Dominik Bartecko and Riley Fitzgerald each had a goal and two assists, while Johnny McMahon found the back of the net twice to lead New Jersey over the Danbury Jr Hat Tricks Saturday night at the Middletown Sports Complex.
In what’s become a worrying trend, the Titans again surrendered the first goal of the game, just 2:10 into the first period. Ethan Wongus responded for the Titans on a one-timer from Nikita Meshcheryakov to draw the Titans level at 6:12. Dominik Bartecko picked up the other assist on Wongus’s team leading 11th of the season, and Meshcheryakov’s assist stretched his point streak to five straight games. McMahon would then put the Titans on top with a power play goal at 11:34, with Ryan Friedman and Fitzgerald getting the helpers. The Jr Hat Tricks would tie the game just 22 seconds later to draw even, until New Jersey was awarded a penalty shot when a Danbury defenseman covered the puck in the crease. Dominik Bartecko was selected to take the shot, and he slid the puck home for his 6th of the year. Then, it was New Jersey’s turn to strike again, with Kai Elkie’s first goal in the NAHL following 12 seconds after the penalty shot, assisted by Ryan Novo and Cooper Eberhardt to send the Titans into the first intermission with a 4-2 lead.
New Jersey’s offense kept the pressure on in the second period, and they were rewarded when Ryan Friedman banged home his 3rd goal of the season, assisted by Jack Hillier and Leo Schwartz. Matej Teply added a power play tally at 9:50, with Bartecko and Meshcheryakov getting the apples on Teply’s 2nd goal of the year. That goal would chase Danbury’s starter from the net, but the Titans added one more before the period expired when McMahon scored his second of the game and 7th of the season, assisted by Novo and Fitzgerald, to give New Jersey a 7-2 lead through 40 minutes of play.
Aiming to see the game out and return to a .500 record, the Titans tried to emphasize puck possession to keep the clock moving. Danbury would get one back to make it 7-3, but Riley Fitzgerald added the exclamation mark with his 2nd of the year at 18:35 of the third. Simon Becar and Ethan Wongus picked up helpers on the final goal of the game, and the Titans skated away with a 8-3 victory.
With the win, New Jersey moves up into 4th place in the division, with a record of 10-10-0. Next weekend, they will drive down to the Old Line State to face the 1st place Maryland Black Bears for the 3rd and 4th matchups of the year between the two teams. The Black Bears won the first two games in Middletown earlier in the season, by scores of 3-2 and 3-0. Both games will be shown live on NAHLtv.