Jack Ford had two goals and two assists and Jake Suede had a goal and three assists to help lead the Titans to a 9 – 2 rout over the visiting Maryland Black Bears to split the weekend series between the teams.
It was the most goals the Titans have scored in a game this season, and it was the most they have scored since February 1, 2020 when they tallied the same amount in an away win against the Maine Nordiques.
Goaltender Berk Berkeliev made several key saves throughout the game to limit the Black Bears from scoring additional goals.
Anthony Calafiore opened the scoring with 9:21 into the first period. With Maryland looking for a change, defenseman Aidan McDowell went to set up the play at the top of his own far side faceoff circle, but he was being pressured by Suede and was forced to send an errant pass that was intercepted by Ford at the top of the blueline. Ford immediately made a touch pass to Calafiore in the slot and the Staten Island, NY native took a one-timer that went through the five hole of Black Bears goalie Michael Morelli for his fifth goal of the season.
Ford scored his first goal of the night just thirty-four seconds into the middle stanza. Caleb Price brought the puck out of his own end and skated through the neutral zone. As he gained the line, he passed the puck to Zach Nazzarett on his right. Nazzarett sent a return pass that Price redirected on net that was saved by Morelli, but the rebound came out to Ford who deposited the biscuit into the back of the net for his first North American Hockey League goal.
Maryland would cut the Titans lead in half at 4:49 in the period on Jack Brackett’s first goal of the game. As the Black Bears’ Brendan Hill and birthday boy Tyler Nasca were battling for the loose puck behind the Titans net, Hill was able to pass the biscuit to Brackett along the end boards. Brackett skated from behind Berkeliev’s left, made a stutter step around a Titans defender, and took a shot that went through Berkeliev’s five hole to make it a 2 – 1 game.
The Titans regained the two-goal lead two minutes later on Ford’s second goal of the game. Anthony Mollica set up the play behind his own net and passed it up to Suede on his right. Suede brought the puck up along the far side boards and as he gained the line a Black Bear defender fell and allowed Suede to penetrate the offensive zone. Suede took a shot that was saved by Morelli then the goaltender made a successive save on Calafiore, but Ford was able to tap in the rebound to give the Titans a 3 – 1 lead.
Maryland’s Luke Mountain was called for cross-checking with 3:08 left in the period to give the Titans the man advantage. After Evan Werner picked up his rebound, he sent the puck behind the Maryland net to Matthew Iasenza who was to the left of Morelli. Iasenza passed the biscuit back to Nick Seitz along the far side boards. Seitz sent a return pass to Iasenza and he took a shot that was save by Morelli but Iasenza tucked in his rebound with 1:20 remaining in the second to give the Titans a 4 – 1 lead. It was Iasenza’s third goal of the season.
Eleven seconds later Suede made it 5 – 1 Titans. After Suede won the ensuing faceoff, the puck was picked up by Ford just outside the Black Bears zone. As he gained the line, he passed it over to Suede on his right. The Macomb, MI native charged the net and took a shot that was saved by Morelli but Suede buried his rebound past the fallen netminder for his second goal of the season.
After Nasca made it 6 – 1 just 3:10 into the third, the rout was on with the Titans scoring two additional goals from Werner and one from Nazzarett. Brackett scored his second goal of the game, and fourth on the weekend, to close out the scoring for Maryland.
Morelli stopped 42 of 51 shots while Berkeliev turned aside 39 of 41. Click here for the box score. The win improved the Titans record to 6-7-1-4 for 17 points.
The Titans will host a pair of games next weekend against the Johnstown Tomahawks.