The New Jersey Titans skated on home ice for the first time in 2024, hosting the first place Maine Nordiques. It was the third meeting between the teams, with Maine taking the first two games by scores of 6-2 and 5-2 in Lewiston. New Jersey met their expectations tonight, knocking off the Nordiques by a score of 5-2.
Despite limited the league’s highest scoring offense to only 4 shots on goal in the opening frame, the Titans went into the first intermission trailing 1-0.
The offense would kick into gear in the second period, with Nikita Meshcheryakov directing a puck off a Nordique defenseman’s skate and across the goal line to tie the game at 5:43. It was the 12th goal of the season for the Princeton commit, with Dom Rivelli picking up the only helper. New Jersey then extended their lead with a power play marker courtesy of Dominick Bartecko’s 12th of the season at 11:32. Rivelli and Matej Teply got the assists, and the Titans took a lead they would not relinquish. Kristophers Krumins, in his return to New Jersey after playing for Latvia at the World Juniors, extended the lead at 18:07 by putting home his own rebound in the slot. Logan Renkowski and Kai Elkie assisted on Krumins’ 8th of the season, and the Titans went into the second intermission up 3-1.
The Nordiques made it interesting, pulling within one with 4:00 to go. A failed coach’s challenge sent New Jersey to the penalty kill for the fifth time in the game, and Maine pulled the goalie for a 6 on 4 man advantage. The Titans would kill the penalty, and 14 seconds later, Meshcheryakov buried an empty netter to restore the two goal lead. With the goalie pulled again, Jack Hillier scored from his own zone to give New Jersey the 5-2 victory. Zak Brice assisted on Hillier’s goal for his 3rd assist in his last 5 games, setting a career high.
With the win, the Titans improve to 19-14-2 and move within 2 points of 3rd place in the division. New Jersey will try for the weekend sweep by hosting Maine again tomorrow, Saturday January 20th, at 7:00pm