After a three-week hiatus, the Titans will open the second half of their season with a critical two-game series in Maryland against the Black Bears beginning tonight at the Piney Orchard Arena. Puck drop for this evening’s game is at 7:30PM while the start time for tomorrow’s game is at 7:00PM.
Without the stoppage of play due to the holiday break, this will be the Titans third consecutive road series.
Black Bears vs. Titans Overview
This weekend’s series will pit the East Division’s top two teams against each other. In fact, they will play each other three times this month including this weekend.
This will be games four and five that the teams will have played each other. The last time they played was back on October 1 at the Middletown Sports Complex. It was the Titans home opener and the Black Bears won 3 – 2. Maryland has won two of the three games by a combined score of 11 – 6, including a season opening 5 – 0 shutout.
Branden Piku leads Maryland with six total points (3 goals and 3 assists) and goals (3) against the Titans. The Black Bears are 3 for 15 (20%) on the powerplay, and goaltender Michael Morelli has played all in all three games against the Red Buckets posting a .935 save percentage and 1.64 goals against average with one shutout.
Tommy Bannister leads the Titans with three total points (2 goals and 1 assist) and goals (two) against the Black Bears. The Titans are 1 for 13 (8%) on the powerplay, and Titans’ goaltenders have a combined .897 save percentage and 3.60 goals against average.
Black Bears Overview
Maryland is currently in second place in the East Division with a 19-7-2-2 record for 42 points (three behind the Titans). The Black Bears – who are resuming their schedule after a three-week layoff as well – are coming off a 5 – 2 home loss against the Johnstown Tomahawks (the team’s split the weekend series back on December 17 and 18), and they have won six of their last ten games. The Black Bears have scored 111 goals on the season (6th in the league) while they have allowed 84 (7th in the league). Maryland is 20 for 103 (19.45%) on the powerplay (11th in the league), and they have allowed six goals while on the man advantage. The Black Bears are 84.5% efficient on the penalty kill (9th in the league), and they have scored eight shorthanded goals (tied for most in the league).
Ryan Bottrill leads the Black Bears with 36 total points (8 goals and 28 assists) while Piku has scored the most goals (14). Five different players have scored two game winning goals. Piku has a team high +20 while Laker Aldridge has the most penalty minutes on the team with 75.
Maryland’s goaltenders have a combined 2.50 goals against average and .912 save percentage with three shutouts.
The Titans currently lead the East Division with a 22-9-1-0 record for 45 points. They are coming off a 5 – 5 road win against the Maine Nordiques (the Titans swept the December 17 & 18 series in Maine), and they have won eight out of their last 10 games. New Jersey has scored 124 goals on the season (2nd in the league) while they have allowed 94 (15th in the league). The Titans have converted on 17.4% (20 for 115) of their chances on the powerplay (17th in the league), and they have allowed five goals while on the man advantage. The Red Buckets are 82.2% efficient on the penalty kill (16th in the league). The Titans have scored four shorthand goals.
Bannister leads the team with 39 total points (14 goals and 25 assists) and goals (14). Anthony Calafiore has a team high five game winning goals as well as a team (and league) best +26. Coleman Nee has a team high 98 penalty minutes (fourth most in the league).
The Titans goaltenders have a combined 2.89 goals against average and .905 save percentage with no shutouts.