Egan Schmitt scored midway through overtime to give the visiting Johnstown Tomahawks a 4 – 3 win over the Titans last night to snap the Red Buckets eight game winning streak. The Titans trailed 3 – 1 with 15 minutes remaining in the third period.
Schmitt opened the scoring for the Tomahawks at 6:30 into the first period. With play in the Titans zone, Rocco Testa-Basi cleared the puck into the neutral zone where it was picked up by Johnstown’s Cedrick Theodore at this own near side blueline, and he sent a bounce pass off the wall and back into the Titans zone where it was picked up by Owen Luik. As Luik went to make a cross-ice pass to Scott Cremen but Johnstown’s Stephen Kyrkostas knocked down the puck in the slot and made a backhanded pass to a trailing Schmitt who took a wrist shot that beat Titans netminder Andrew Takacs high glove side to make it a 1 – 0 game.
Johnstown doubled their lead with 1:13 remaining in the opening period. Jack Karlsson picked up the rolling puck at the bottom of his own far side faceoff circle and he went to pass it up to Testa-Basi but it was intercepted by the Tomahawks’ Jake Black just inside the Titans zone. Black went towards the net, made a nice toe drag around Tyler Sanborn and took a wrist shot that beat Takacs high glove side for Black’s league high 40th goal of the season.
Nick Ring cut the Titans deficit in half with 6:38 into the second period. As the Tomahawks went to clear the puck out of their zone, it was intercepted by Anthony Mollica just outside the Johnstown blueline and he made a cross ice pass to Luik. As Luik gained the line up along the near side boards, he passed the puck up to Ring on his right. As Ring skated towards the bottom of the faceoff dot, he cut back towards the middle of the ice. As he reached the slot, he took a wrist shot that beat Johnstown’s fallen netminder Matthew O’Donnell for Ring’s eighth goal of the season.
The Tomahawks regained their lead just 2:03 into the third period. Johnstown’s Cole Bianchin picked up the loose puck in his own slot and made an outlet pass up to a breaking Black along the far side boards. As Black reached the top of the faceoff circle, he threaded a pass through the slot to Braedon Ford who redirected the puck past Takacs for Ford’s tenth goal of the season.
At 4:57 of the final period, the Titans mounted their comeback. Eric Charpentier kept the puck in the offensive zone at the top of the far side faceoff circle where the loose puck was picked up by Chris Carroll. Carroll sent it down low to Michael Young, who was behind and to the left of O’Donnell. Young made a pass out front that hit the back of a Johnstown’s defender’s skate and Carroll picked up the loose puck on the doorstep and beat O’Donnell to make it a 3 – 2 game.
With 6:53 left in regulation, Brendan Dumas was called for slashing to give the Tomahawks the man advantage. A minute and nineteen seconds later, the contest was tied. After Takacs made a save, the rebound went into the far side corner where it was picked up by Luik who dumped the puck into the offensive zone. Ryan Coughlin was able to time his entry into the Johnstown’s zone and he picked up Luik’s clear along the half wall. Coughlin went behind the Tomahawks net and made a centering pass out front to Young who redirected the puck past O’Donnell long side to even the score at three and ultimately send the game into the extra period.
With the game in overtime and the Titans pressuring in the Tomahawks zone, Mollica took a shot that was saved by O’Donnell and the rebound came right out to Schmitt. As Schmitt skated towards center ice, he made a backhand pass to Mack Oliphant on his left. As Oliphant gained the offensive zone along the near side boards, he cut towards the center and passed it to Schmitt in the high slot and Schmitt wristed the puck past Takacs long side for the game winning goal.
Takacs stopped 18 of 22 shots while O’Donnell – who played extremely well throughout the entire game – turned aside 34 of 37. Click here for the box score.
The teams will complete their two-game series tonight at 7:00PM. All fans will receive a free Titans team photo.