Titans ready as first-round series shifts to Wilkes-Barre

The Titans practiced in Middletown on Thursday before heading out to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton today for a pair of road games against the Knights. With the East Division semifinal series tied at one game apiece, the Titans hope they can salvage two games on the road and close out the series.

Last week, the Titans jumped up to a 1-0 series lead when they defeated the Knights 5-2. The tables were turned the following night when the Knights took Game 2 with a 5-1 victory. Titans head coach Craig Doremus spoke about those two games and the closeness between the teams.

“I think it’s just two good teams battling hard head-to-head. We had a tight season series with the Knights and you see some similarities between the regular season and the playoffs,” he said. “Despite the scores in Game 1 and 2, I think the play was much tighter than indicated by the scoreboard in both games.”

After Thursday’s practice, some of the Titans players spoke about using this week to make adjustments and prepare for the next two road games. Defenseman Cam Kuhl talked about his team needing to play better in their own end than they did in Game 2.

“I think in the d-zone, it just requires a lot of effort and sacrifice. The offense is the fun part of the game and the defense is the hard work and determination to get the puck out of our zone,” he said.

Goaltender Brandon Perrone talked about the differences between this year’s playoffs and last year when they swept the Johnstown Tomahawks and took the Aston Rebels to a decisive Game 5.

“I think this series has been different with the way the games have ended; being blowouts in both games. Last year they were all, for the most part, pretty close,” Perrone said. He also spoke about the team bouncing back after his team’s 5-1 on Sunday. “We stayed positive when we came back to the rink on Tuesday. It was just a fresh start and we know what we have to do. We want to win two games so we don’t have to bring the series back here.”

In Game 2, Wade Novak hit the boards hard after losing his footing on a breakaway in the second period. He went to the locker room and did not return for the remainder of the game, but he did practice yesterday and said he will be ready to go for Game 3.

“I’ve been feeling a lot better this week and I’ll be 100 percent for the next two games,” Novak said.

Puck drop for Game 3 is tonight at 5 p.m. at Revolution Ice Centre, and Game 4 will start tomorrow at 6 p.m. If the Titans and Knights split the next two games, Game 5 will head back to Middletown this Sunday with a 5 p.m. start time. Doremus added his final thoughts on his young squad preparing for these next two road games.

“I think we’ve had a good week of preparation, and I think the guys are excited and eager to go down there and give it a good battle,” he said. “I’ve been happy with them thus far, I’m really curious to see how they respond now with a win and a loss under our belt. Let’s see what the mental fortitude is now as we go into Game 3, 4 and potentially Game 5.”

Photo credit: Chash Giovenco