Shane Haviland scored two goals, Mitch Machlitt had a goal and an assist while Gavin Gulash and Jake LaRusso each had two assists to help lead the New Jersey Titans to a 5 – 2 win over the visiting Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights. It was the last regular season meeting between the teams. With the win, New Jersey defeated WBS seven out of eight times this year.
The win also increased the Titans lead in the East Division to five points.
Cam Gendron got the Titans on the board just fifty-eight seconds into the game. Gendron picked up the loose puck behind his own net and sent a pass up to Machlitt at center ice but the biscuit went by Machlitt and into the offensive zone where it was retrieved by Kyler Head. As Head reached the far side half wall, he sent a backhanded pass out front to Gendron who redirected the puck past Knights goalie Zach Stejskal to give the Titans an early 1 – 0 lead.
A minute and sixteen seconds later Haviland would score his first goal of the evening. As Jake LaRusso gained the line along the near side boards, he passed the puck to Gavin Gulash in front of him. Gulash immediately sent a cross-ice pass to Brad Zona who took a shot that went wide of the net but the puck bounced off the end boards and came right out to Haviland in the slot and Haviland buried it past Stejskal to give the Titans a 2 – 0 lead.
Haviland made it 3 – 0 at 6:46 into the second period. After the Knights dumped the puck into the Titans zone for a line change, the puck was picked up by Zona who passed it to Machlitt at center ice. Machlitt made a bounce pass off the far side boards to LaRusso. As LaRusso skated to the top of the faceoff circle, he made a centering pass out front to Haviland who one-timed it past Stejskal for eighth goal of the season.
Michael Outzen’s goal with 9:04 left in the second period gave the Titans a 4 – 0 lead. After Ole Andersen won a scrum in his own far side corner, he brought the puck up along the boards and made a cross-ice pass to Chris Garbe. As Garbe entered the Knights zone, he stopped, reversed and sent a puck in on net that was blocked out front. Nick DeSantis picked up the loose puck and took a shot from his knees that was saved by Stejskal, but the rebound came right to Outzen who buried the puck into the open net for his nineteenth goal of the season.
The Knights tried a comeback by scoring two unanswered goals early in the third period.
Just thirteen seconds into the final period, Lincoln Hatten scored his team high twenty-seventh goal of the season. After Tyrone Bronte won the draw deep inside the Titans zone, he passed the puck to Hatten to his left. Hatten took a slap shot that went off Titans goalie Ryan McInchak’s pad and into the net to make it a 4 – 1 game.
Playing four-on-four hockey, the Knights’ Anthony Mastromonica’s unassisted goal at 7:36 into the third period cut the Titans lead in half but it wasn’t enough as Machlitt added an empty net goal with 1:44 left in the game to close out the scoring.
McInchak, who won his fourth consecutive game, stopped 32 of 34 shots while Stejskal turned aside 43 of 47. Click here for the box score.
The Titans now will play the Maine Nordiques for a two-game series beginning tomorrow night at the Middletown Sports Complex.