Isaiah Fox had two goals and two assists to lead the Maine Nordiques to a 6 – 1 win over the visiting New Jersey Titans in game one of this three game weekend series.
The Nordiques’ Matt Connor was called for tripping at 1:58 into the game to give the Titans the man advantage. With time winding down on the power player, Maine’s Stephan Owens blocked a shot in the slot and the puck went to his own near side half wall where he pitch forked the puck high off the boards and into center ice as it was picked up by Fox. Fox skated passed the Titans defenders and as he went to the net he cut across the goal mouth and beat a sprawled out Louden Hogg for a shorthanded goal to give the home team a 1 – 0 lead.
Maine would double its lead at 7:30 into the first period on Fox’s second goal of the game. With the Titans trying to break out of their zone, Fox intercepted a Titans outlet pass at the top of the near side faceoff circle. As he reached the dot, he passed it to Owens on his left in the slot. Owens immediately passed the puck to a breaking Jackson Vercellono on his left and Vercellono took a shot that was saved by Hogg, but Fox tapped the rebound into an empty net to make it 2 – 0 Nordiques.
With 5:57 remaining in the period, the Titans’ Noah Szretter was called for tripping to put the Nordiques on the power play. Sixteen seconds later Cooper Swift made it 3 – 0 Maine. With Fox at the top of the point setting up the play, he sent a pass down to Owens in the high slot. Owens passed it over to Cooper Swift on his right and the Nordiques defenseman one-timed it long side past Hogg for his first goal of the season.
Berk Berkeliev replaced Hogg between the pipes to start the second period.
At 6:21 into the second period, Owens would make it 4 – 0 Nordiques. As Owens brought the puck out of his own zone, he head manned the puck up to Caden Pattison. As Pattison gained the offensive zone, he was knocked off the puck by a Titans defender, but Owens picked up the loose biscuit and raced in all alone and beat Berkeliev for his second goal of the season.
Two minutes later the Titans’ Anthony Calafiore would break the shutout.
With defenseman Brad Zona pressuring in the offensive zone, Joe Schubert stripped the puck off a Nordiques defender at the far side half wall. Shubert made a centering pass out front to Calafiore who redirected past Maine’s Tyriq Outen and into the net to make it a 4 – 1 game.
Maine would add goals by James Philpott and Tyler Gaulin to close out the scoring for the Nordiques.
Berkelieve and Hogg combined to stop 33 of 39 shots while Outen turned aside 41 of 42. Click here for the box score.
“We quite simply play hard enough” stated Titans head coach Craig Doremus. “Maine is a very good hockey team and we have time and space all night. We played a little better in the second but over the course of 60 minutes we had too many soft plays and errors to overcome. When you give a team like that an opportunity, they are going to capitalize. They were by far the better team tonight. We have to regroup and be much better tomorrow” concluded Doremus.
The two teams will meet again for the second of this three-game series tonight at 7:05 PM.