Tommy Bannister had a five-point game (1 goal and 4 assists) to help lead the Titans to a 6 – 3 win over the visiting Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks for New Jersey’s sixth straight victory.
Don’t let the score fool you, however. This was a very close game throughout until the last two minutes left in the contest when the Titans scored two empty net goals to put the game out of reach.
With 2:03 remaining in the first period, Danbury’s Matthew Danziger was called for cross-checking to give the Titans the man advantage. As time was about to expire on the powerplay and in the period, Rocco Testa-Basi opened the scoring for the Titans.
Anthony Calafiore picked up loose puck at center ice along the near side boards and passed it over to Bannister on his left. Bannister gained the line and went wide. He tried to take a shot but had to skate behind the Danbury net. As Bannister tried a stuffer that saved by Hat Tricks goalie Josh Seeley, the rebound came out to Testa-Basi who tucked the puck into the net to give the Titans a 1 – 0 lead.
Blake Farrell doubled the Titans lead with 4:03 remaining in the second period. After Stephen Willey won the draw deep inside the Hat Tricks zone, the puck went back to Anthony Mollica at the far side point. Mollica immediately passed the biscuit to Eric Charpentier on his left. Charpentier took a shot that was blocked out front in the slot, but Farrell picked up the loose puck, turned and shot it past Seeley and into the net for his third goal of the season.
The teams then scored three goals in slightly over two minutes to make it a contest.
Just sixteen seconds after the Titans went up 2 – 0, Mike Salandra put Danbury on the board with 4: 47 seconds left in the second. After the ensuing faceoff, the Tricks dumped the puck into the offensive zone where it was picked up by Anthony Mollica behind his own net and he passed the biscuit up to Anthony Calafiore at the half wall. Calafiore went to make a touch pass, but it was immediately intercepted by Salandra who charged towards the net. As he went to the cage, Salandra cut across the goalmouth and deked around Titans netminder Ben Charette and deposited the puck into the open net to make it a 2 – 1 game.
Fifty-six seconds later, the Titans regained their two-goal lead on Brendan Dumas scored his seventh goal of the season. Calafiore picked up the loose puck at center ice and entered the offensive zone. As Calafiore gained the line, he passed the puck to Dumas on his left. Dumas took a wrist shot that went high over the stick side of Seeley. As the biscuit hit off the glass behind the net, Dumas went towards the net. The puck bounced towards the left of Seeley’s net where it came right out to Dumas who took a sharp angle shot that beat Seeley short side to make it 3 – 1.
Danbury’s Jazz Krivtsov scored thirty-four seconds later to cut the Titans lead in half. The Tricks’ Gabe Dombrowski picked up the loose puck at the bottom of his own near side circle and passed it up to Salandra breaking down the boards and into the offensive zone on a 3-on-1. As Salandra gained the line, he passed the puck to Krisvtsov on his left. Krivtsov took a wrist shot from the slot that went off Charette’s pads and trickled behind him and into the net for Krivtsov’s second goal of the season.
The Hat Tricks tied the game at three with 9:35 remaining in the contest. Danbury’s Ben Biester picked up the loose puck just outside the far side faceoff circle inside the Titans zone. Biester passed the biscuit down low towards the net to Peter Lychnikoff. Lychnikoff turned and took a shot that beat Charette short side for his second goal of the season.
Then with 3:40 remaining in the game, David Posma gave the Titans back the lead for good on his first goal of the season. Calafiore picked up the loose puck along the near side wall at center ice and passed it over to Bannister on his left. As Bannister gained the line, he went towards the bottom of the faceoff circle, stopped, pivoted and sent a pass back to Posma at the far side point. Posma stepped up and skated towards the faceoff dot and took a wrist shot that beat Seeley long side to make it 4 – 3.
Bannister and Dumas then scored two empty net goals to close out the scoring.
Charette stopped 27 of 30 shots in the win while Seeley turned aside 37 of 41. Click here for the box score.
The two teams meet again tonight for their second of two-game series at 7:00PM at the Middletown Sports Complex.