The Titans U18 and U16 NAPHL teams returned from Troy after a successful final weekend in the NAPHL. The U18 team put up a valiant fight in its games in Troy falling twice by one goal in hard fought games, while the U16 team went 4-1 to close out their season and lock up the 6th seed in the U16 Playoffs.
The U18 Titans fell in their first two games to the Phoenix Firebirds and Pittsburgh Viper Stars 7-0 in both games with Joe Licata standing on his head both days to make save after save. In their third matchup, the Titans battled the San Jose Jr Sharks to a tight 3-3 game before giving up a late goal to give the 4-3 final score. The Titans received goals from Logan Fredericks, Tom Godfrey, and Anthony Cusanelli, and stellar goaltending from Joe Licata. In their fourth and final game of the weekend, the Titans went up against a strong Pikes Peak Miner team, and kept pushing throughout the game only to fall 4-3 to the Miners on the help of a 54 save outing from Joe Licata. The Titans received goals from Logan Fredericks and two from Nikita Samoylov, as well as attention from many of the scouts in attendance at the event.
The U16 Titans came into the Troy event with a chance to clinch their spot in the playoffs and they responded all weekend. The opening game this past weekend featured a lot of goals and Tim Gelatt hits which suited the Titan faithful just fine. The Titans received goals from 6 different goal scorers against Western Michigan including Gelatt, Scott Huber, Mike Gelatt, 2 from Charlie Singerhouse, Erik Layton, and JT Tarantino. Mike Cernero stopped 15 shots in the win.
Game two was a matchup against the Canadian Pursuit of Excellence. A slow start led to a tight game throughout, but the Titans persevered through with two late third period goals to put the game away. Chris Wuestneck led the way with 2 goals, along with Anthony Cusanelli and Andrew Dicks picking up markers in support of Mike Cernero who made 16 saves.
Game three featured the Titans against one of their PHL rivals the San Jose Jr Sharks, and surely there was no love lost as the teams jawed at each other throughout and went back and forth all day long. The Sharks opened the scoring with a PP goal early, but early in the 2nd period, Anthony Cusanelli responded with a PP gaol of his own. Tim Gelatt scored with 4 tenths of a second left in the first half to put the Titans up going into the break. A spirited battle throughout was thrown backwards after a few questionable calls put the Titans down 5 on 3, and while they killed that off, a questionable offsides call led directly to a 2nd Sharks marker and the game tyer. The game looked certain to go down to the wire and potentially a shootout until a late call on New Jersey gave the Sharks a late PP. The Sharks quickly converted and the Titan late surge without the goaltender ended up just short in a highly controversial game. Mike Cernero stopped 16 shots in the defeat.
The Titans rebounded on Sunday with a strong effort against the St. Louis Selects. The Selects came out strong and had the Titans on their heels early, but Mike Cernero kept the Titans within range, despite being down 1-0 until Ryan Walker converted a deflection off of a rush to knot the game at 1. Scott Huber converted a pretty toe drag late in the period to put the Titans ahead to stay. The Titans dominated the 2nd half of the game putting countless pressure on the St. Louis goaltender and defense and the dam broke in the third with goals from Anthony Cusanelli and Matt Kidney on a sweet feed from Ryan Walker. Cernero recorded 20 saves in the win.
The Titans finally had a long awaited matchup of the "Titans" on getaway day in Troy with a 9:15 AM start against the California Titans. Down to 13 skaters with the school related departures of Brad Becker and Ryan Price, the Titans faced some serious adversity today as Matt Kidney left with a cut on his hand that required 5 stitches shortly into the first period. That was followed by an iffy 2 + 10 minute penalty on Tim Gelatt leaving the Titans with 11 skaters. Ryan Walker's two goals kept the Titans within striking range until Anthony Cusanelli tied the game up off a PP faceoff in the third period. The game went to a Shootout with Mike Cernero standing on his head in the shootout until TIm and Mike Gelatt were able to strike and get the Titans the shootout win.
The Titans will return to Troy over President's Day Weekend to battle in the NAPHL Playoffs while the U18 Titans will return to battle in the Silver Division. The U16 Titans will be grouped with the California Titans, Anaheim Jr Ducks, and Wenatchee Wild in their bracket while the other U16 Bracket will feature the Omaha AAA Lancers, San Jose Jr Sharks, Pittsburgh Viper Stars, and Texas Tornado with the top two teams in both brackets advancing to the Semi-Finals. The U18 Brackets are still TBD.