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Smits nets overtime winner vs. Tomahawks

MIDDLETOWN, N.J. – The Titans came out on top in a game that saw several equalizers and lead changes as they topped the Tomahawks in overtime, 5-4.

They headed into the extra period with 35 seconds of carryover power play time and didn’t waste much of it to take both points from the Tomahawks.

With a 4-on-3 man advantage, the Titans got the puck to Darren Brady and blasted a slap shot that splintered the stick of Roberts Smits. It was enough to change direction and sneak by the left arm of Johnstown goaltender Ryan Glander just 21 seconds in. Smits was credited with his third goal of the season while Brady and Adam Hascic got assists.

It was also the second power play goal on the game for the Titans as they finished 2-for-5 with the man advantage.

The Titans appeared to have come out firing on all cylinders when Bruno Birzitis found the net from a tough angle, just 16 seconds into the game. The early goal was Birzitis’ seventh goal of the season.

However, Casey Linkenheld had other ideas, as he put in two goals in the first period past Spencer Wright. The two goals resulted in the Titans trailing heading into the first intermission.

The Titans then equalized in the second period as Jesse Farabee was at the other end of pass from Keegan Miller. It was Farabee’s 13th goal of the year and was the only goal of the second period, setting up an exciting, but tension filled third period.

Ray Brice gave the Titans the lead back at 4:02 of the third period on a one-timer, while William Riedel scored his first Titans goal just over six minutes later at 10:16 with a wrister along boards.

However, the insurance goal the Titans thought they had wasn’t enough as Linkenheld got the hat trick from one knee. Then three minutes later, Luke Lynch tied the game after some tape-to-tape passing to setup the overtime.

New Jersey also outshot Johnstown 37-30. The Tomahawks also failed to convert on four power play attempts. Wright also stopped 26 shots while his counterpart Glander made 32 saves.

New Jersey also sits in second place in the NAHL East Division with 46 points with Johnstown sitting right behind in third with 45 points.

The Titans and Tomahawks will finish the weekend Saturday night with a 7:30 p.m. puck drop at Middletown Ice World.

For tickets, visit njtitansnahl.com or call 888-997-4625.