Despite overcoming a two-goal deficit, the Titans fell to the visiting Maine Nordiques last night 5 – 3 in game one of this two-game weekend series.
The night did not start well for Titans netminder Jacob Torgner. Maine’s Sterling Walters picked up the loose puck at the top of his own blueline and passed it to Brendan Kimball at far side center ice. Kimball simply rimmed the puck around the boards and as Torgner went to play the puck behind his own net, the biscuit took a crazy bounce and went directly to the slot where Kellen Murphy deposited the puck into the empty cage to give the Nordiques a 1 – 0 just sixty-four seconds into the game.
Thirty-one seconds later the contest was tied. Brendan Dumas picked up the loose puck at the end wall in the Nordiques zone. As he went around the Maine net towards the left of Nordiques goalie Thomas Heaney, Dumas went from his backhand, turned around and took a shot that was saved by Heaney but Levente Keresztes picked up the loose puck and send a pass through the goalmouth to Marcus Sang who slid the puck past an outstretched Heaney and into the cage for Sang’s first goal of the season.
The Nordiques started the second period on the powerplay when Coleman Nee was accessed a double roughing penalty with 1:04 remaining in the first. Forty-four seconds into the middle stanza, Kimball gave the visitors their second lead of the night. Maine’s Nicholas Bernardo started the play at the top of the far side faceoff circle and skated slowly back towards the top of the point and made a cross-ice pass to Patrick Schmiedlin at the near side point. Schmiedlin started to skate towards the far side boards and made a bounce pass off the boards to Henrik Hallberg who made a return to Schmiedlin at the top of the circle. As Schmiedlin started to skate along the boards, he took a shot from the faceoff dot and that went through the five hole of Torgner and rolled into the net to make it a 2 – 1 game.
Forty-seven seconds later, Kimball doubled the Nordiques lead. After Maine’s Laurent Trepanier won the draw deep inside the Titans zone, the puck went back to the nearside point to John-Paul Steele who made a cross-ice pass to David Helledy. Helledy took a shot from the top of the point that went over the net but hit the back of the top part of the net and bounced off Torgner’s back and into the cage to make it 3 – 1 Maine.
Kersztes cut the Titans deficit in half a minute and thirteen seconds after Helledy’s goal. Ryan Novo picked up the loose puck behind the Nordiques net and skated back towards the near side point. As Novo was brilliantly shielding the puck from a Maine defender and heading to the point, he made a backhanded pass to Eric Charpentier at the far side point. The Dartmouth commit took a low-line shot that was saved by Heaney but the rebound came right out to Kersztes on the doorstep and the Budapest, Hungary native jammed home the biscuit into the back of the net for his second goal of the season.
The Titans then tied the game at three at 4:43 into the third period. After Kersztes won the draw deep inside the Nordiques zone, the puck went back to Ben Muthersbaugh who immediately sent the biscuit back to Tyler Sanborn at the point. Sanborn passed it up to Kersztes at the faceoff dot and Kersztes took a snapshot that was redirected out front by Ben Yurchuk and past Heaney for Yurchuk’s second goal of the season.
With 7:24 remaining in the game, the Nordiques regained the lead for good on Bernardo’s first goal of the season. Bernardo picked up the loose puck at center ice and skated into the offensive zone. As Bernardo gained the line, he took a wrist shot that beat Torgner long side to give Maine a 4 – 3 lead.
Maine’s Filip Wiberg scored an empty net goal with twenty-seven seconds remaining in the game to close out the scoring.
Torgner stopped 19 of 23 shots while Heaney turned aside 41 of 44 in the win. Click here for the complete box score.
The teams will play game two of this two-game series tonight at 7:00PM at the Middletown Sports Complex.