puck at the top of his own slot and skated out of his end and into the neutral zone. As he hit center ice, he passed it to a breaking Calafiore along the near side boards. As Calafiore gained the line, he sent a return pass to Young in the slot, and Young took a wrist shot that beat Wieneke long side for Young’s third goal of the season and weekend.
Dumas then scored an empty net goal, and McMahon scored with seven seconds remaining in the game to close out the scoring and make it a 6 – 2 game.
Torgner stopped 22 of 24 shots for his first win in the NAHL will Wieneke was saddled with the loss turning aside 19 of 23 shots. Click here for the complete box score.
The Titans will host the Maine Nordiques next weekend for a two-game series.