Chris Carroll scored with 1:18 remaining in overtime to give the visiting Titans a 7 – 6 over the Maine Nordiques to compete the weekend sweep. It was the second game in as many days that the Red Buckets needed the extra period to pick up the two points.
The win was New Jersey’s ninth out of ten contests this season over Maine. The victory, coupled with second place Maryland’s shootout loss to Jamestown, increases the Titans point lead in the divisional standings to eleven.
Levente Keresztes had four points (3 goals and an assist) and Michael Young had three (1 goal and 2 assists) to help lead the way to victory.
Maine led by two after the first period. Ignat Belov scored a powerplay goal on a deflected shot with 7:30 left in the period to give the Nordiques a 1 – 0 lead, and then Reese Farrell scored on a turnover by Titans’ goalie Andrew Takacs with 4:17 remaining to double the Nordiques lead.
The teams then combined to score six, second period goals starting with Ryan Coughlin at just 1:19 to put the Titans on the board. With play in the offensive zone, Young intercepted a Maine pass in the Nordiques near side corner. As Young was being checked at the end wall, he made a pass to Coughlin in the slot, and Coughlin deked Maine’s goaltender Gus Holt and backhanded the puck up high and into the back of the net for his eleventh goal of the season.
Keresztes scored his first goal of the game at 4:08 to tie the game at two. Carroll brought the puck up the near side boards and into the offensive zone. As he gained the line, he passed it to Young on his left. As Young went towards the net, he made a backhanded, backdoor pass to Keresztes in the slot and Keresztes redirected the puck past Holt to even the score.
Maine then took a commanding 5 – 2 lead. The Nordiques’ regained the lead on Filip Wiberg’s back door goal at the 6:25 mark for his sixth goal of the season. Three minutes later Aidan Connolly scored on a breakaway to make it a 4 – 2 game. Just eight seconds later, the Nordiques went up 5 – 2 when Wiberg scored on a one-timer after receiving a pass from Brendan Gibbons, who had just intercepted another outlet pass from Takacs.
Takacs was replaced by Ben Charette.
Keresztes made it 5 – 3 with 5:40 remaining in the middle stanza. After Anthony Calafiore won the draw deep inside the Nordiques zone, the puck went back to Keresztes at the top of the near side faceoff circle. Keresztes took a wrist shot that founds its way through a maze and past Holt high blocker side to cut the deficit to two.
Maine regained their three goal lead midway through the third period when Belov scored his second powerplay goal of the night on a rebound to make it a 6 – 3 game.
The Titans then clawed their way back into the contest by scoring three unanswered goals in four minutes to tie even the game.
With 8:14 left in the game, Wiberg was called for slashing to give the Titans the man advantage. Less than a minute later, Calafiore scored his second powerplay goal of the weekend. Billy Feczko started the play inside the Nordiques zone below the far side half wall. Feczko started to skate back up along the boards and passed it to Jack Karlsson at the near side point. As Karlsson pinched towards the top of the slot, he passed it down low to Calafiore, who was to the left of Holt, and Calafiore redirected the puck into the net to make it 6 – 4.
Young scored his second goal of the weekend just thirty-five seconds later to bring the Titans within one. After Holt made a nice blocker save on Coughlin, the rebound went to near side boards where it was picked up by Nick Ring. Ring sent a cross-ice pass to Tyler Sanborn at the top of the far side faceoff circle and Sanborn made a deliberate low, line shot in the slot that Young redirected past Holt from out front for his tenth goal against the Nordiques this season.
Keresztes completed his hat trick with 3:16 remaining in the game to even the score at six. As Sanborn gained the Nordiques line, he passed the puck to Keresztes at the far side half wall on his right. Keresztes skated back up the boards and circle to the near side point and passed the puck over to Sanborn at the far side point. Sanborn passed it down low to David Posma, who was to the left of Holt. Posma made a backhanded pass through the slot to Keresztes who buried the puck past Holt and into the net to send the game into overtime.
With the game now in the extra period and with a little more than a minute remaining in overtime, Keresztes picked up the loose puck in his own slot and made a cross-ice pass to Carroll in the neutral zone. As Carroll gained the line, he passed it back to Keresztes who went towards the net. As Keresztes reached the goalmouth, he sent a return pass to Carroll on his right and Carroll redirected the puck past Holt and into the net to complete the improbable comeback to win the game.
Takacs and Charette combined to save 20 of 26 shots while Holt turned aside 43 of 50. Click here for the box score.
“Obviously not the way you design it go but four points on the road is critical for us” said Titans head coach Craig Doremus. “We battled through some adversity and challenges and found a way to win two games. I am extremely proud of the guys raising to the challenge and finding a way to win despite not having their best games. Our resolve and refuse to lose mentality were impressive to be a part of. We must now shift our focus to preparing for a big game Wednesday night at Danbury” concluded Doremus.
The Titans now will play three games three games in the next seven days beginning on Wednesday at 7:00PM as they travel to Danbury Ice Arena to take on the Jr. Hat Tricks.