The New Jersey Titans swept the Maryland Black Bears with a pair of wins over the weekend at Middletown Sports Complex.
On Friday night, the Titans erased a pair of one-goal deficits before Josef Glamos scored the game-winner midway through the third period. The following night, Glamos put his team ahead with 12.9 seconds remaining in regulation, capping a wild 6-4 win to complete the Titans’ second sweep over the Black Bears this season.
“It’s something we spoke about since day one of camp: our mental toughness and being able to respond to some adverse situations so I’m really proud of the guys this weekend,” said Titans head coach Craig Doremus on the two come-from-behind wins.
Karim Del Ponte opened the scoring for Maryland at 3:05 of the first period. He fired a slap shot from the blue line that found a way through traffic and past Titans goaltender Matt Ladd. Ryan Naumovski responded 23 seconds later when he took a sharp-angle shot that went over the blocker of Black Bears goaltender David Tomeo.
Maryland took the lead for a second time in the second period when Luke Posner scored his third goal of the season with a wrist shot from the top of the circles. Maryland seemed to control most of the period as they outshot the Titans by a margin of 20-7.
New Jersey caught a break, however, when Chris Garbe scored his second goal of the season. He stripped the puck from Black Bears defender Luc Salem and beat Tomeo high-glove side with a long wrister at 17:17 of the second period.
Momentum stayed in the Titans’ favor throughout the third period. Craig McCabe laid a thunderous check on Black Bears forward Carter Wade that kept the puck in the zone. Seconds later, Jack Lane slid the puck towards Glamos as he ripped a shot low-stick side to give the Titans a 3-2 lead. Kyle Jeffers increased the lead by scoring an empty-netter for his 10th goal of the season.
With just over a minute remaining, it appeared the Black Bears scored with the extra attacker, but the goal was taken back. The officials ruled that the extra skater entered the ice too early, before Tomeo fully went to the bench. It took the wind out of the Black Bears’ sails as the Titans closed out the 4-2 win.
Saturday night’s game took an unexpected turn in the opening minute. Titans goaltender Brandon Perrone went behind his net to play the puck and was checked by Carter Wade. Both players were slow to get up, but Perrone would remain in the game while Wade was assessed a five-minute major and game misconduct for charging.
The Titans did not get much of a power play from the major though, as Eric Manoukian, Ben Pirko and Gavin Gulash each took penalties within that five minute span. As a result, Patrick Choi scored a power-play goal to give Maryland a 1-0 lead. It was quickly answered, however, as Glamos found the rebound to his own blocked shot and fired a puck past an unsuspecting Benjamin Beck.
New Jersey struck two more times in the first period, in a span of 32 seconds. Bryce Witman gave the Titans the lead when he made a toe drag at the top of the right circle and flung a wrister under the blocker of Beck. The next shift, Ryan Naumovski rifled a pass to a cutting Kyle Jeffers, as he redirected the puck upstairs for his 11th goal of the season.
Maryland responded in the second period with two quick goals of their own. Patrick Choi let a wrister fly through traffic and beat Brandon Perrone glove side at 10:55. Daylon Mannon tied the game at 13:33 when he deflected a shot from the point. The momentum carried in the third period when Jonathan Young scored his first NAHL goal at 7:12, giving the Black Bears a 4-3 lead.
The Titans made a strong push for the tying goal and caught a break when Marek Wazny took a hooking penalty with just under three minutes remaining. The power play was unsuccessful, but New Jersey maintained offensive pressure until Naumovski finally tied the game. He received a pass at the blue line and glided down the low slot before ripping a shot blocker side, making it a 4-4 game with 1:45 remaining.
It appeared the two teams were going into overtime for the second time this season, but Glamos streaked into the Black Bears’ zone and slipped a wrister under Beck’s blocker with 12.9 seconds remaining in the game. Kyle Jeffers sealed the win with another empty-net goal, increasing his season total to 12.
During two-game set, Jack Lane of the New Jersey 87’s and Ryan Tucker of the Titans 18U team made their debuts. While Tucker just played on Friday, Lane played both days and recorded an assist in each game. Doremus spoke about Lane and Tucker working their way up to the NAHL roster.
“Any time you bring in those guys from within your own family and into the lineup, its’ huge. Not only for our current team but for the future of our program, to see that the process is real and you can come into Middletown as a mite and work your way up to the North American Hockey League,” he said.
The Titans return to action this weekend as they travel to Attleboro, Mass. and face the Northeast Generals. Two weeks ago, the teams split a two-game set in Middletown and will start a doubleheader in Northeast on Saturday with a 7 p.m. puck drop. They play again the following day at 1:30 p.m. Both games will be streamed on hockeytv.com.