The visiting Titans scored four unanswered first period goals en route to a 5 – 2 win over the Maine Nordiques last night to complete a weekend sweep between the teams. The Titans have won all six games against Maine this season so far by a combined score of 40 – 15.
Coleman Nee got the Titans on the board just 3:10 into the game. With play in the offensive zone, Nee had the puck in the far side corner and he passed it back to Colin Grable at the point. As Grable skated up the boards towards the corner, he looked left and made a centering pass out front to Nee who took a wrist shot that beat Nordiques goaltender Avery Sturtz short side for Nee’s third goal of the season.
Thirty-six seconds later Ryan Coughlin doubled the Titans lead. Tyler Sanborn picked up the loose puck at the top of his own slot and brought it towards the near side boards. As he reached the wall, he chipped the biscuit up to Michael Young who made a bounce pass off the boards to Coughlin. As Coughlin gained the line, he walked in all along on Sturtz, deked towards the goalie’s right and deposited the puck into the empty net for his seventh goal on the season (and second as a Titans with both of them this weekend).
Nick Ring made it 3 – 0 with 6:10 left in the first period. After Titans goalie Andrew Takacs made a save, the puck went into the far side corner where it was picked up by Coughlin who passed it to David Posma in the slot. Posma chipped the biscuit up to a breaking Ring. As Ring gained the line he went from his backhand to his forehand and slipped the puck past Sturtz for Ring’s sixth goal of the season.
Brendan Dumas scored with 1:56 remaining in the opening period to make it 4 – 0. After the Nordiques dumped the puck into the Titans zone, Takacs went behind the net to settle down the puck and he then made a pass up to Dumas at the top of his own far side blueline. Dumas passed it over to a breaking Tommy Bannister on his left. As Bannister started to skate through center ice, he made a return pass to Dumas on his right. As Dumas reached the top of the faceoff circle, he took a wrist shot that was saved by Sturtz but the rebound came right back to Dumas who took a shot that trickled by Sturtz and into the net for Dumas’ twelfth goal of the season.
Maine’s Zach Whitehead scored a shorthanded goal to make it 4 – 1 with three minutes remaining in the second period, and then Dumas scored his second goal of the game at 5:32 into the final period to make it 5 – 1 Titans. The Nordiques’ Tristan Fasig lit the lamp with under a minute to play in the game to close out the scoring and make it a 5 – 2 contest.
Takacs stopped 28 of 30 shots in the win while Sturtz and Gus Holt (who replaced Sturtz after the first period) combined to turn aside 42 of 47 shots. Click here for the box score.
The Titans enter the holiday break in sole possession of first place with a 22-9-0-1 record for 45 points. They are two points above the second place Maryland Black Bears who lost to the Johnstown Tomahawks last night 5 – 2. The Black Bears, however, do have two games in hand. Ironically, the Titans and Black Bears resume the second part of the season for a two-game series in Maryland beginning January 7, 2022.