Chris Garbe scored a natural hat trick in the third period to lead the visiting New Jersey Titans to a 4 – 2 win over the Northeast Generals last night at the New England Sports Village in Attleboro, MA. The victory completed the Titans weekend sweep over Northeast.
By sweeping this weekend’s series, the Titans won games number 35 and 36, the most wins in a single regular season in the Titans five-year NAHL franchise history.
Northeast’s Ethan Destefani opened the scoring at 7:34 of the first period. Destefani won the draw deep inside the Titans zone and the puck went back to Tyler Cooper at the top of the near side faceoff circle. Cooper sent a cross-ice back to Michael Heneghan at the far side point. Heneghan made seem pass to Destefani out front in the slot and Destefani redirected the puck past Titans netminder Ryan McInchak to give the Generals a 1 – 0 lead.
Gavin Gulash tied the game at one with 1: 38 remaining in the first. After picking up the loose puck along the near side board’s Northeast’s Alexander Tertyshny was trying to bring the puck out of his own zone and he a made an errant cross-ice pass that when behind his teammate but it was picked up by Gulash at the top of the far side faceoff circle. Gulash made a backhanded pass to Jake LaRusso at the top of slot and LaRusso made an immediate return pass to Gulash who took a wrist shot that beat Generals goalie Connor Bradford through the five hole for his twelfth goal of the season.
After a scoreless second period, the Generals took a 2 – 1 lead just 2:14 into the third. Destefani picked up the loose biscuit in the Titans zone along the near side boards and cut towards the slot but was knocked off the puck by Gulash. As Destefani was falling the puck slid to Jonathan Young who made a backhanded pass to defenseman Adam Smith. As Smith reached the top of the near side faceoff he took a wrist shot that found its way through a screen and rolled under McInchak and into the net for his first goal of the season.
The game then was taken over by the Middlebury College commit Garbe.
Midway through the third, Garbe tied the game at two. As the Generals look to set up the play behind their own net, Smith brought the puck up through the slot, but he was stripped of the puck by Matthew Iasenza and Garbe picked it up. Garbe made a move out front and wristed the puck up high and past the blocker of Bradford for his nineteenth goal of the season.
With 7:22 remaining in the game, Cade Penney was called for tripping to give the Generals the man advantage. Fourteen seconds later Garbe gave the Titans the lead. After the ensuing draw deep inside the Titans zone, the Generals looked to set up and the puck went to Jonathan Young at the top of the slot. Young went to pass the puck but it was intercepted by Matt Cameron at the far side faceoff dot and Cameron immediately passed the puck up to Garbe who skated in all alone on Bradford and he wristed the puck past the Generals’ goalie’s glove hand to make it 3 – 2.
The shorthanded goal by Garbe was the Titans league high seventeenth shorthanded goal on the season, and it was a league best seventh shorthanded goal in a road game.
Garbe then completed the natural hat trick with two minutes left in the game.
As the Generals dumped the puck into the Titans zone, McInchak stopped the puck behind his own net and left it for Tyler Nasca. As Nasca brought the puck around the net he dropped it for Penney who wrapped the biscuit around the end boards and up to Gulash at his own near side blueline. Gulash passed the puck up to Garbe who skated along the boards and took a sharp angle shot from the outside of the faceoff circle that went through the five hole of Bradford to close out the scoring. It was Garbe’s twenty-first goal of the season, which makes him the third highest goal scorer on the team.
McInchak, who play very well, stopped 54 of 56 shots while Bradford turned aside 25 of 29. Click here for the box score.
“It was a big response by our club this weekend” stated Titans head coach Craig Doremus. “We got contributions up and down the lineup in big spots for each game. It was important for us to get back to in the win column this weekend. Our focus now shifts to a big weekend in Jamestown” concluded Doremus.
Next weekend the Titans travel to Jamestown to play the Rebels for two games at the Northwest Arena. It will close out the Titans seven game road trip.