Maine’s Cannon Green scored two goals while Isaiah Fox and Noah Kane each had a goal and an assist to lead the Nordiques to a 7 – 2 win over the visiting New Jersey Titans. It was the Titans first game in twenty days due to the holiday break and their worst defeat this season.
Kane got the Nordiques on the board first with 5:21 left in the opening period. After Timmy Kent won the draw at the Titans far side faceoff circle, the puck went back to Kane who took a snap shot that founds its way through traffic and off the far side post and past Titans goaltender Patrick Pugliese to give the Nordiques a 1 – 0 lead.
Mac Wiseman was called for holding at 5:17 into the second period to give the Nordiques the man advantage. Seven seconds later the home team doubled their lead. Kent won the ensuing draw and the puck went right back to Ignat Belov at the top of the circle. Belov sent it back to the top of the point to Fox who passed the biscuit to Casper Söderling on his right. Söderling took a shot that was tipped by Green out front and past Pugliese to make it 2 – 0.
Maine took a 3 – 0 just twenty-one seconds later after Green’s first goal of the game. Kyler Head knocked down a Maine’s outlet pass at the half wall, but as he tried to pass it down low it was intercepted by Fox who passed it up to Kevin Pitts along the near side boards. Pitts skated down the ice and walked in all alone on Pugliese and beat the Titans netminder long side for his eleventh goal of the season.
The Nordiques’ Jack Strauss was called for holding with 6:41 remaining in the second period to give the Titans the man advantage. Mitch Machlitt brought the puck into the offensive zone, but Maine’s Ethan Prout knocked the puck off his stick, and the loose biscuit was picked up by Matt Cameron in the high slot. Cameron skated towards the net and took a shot that was saved by Maine’s goaltender Wesley Mankowski but Machlitt knocked in the rebound to put the Titans on the board and make a 3 – 1 game.
The Titans started the third period on the power play and sought to make it a one goal game. Looking to set up the play behind his own net, Ole Andersen skated through the goal mouth and was stripped off the puck by Fox who passed back to Pitts at the top of the slot. Pitts passed it back to Fox who redirected the puck through Pugliese’s five hole to give Maine a 4 – 1 lead.
Nick DeSantis cut the Titans deficit in half at 5:11 into the third. After Mankowski stopped the puck and left it to the right of his cage for Luke Anntonacci, the Nordiques defenseman look to set up the play and skated behind his own net and into the near side corner. Antonacci went to pass the puck up to Belov but he was knocked off the biscuit by Josef Glamos and the puck went back to Brad Zona at the near side point. Zona took a clapper that DeSantis tipped out front and past Mankowski to make it a 4 – 2 game.
Kyle Jeffers and Matthew Iasenza were called for slashing and tripping respectively to give the Nordiques a five-on-three-man advantage. After Kent won the draw the puck went back to Cole Ouellette at the far side point. As Quellette looked to set up, he sent a pass over to Kane on his right. After a couple of return passes, Kane sent the puck back to Quellette who took a snapshot that found its way through a screen and past Pugliese to give the Nordiques a three goal lead at 8:31 of the final period.
Green and Caden Pattison added insurance goals to close out the scoring and give the Nordiques the 7 – 2 victory.
Pugliese, who had to make several key saves to keep the Titans in the game, stopped 31 of 38 shots while Mankowski turned aside 34 of 36. Click here for the box score.
With the Titans loss and the Johnstown Tomahawks 7 – 0 win over the Jamestown Rebels, New Jersey’s lead over the Tomahawks in the East Division is down to one point, although the Titans have five games in hand.
The Titans will look to avoid their first sweep of the season as they play the Nordiques again tonight at 7:00 PM.