The New Jersey Titans overcame a two goal, first period deficit to win 3 – 2 in a shootout over the visiting Maryland Black Bears and complete the weekend sweep. It was the first in four times this season that the Titans won in a shootout. It was the Titans third consecutive victory.
Maryland opened the scoring with 7:36 remaining in the first period. As the Titans Matt Doyle and Maryland’s Hunter McCoy fought for the puck behind the New Jersey net, Black Bears forward Brad McNeil picked up the loose biscuit and skated around the net and made a centering pass out front to McCoy who took a shot that hit the post but the rebound came right out to Brendan Hill who wristed the puck past Titans netminder Loudon Hogg and into the net to give the visitors a 1 – 0 lead.
With 1:30 left in the opening period, the Black Bears doubled their lead. After Titans defenseman Anthony Mollica was stripped of the puck by Maryland’s Jude Kurtas, Black Bears forward Shane Albert picked up the loose puck and took a shot on net that went wide of the net and rolled up along the far side boards where it picked up by Aden Bruich at the half wall. Bruich passed the puck down low to Kurtas who made a move around Stephen Willey and went to the net. As Kurtas cut through the goal mouth, he lifted a backhanded shot past Hogg to make it a 2 – 0 game.
Matthew Boczar cut the Titans deficit in half just 4:07 into the middle stanza. Mollica intercepted a Black Bear pass at the top of his own zone and he passed it up to Willey at center ice. After heavy pressure along the far side boards, Willey was able to pass the puck up to Jack Ford who entered the offensive zone. As Ford reached the far side corner, he made a backhanded centering pass out front to Boczar and the Sewell, NJ native redirected the puck past Maryland’s netminder Michael Morelli for his third goal of the season.
With 2:37 remining in regulation, Mollica tied the game. Titans defenseman Nate Boak picked up the puck in own zone and circled behind his net up along the far side boards. As he reached the half wall, he was pressured off the puck by Black Bears forward, but the loose puck was picked up by Levente Keresztes who passed it out to Mollica on his right. Mollica brought the biscuit up through center ice and into the offensive zone. As he split two defenders at the top of the slot, Mollica took a wrist shot that beat Morelli long side for his second goal of the season.
After a scoreless overtime, it went to a shootout. Hogg stopped Maryland’s Daniel Colabufo on the first try then Boak beat Morelli to give the Titans the lead. Kurtas then scored on his chance to tie it then Jake Suede scored the eventual game winner as Hogg stopped Grady Friedman to preserve the win.
Hogg stopped 26 of 28 shots while Morelli turned aside 32 of 34. Click here for the box score.
The Titans will play a rare Tuesday night game against the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks.