Series Recap vs Maryland

Apr 29, 2024

The New Jersey Titans saw their season come to an end last weekend at the hands of the Maryland Black Bears, as the East Division’s top ranked team dismissed the Titans with a three game sweep.

The series began in Maryland at the Piney Orchard Ice Arena, after the Titans swept the Johnstown Tomahawks on the road to advance to the division semifinals.  Game 1 saw leading scorer Ryan Novo put the Titans on the board halfway through the first period with a power play goal, his 3rd of the playoffs, assisted by Jack Hillier and Dominick Rivelli.  The goal woke up the Maryland offense, who recorded the next 8 shots on goal, including a pair of goals 10 seconds apart.  Rivelli struck on the power play late in the period for his second of the postseason, with Novo and Hillier getting the helpers as the Titans took a tied game into the first intermission.  Logan Renkowski added another power play tally in the second period, from Lucas Marshall and Dominik Bartecko, to take a lead into the third.  Dylan Krick bailed his team out with timely saves, but the Black Bears tied the game with under 5 minutes to go, and followed up with the game winner on the power play with 1:20 to go.  An empty net goal provided the exclamation mark for the Black Bears to cap off a three goal third period in the first playoff meeting between the two teams.

Maryland jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first period of Game 2.  After a scoreless second, the Titans entered the third on the power play.  While they did not score on the man advantage, they gained momentum, and Ryan Novo got New Jersey on the board minutes later with his 4th of the playoffs.  Rivelli and Ryan Friedman got the assists, and New Jersey appeared poised for more.  Their next opportunity came quickly, when the Titans were awarded a penalty shot after a Maryland defender covered the puck in the crease.  Jack Hillier was selected to take the shot, and the Sacred Heart commit snapped a shot low to tie the game.  Deadlocked after 60 minutes, the Titans earned their second overtime in their past three games.  However, a missed call for icing directly led to a Maryland goal a minute into the extra frame, and New Jersey headed home down 2-0 in the series.

With the Titans in front of their home town fans for the first time in the playoffs, Maryland worked quickly to eliminate the advantage with a goal in the first 2:31 of the opening period.  The Black Bears then doubled their lead in the second, outshooting the Titans 23-18 through 40 minutes of play.  With their backs against the wall entering the third, Dominik Bartecko, who set new franchise records with 32 goals and 51 assists in the regular season, put home a Hillier rebound to cut the deficit in half.  Simon Becar, one of the Titans’ age-outs, provided the other assist.  Despite outshooting Maryland in the third, the Titans could not find the equalizer, and an empty netter with 16.8 remaining sealed the Titans’ fate.

With the loss, New Jersey was swept for the second consecutive season in the East Division Semifinals. The Titans also bid farewell to age-out players Dominik Bartecko, Dominick Rivelli, Reece Brednich, Simon Becar, Jake Geraci, Riley Fitzgerald, and goaltender Zak Brice. Next up for the organization are the summer camps that will shape the 2024-25 team, beginning with the Identification Camp to be held at the Middletown Sports Complex May 31st through June 2nd. Interested players can register for camp by following this link. The goaltenders will take center stage with their own camp July 20th and 21st, and interested keepers should follow this link. The Main Camp for the 2024-25 New Jersey Titans will be July 22nd through July 26th and is by invitation only by contacting Head Coach and General Manager Craig Doremus.