The North American Hockey League released the regular season schedule for the 2019-20 campaign on Tuesday. As the New Jersey Titans gear up for its fifth season in the Garden State, here is a closer look at some key dates and trends to watch out for.
Sept. 13-14 @ Maryland Black Bears: For the second consecutive year, the Titans will open up the regular season at Piney Orchard Arena to face the Black Bears. Last year, the Titans were the first-ever opponent of the newly-formed team and walked away with a two-game sweep.
Opening night will also kick off a six-game road trip that will last until October 5. After the two games in Maryland, the Titans will play two games against the Johnstown Tomahawks and two against the Northeast Generals. Considering the Titans went 12-16-2 on the road last season, this road trip could very well set the tone for the 2019-20 campaign.
Sept. 18-21 – NAHL Showcase: Following the two-game set in Maryland, the Titans will travel to Blaine, Minn. to participate in the North American Hockey League Showcase. They will look to improve from last season’s 2-2-0 record in the league-wide event, and the schedule for this year’s showcase is listed below (Eastern Standard Time):
Sept. 18 vs. Fairbank Ice Dogs – 10:00 a.m.
Sept. 19 @ Shreveport Mudbugs – 3:00 p.m.
Sept. 20 vs. Springfield Jr. Blues – 10:00 a.m.
Sept. 21 @ New Mexico Ice Wolves – 11:30 a.m.
Oct. 18-19 vs. Maine Nordiques: It will be a long wait for the Titans’ return to Middletown Sports Complex, but fans will get a first look at the Maine Nordiques, the newest addition to the North American Hockey League.
Dec. 14 vs. Johnstown Tomahawks: The Titans were one game away from advancing to the Robertson Cup Tournament in the 2019 postseason, but were ultimately knocked out by the Tomahawks in a five-game series. Dec. 14 will be the Tomahawks’ first visit to Middletown since their postseason matchup. That two-game series will also be the final two home games of the 2019 portion of the season.
Jan. 10-11 @ Maine Nordiques: The Titans will start the new year by visiting a new venue, as they travel to Lewiston, Maine for the first time to face Nordiques at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee. Their second and final regular season visit to Maine will take place on Jan. 31 and Feb. 1.
Apr. 3-4 vs. Maryland Black Bears: The Titans will close out the 2019-20 regular season with a pair of home games against the Black Bears. Having made the postseason in each of the first four seasons in Middletown, the Titans will hope to play more hockey after April 4.
Notes and trends:
Long stretches: The Titans will have a couple of lengthy stretches at home and on the road. Including the team’s 10-game road trip to start the season, the Titans will have three stretches of five or more consecutive road games, plus an additional four-game road trip.
On the flip side of the coin, the Titans will play five consecutive home games in four separate spans this season, along with an additional four-game homestand.
Less matchups against more teams: With the addition of the Maine Nordiques and the New Mexico Ice Wolves, the East and South Divisions will feature seven teams instead of six. This means the Titans will have a more spread-out schedule with more opponents from within the division. They will face the Jamestown Rebels, Black Bears, Tomahawks and Nordiques 10 times each while facing the Northeast Generals and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights eight times each in the regular season.
Home-heavy second half: If there is one positive thing about the 10-game road stretch to start the season, it’s the second half of the season providing the Titans with more home-ice advantage. The 2019 portion of the season will have 11 games in Middletown while the 2020 portion will feature 17. Of the final nine regular-season games, seven of them will be home.
To see the Titans’ full schedule for the 2019-20 season, you can click on the link below: