Dominik Bartecko scored twice while Nikita Meshcheryakov and Riley Fitzgerald recorded a goal and assist apiece to propel the New Jersey Titans to a 4-2 victory over the Rochester Jr Americans on Saturday night at the Rochester Ice Center. Dylan Krick stopped 24 of 26 shots, and the Titans won back to back games for the first time since the first three games of the season.
The Titans got on the board first courtesy of a skillful individual effort from Nikita Meshcheryakov. The Muscovite, who scored 4 goals in two games last weekend, picked up a loose puck at his own blue line and motored up ice into the Rochester zone before driving across the goalmouth to give the Titans the lead with 5:55 to go in the first period. Jake Geraci and Kristofers Krumins got the assists on Meshcheryakov’s 6th of the season, and New Jersey went into the first intermission leading by one.
The Titans decided to increase the difficulty in the beginning of the second period, having to kill off two penalties in the first four minutes of the period. A Rochester penalty made it four on four, and as New Jersey’s penalty expired, Dominik Bartecko jumped on the ice behind the Jr Americans defense. A pinpoint pass from the newly acquired Riley Fitzgerald sent Bartecko on a breakaway, and he made no mistake, roofing the puck for his 4th of the season. Christian Wood picked up the secondary assist on the Titans’ power play goal. Rochester would get one back minutes later, on a puck that fluttered from behind the net, off Dylan Krick’s back, and across the goalline to make it 2-1 going into the second break.
Again with the teams playing 4 on 4, Dominik Bartecko scored the eventual game winning 4 minutes into the third, utilizing the open space in the Rochester zone to drive the net and go upstairs on the short side for his 2nd of the game. Meshcheryakov got the lone helper on Bartecko’s 5th of the season. The Jr Americans continued to push offensively, outshooting New Jersey 14 to 6 in the period, but the Titans’ defense held strong. With the goalie pulled, Logan Renkowski cleared the zone and dove out to swipe a pass to Riley Fitzgerald, tucking home the empty netter for his first goal in the NAHL. Dominick Rivelli picked up the other assist and now has a 5 game point streak. Rochester scored with 1:18 to go, but would get no closer, and New Jersey swept their first weekend since the opening weekend of the season.
With the victory, the Titans are back to .500, and with 16 points, jump over Rochester and Johnstown into 5th place in the East Division as they reach the quarter pole mark of the 2023-24 season with an 8-8-0 record. Up next is the Johnstown Tomahawks, making their first appearance at the Middletown Sports Complex this season. It will be a special weekend in New Jersey, as proceeds from games on Friday at 7:30pm and Saturday at 7:00pm will benefit local charity Breast Intentions, a crisis intervention 501(c)3 charity providing financial and emotional help to breast cancer patients and their families.
The New Jersey Titans, proud members of the North American Hockey League, are entering their ninth season at the Middletown Sports Complex in Middletown, NJ. The 2022 Robertson Cup National Champions, the Titans have made the playoffs in every season since their founding in 2015. Single game tickets are now on sale for the 2023-24 season home opener versus Rochester on September 29th. Season tickets are on sale here, and provide a discounted admission to attend every game at the Middletown Sports Complex. Follow the New Jersey Titans on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok today!