Zak Brice stopped all 35 shots he faced, and Brendan Dumas scored a pair of goals to lead the Titans to a 4 – 0 win over the visiting Johnstown Tomahawks in game one of this two-game series.
Johnstown entered this series winning nine out of their past ten games and took that momentum into the start of this game having outshot the Red Buckets 20 to 7 but they were unable to convert into goals because Brice stood on his head having to make several Grade A saves throughout, including a couple of breakaways, even as the opening period was ending.
After a scoreless first period, Dumas, who was playing in his 100th NAHL regular season, opened the scoring with 3:52 remaining in the middle stanza. Joe Harney kept the puck in the offensive zone at the far side point and passed it to Ben Muthersbaugh on his left. Muthersbaugh sent the puck up to Brady Yurchuk in the slot who immediately made a touch pass to Dumas on his right, and Dumas took a shot that went over Johnstown’s fallen netminder Alec Rajalin-Scharp and into the back to the net to give the Titans a 1 – 0 lead.
Like Dumas, defenseman Eric Charpentier also was playing in his 100th NAHL regular season game.
The roles reversed in the third period when the Titans outshot the Tomahawks 26 to 3 but they were able to convert on three of their chances to put the game out of reach.
Owen Luik doubled the Titans lead at 6;11 into the final period. After Luik took a sharp angle shot from the far side boards, it was blocked out front and the rebound was picked up by Anthony Calafiore at the half wall. Calafiore made a perfect pass to Luik in the slot and the defenseman took a one-timer that went through the five hole of Rajalin-Scharp and into the net for Luik’s third goal of the season.
A minute and seven seconds later Ryan Novo made it 3 – 0. With play in the Titans zone, the puck went off a Tomahawks player and it was picked up by Novo at the top of the point. As Novo crossed through center ice, he made a cross-ice pass to Marcus Sang. As Sang gained the line and entered the offensive zone on a two-on-one with Novo, Sang made a return pass to a speedy Novo in the slot and the Army commit redirect the biscuit past Rajalin-Scharp for Novo’s sixth goal of the season.
Dumas scored his second of the game, a powerplay goal, with 2:24 remaining in the game to close out the scoring and make it 4 – 0.
Rajalin-Scharp turned aside 38 of 42 shots in defeat. Click here for the complete box score.
The win was the Titans first regular season shutout since March 5, 2022 when Andrew Takacs stopped 29 shots to defeat the then Jamestown Rebels 1 – 0. Takacs’ last shutout as a Titan was on May 24, 2022 when he turned aside 31 shots as the Red Buckets won 3 – 0 to win the NAHL Robertson Cup national championship.
Game two of this two-game series will be tonight at 7:00PM.