Occasionally during the season, a team needs to have its goalie steal a game for you. And last night Titans goaltender Berk Berkeliev did just that. Not that the Titans played bad but Berkeliev was that good. No. He was sensational!
The Titans rode the coattails of Berkeliev’s 47 save performance en route to a 4 – 2 win over the visiting Johnstown Tomahawks. Levente Keresztes and Zach Nazzarett each had a goal and an assist for the Red Buckets.
Berkeliev had to make several grade A saves throughout but none better than one midway through the second period (see game highlights below). However, Berkeliev had a forgettable start to the game.
Just 4:39 into the opening period, Johnstown’s Andrew Murphy was called for holding to give the Titans the man advantage. Forty-eight seconds later, Matt McQuade gave the Tomahawks a 1 – 0 on a goal that Berkeliev wished he had back. Anyone who has played between the pipes has allow a goal like this. As the Tomahawks Reed Stark picked up the loose puck in his own zone, he sent an outlet pass to McQuade. As he gained the line, McQuade took a wrist shot that Berkeliev made a blocker save but the puck went up high and Berkeliev lost sight of it and the puck dropped behind him and McQuade tapped in his own rebound for his second goal of the season.
Fifteen seconds later Keresztes knotted the score. With Nazzarett battling for the puck in Johnstown’s near side corner, he sent it back to the point to Anthony Mollica who made a cross-ice pass to Keresztes at the top of the circle. Keresztes skated to the faceoff dot and took a wrist shot that beat Tomahawks goalie Sam Evola long side for his third goal of the season.
Midway through the middle stanza Berkeliev made a scorpion like save on Stark. It was a save for the ages and then twenty-five seconds the Titans took the lead.
With the Titans pressing in the offensive zone, Keresztes lobbed the puck up high towards the net as Johnstown’ Ceden Lewandowski gloved down the puck but it trickled off his glove and back to Keresztes at the point. Keresztes passed it over to Nazzarett on his left and Nazzarett took a wrist shot that beat Evola to make it a 2 – 1 game.
Johnstown tied the game at two just 3:45 into the third period on McQuade’s second goal of the game. McQuade picked up the loose puck at the Titans near side faceoff dot and passed it over to Lewandowski, who made a return pass to McQuade at the top of the slot. McQuade took a wrist shot that found its way through a screen and beat Berkeliev high stick side.
A minute and fifteen seconds later, Matthew Iasenza, who was named an alternate captain earlier in the day, gave the Titans the lead for good. As Johnstown’s Jared Gerger went to take a wrist shot at the top of the slot, Brad Zona, who himself was named an alternate captain earlier, poke check the puck to the near side boards, and he passed it up to the speedy Iasenza who skated along the boards and into the offensive zone. As he started to circle behind the Tomahawks net, Iasenza took a sharp angle shot that beat Evola short side for his fourth goal of the season.
Nick Seitz scored an empty net goal with 1:18 remaining in regulation to close out the scoring.
Evola stopped 25 of 29 shots. Click here for the box score.
The two teams will close out their two-game series tonight at 7:00 PM at the Middletown Sports Complex.