The visiting Titans scored three unanswered second period goals en route to a 4 – 1 win over the Maryland Black Bears in game one of this critical two-game series. The victory extends the first place Titans lead to four points over second place Maryland.
After a scoreless first period, the Titans quickly started the middle stanza on the disadvantage when Rocco Testa-Basi was called for slashing just forty-eight seconds in. A minute later Michael Young scored the first of three straight Titans’ goals.
With the Black Bears’ Ryan Botrill setting up the play at the top of the point in the offensive zone, he sent a pass to Jacob Brockman at the near side faceoff circle. Brockman immediately sent a return pass to Botrill. As Botrill tried to cup the pass, it bounced off his stick and right to Young at the top of the defensive box. Young began to break out of the zone and passed the biscuit to Ryan Coughlin on his right. As Coughlin gained the offensive zone line on a two-on-one with Young, Coughlin made a cross-ice pass back to Young on his left and Young redirected the puck past Maryland goaltender Luca Di Pasquo to give the Titans the 1 – 0 lead. It was the Titans second shorthanded goal this season against the Black Bears – both on the road.
The Titans doubled their lead at 9:27 of the middle stanza. After Chris Carroll won the draw deep inside the Maryland zone, the puck went back to Billy Feczko at the and of the faceoff circle. Feczko made a return tap pass to Carroll in the near side corner. Carroll passed the biscuit to Levente Keresztes along the end boards and Keresztes went behind the cage and wrapped the puck around the net and beat Di Pasquo long side for Keresztes ninth goal of the season.
Coughlin gave the Titans a three-goal lead with 6:57 left in the period. After Nick Ring intercepted a Black Bear pass at the top of his own near side boards, he made a bounce pass off the boards to Young. As Young gained the line, he was knocked off the puck by Maryland’s Jack Blanchett at the near side faceoff circle and the puck slid to the top of the crease where it was picked up the Black Bears’ Luke Van Why. As Van Why circled behind the cage and started to breakout to the right of Di Pasquo, he was stripped of the puck by Coughlin who cut across the goalmouth and beat Di Pasquo for his ninth goal of the season and fifth as a Red Bucket.
Maryland’s Brad McNeil broke the Titans shutout bid at 5:23 into the third period. Van Why picked up the loose puck in his own slot and passed it to Dimitry Kebreau at his own far side blueline. As Kebreau skated through center ice and into the offensive zone, he passed it to Brad McNeil on his right. As McNeil reached the faceoff dot, he took a wrist shot that beat Titans netminder Andrew Takacs long side to make it a 3 – 1 game.
Tommy Bannister scored a breakaway goal for his team high eighteenth of the season with 9:23 in the game to make it 4 – 1 and close out the scoring.
Takacs turned aside 33 of 34 shots in the win while Di Pasquo stopped 32 of 36. Click here for the box score.
The teams will meet again tonight at the Piney Orchard Arena for game two of this two-game series at 7:00PM.