Ben Muthersbaugh scored two goals to help lead the Titans to a 3 – 2 win over the visiting Maryland Black Bears in game one of this critical two-game series. With the win the second place Red Buckets now trail East Division leading Maryland by five points with two games in hand.
The win was number 30 on the season for the Titans. Excluding the COVID year (2019-20), it was the sixth time out of seven seasons that the Red Buckets have won 30 games (they only time they didn’t was during the 2017-18 season). The Titans started this season 0 – 6.
With 3:56 remaining in the first period, Anthony Calafiore was called for a five minute major and game misconduct for spearing to give Maryland a five minute powerplay. Slightly over two minutes later, the Black Bears’ Brayden Stannard took a backhanded shot in close that beat Titans netminder Zak Brice high blocker side to give Maryland a 1 – 0 lead. It was Stannard’s fifth goal of the season.
At 2:33 into the middle stanza, Maryland’s Trey Scott was called for hooking to give the Titans the man advantage. Thirty-nine seconds later Muthersbaugh scored his first of two straight goals to even the score at one. Dominik Bartecko picked up the loose puck at the top of his own near side faceoff circle and skated up along the boards. As he crossed center ice, he made a crisp pass to Muthersbaugh on his right. As Muthersbaugh gained the line, the took a wrist shot from the top of the slot that beat Maryland’s goalie Jack Wieneke long side for Muthersbaugh’s sixteenth goal of the season.
With 8:38 remaining in the second Wieneke was called a delay of game when he went to bounce the puck off the glass but it went into the stands giving the Titans the man advantage again. With 7:52 left in the second, Muthersbaugh gave the Titans a 2 – 1 lead. Ben Yurchuck picked up the loose puck at the far side boards just outside the Maryland zone. As he gained the line, he passed the biscuit to Muthersbaugh on his right, and Muthersbaugh took a snapshot that beat Wieneke long side.
Joe Harney scored with 5:02 left in the period to give the Titans a 3 – 1 lead. Affiliate player Matej Teply (playing in his third NAHL game with the Red Buckets) picked up the loose puck along the near side boards and went behind the Maryland net and stopped at the far side corner. As he studder stepped, he passed the biscuit to Harney who went behind the near towards the near side corner. As Harney skated around the net, he took a shot that beat Wieneke high short side for Harney’s fourth goal of the season.
Maryland’s Hunter Ramos scored with twelve seconds remaining in the game to make it 3 – 2 and close out the scoring.
Brice stopped 32 of 34 shots while Wieneke turned aside 27 of 30. Click here for the complete box score.
Game two of this critical two-game series is tonight at 7:00PM at the Middletown Sports Complex.