Titans thrash Tomahawks in Berry’s return

MIDDLETOWN, N.J. – Following Friday night’s loss, the Titans came out firing on all cylinders and then some, as they beat Johnstown 8-1.

Goaltender Jack Berry returned after missing 25 games after suffering lower body injury on Nov. 22, but it looked like he hadn’t missed any action since then. He made 41 saves, allowing the only goal.

On the offensive side, the Titans had scored a season-high eight goals in one game, including the franchise’s first hat trick in New Jersey. Bruno Birzitis scored his first of three goals just 46 seconds.

Then exactly 10 minutes later, Jesse Farabee added another tally to give the Titans a two-goal lead that they took into the first intermission. It was Farabee’s 15th goal of the season.

Joe Shuler wasted no time at the start of the second period as he flung a laser past Johnstown’s starting goaltender Andrew Lindgren. Roberts Smits then added his first of two tallies at 4:27 of the second period.

The Tomahawks’ lone goal came at 13:28  of the second period off the stick of Ryan Burr, but it was short lived as Keegan Miller scored his 17th goal of the season less than two minutes later.

Johnstown switched goaltenders, it still wasn’t enough to thwart the pair of the Titans’ Latvian-born forwards. Birzitis added his second goal at 5:13 of the third period while Smits tallied his second at 10:33.

With the final minutes ticking down, both were on the ice together, vying for the hat trick. Birzitis managed to connect with Smits and defenseman Tony DiVito with 48 seconds to go in regulation.

Birzitis now has 13 goals on the season and raised his team-leading point total to 37 points with an assist on Smits’ first goal. In addition, New Jersey natives Anthony Cusanelli and Mike Gelatt each had two assists on the game, respectively.