New Jersey Takes Game 1 in Overtime 3-2

Apr 12, 2024

Logan Renkowski was the hero for the New Jersey Titans as they overcame a 2-0 deficit to take Game 1 of the East Division Quarterfinals over the Johnstown Tomahawks by a score of 3-2 on Friday night at the 1st Summit Arena at the Cambria County War Memorial.

The series marks the fourth playoff meeting between New Jersey and Johnstown.  The Tomahawks swept the Titans 3-0 in 2016, New Jersey’s first season in the league.  The Titans returned the favor with a sweep of their own the next season.  Then, in 2019, New Jersey took Johnstown to the brink before the Tomahawks won Game 5 of the East Division Finals.  Winning the season series 5-3 and holding a 3-1 record over New Jersey at home, the Tomahawks came out quickly, fueled by a crowd of over 2000 fans.  At one point, the Titans were outshot 12-2, and finally conceded a goal with under a minute to play, falling behind 1-0 to enter the first intermission.

New Jersey came out for the second period with a newfound resolve, but Johnstown’s goaltender continued to stand tall.  They would fall behind 2-0 halfway through the period, despite outshooting Johnstown in the period.  Finally, it was Ryan Novo who put away a Matej Teply rebound to get the Titans on the board.  It was the first playoff goal for the West Point commit, who did not record a point in three playoff games last season.  Shortly after the goal, New Jersey goaltender Zak Brice was forced out of the game after being run over in the crease.  A major for charging was called on the play, but the Titans were also assessed a roughing minor in the resulting skirmish while Brice was on the ice.

Dylan Krick came on to replace Brice, making his playoff debut.  After skating four a side for the full two minutes, New Jersey found themselves on a major power play that would carry over into the third period.  They would not generate much offense, but with 1.2 seconds remaining in the period, Ryan Friedman fired home a shot from the high slot to draw the Titans even.  Teply and Dominick Rivelli provided the helpers on the North Merrick, New York native’s first of the postseason.  New Jersey outshot Johnstown 17-11 in the frame, setting the stage for a decisive third period.

However, it was only the goaltenders who were decisive in the third period, with New Jersey again outshooting the Tomahawks 9-7 but neither team able to find the back of the net.  Switching sides after the third intermission, the Titans were able to control the majority of play.  Picking up a Reece Brednich pass out of the zone, Logan Renkowski crossed the Johnstown blue line, and using a defenseman as a screen, wired a shot low to the glove side to complete the comeback and give New Jersey the 1-0 series lead.  

Dylan Krick recorded his first playoff victory, stopping all 12 shots he faced in 27:51 of ice time.  Now, the teams must recover as much as possible before facing off again tomorrow, Saturday, April 12th, for a 7:00pm faceoff at the 1st Summit Arena at the Cambria County War Memorial.  Titans fans are encouraged to watch the game on NAtv by selected the “Away” feed as New Jersey looks to advance in the playoffs for the first time since their 2022 Robertson Cup Championship.