The Titans lost to the Maryland Black Bears last night 4 – 2 to split the weekend series between the teams. The defeat, coupled with a point earned in Friday night’s game, enabled the second place Black Bears to move within two points of the division leading Titans. The loss also snapped the Titans six game winning streak.
It looked early on that the Titans might sweep the weekend series as Brendan Dumas put the visiting Red Buckets on the board just thirty-three seconds into the game. After Titans defenseman Tyler Sanborn took a shot on net that was easily saved by Maryland’s goalie Luca Di Pasquo, the puck was redirected to the far side half wall where it was picked up by David Posma. Posma threw the puck into the slot where Dumas picked it up and took a wrist shot that went off Di Pasquo’s right pad and into the net to give the Titans a 1 – 0 lead.
The Black Bears knotted the game at one with 9:53 left in the first period. After a Maryland penalty had just expired, Tommy Bannister dumped the puck into the offensive zone where it was picked up by the Black Bears’ Luke Van Why. Van Why sent the puck into center where Ryan Bottrill outmuscled a Titans defender off the biscuit and brought it into the New Jersey zone. As Bottrill gained the line, he passed the puck to Tyler Young on his left. Young went towards the net and deked around Titans netminder Andrew Takacs and wristed the puck up and over the fallen Takacs and into the net for Young’s fourth goal of the season.
Maryland took their first lead of the night just thirty-two seconds into the second period. After the Black Bears’ Brad McNeil took a shot on net that was saved by Takacs, McNeil followed up his own rebound at the far side half wall. McNeil sent the biscuit down low to Laker Aldridge behind the Titans cage. Aldridge tried a wraparound to the left of Takacs but the puck went through the goalmouth and onto the stick of Maryland’s Miles Gunty who redirected the puck past Takacs and into the net to make it a 2 – 1 game.
At 3:35 into the middle stanza, Maryland’s Aden Bruich was called for charging to give the Titans the man advantage. Twenty-four seconds later Bannister tied the game. Chris Carroll picked up the loose puck behind the Maryland net and passed it back to Owen Luik at the top of the slot. Luik passed it over to Bannister on his left and Bannister took a shot that went bar down and past Di Pasquo for Bannister’s team high fifteenth goal of the season.
The Black Bears took their second lead of the night with 3:57 remaining in the game. Maryland’s Young picked up the loose puck at the near side half wall in the Titans zone. Young passed it down low to Bottrill behind the Titans net. Bottrill made a centering pass out front to Branden Piku who redirected the puck past Takacs to make it a 3 – 2 game.
Maryland put the game out of reach when Bottrill scored with 2:29 remaining in the contest to make it a 4 – 2 game.
Takacs stopped 24 of 28 shots in defeat while Di Pasquo turned aside 36 of 39. Click here for the box score.
The Titans now come home for a seven game homestand that begins January 14 against the Maine Nordiques.