Michael Outzen scored two goals while Craig McCabe had a three-assist night in the Titans’ 4-2 win over the Minnesota Wilderness in day three of the North American Hockey League Showcase.
Friday night’s win proved to be a 180 degree turn from New Jersey’s loss to the Jackalopes the night before. Taking a one-goal lead into the third period, the Titans outshot the Wilderness 14-9 and scored an insurance goal to improve its record to 4-1-0. Head coach Craig Doremus said he was please with the turnaround effort.
“We knew it was an issue for us and we wanted to make sure we correct our mistakes rather than pass them by,” he said. “It was a step in the right direction. Anytime you can see that type of growth from a young team early in the year, it’s a positive.”
Josef Glamos opened the scoring at 9:59 of the first period when he corralled a bouncing puck at the hash marks and fired a shot past Wilderness goaltender Ryan Fanti.
Minnesota responded 1:56 into the second period when Matt Ladd was unable to control a wraparound attempt. The rebound slid to the far post, allowing Aaron Myers to slam home his fourth goal of the season. Outzen gave the Titans its lead back when he scored his first goal at 6:04. Mac Wiseman took a slap shot from the point, and Outzen was able to redirect the shot past Fanti for his first goal of the season.
The Wilderness tied the game a second time on the power play when Gino Lucia found a wide open Josh Fricks in the slot, as he fired a wrister past Ladd’s glove to make it a 2-2 game.
Zach Nazzarett scored what would prove to be the game-winner at 18:53 of the second. Craig McCabe sent an outlet pass to a streaking Nazzarett to create a two-on-one opportunity, and he ripped a shot low glove side for his second goal of the season.
While the Titans managed to outshoot the Wilderness in the final period, Minnesota had a few close calls in their search for the tying goal. Early in third, Fricks took the puck across the Titans’ crease and tried to get it around Ladd, but he stretched to his right and made a tremendous pad save. Nathan Poolman thought he evened the score on a fluttering shot from the point, but just missed as the puck slammed off the crossbar and stayed out.
After weathering away the Wilderness’ attack, the Titans padded its lead with Outzen’s second goal of the night. Off an offensive zone faceoff, Craig McCabe took a wrist shot from the point and set up a rebound for Outzen to bury. It was McCabe’s third assist of the game, and Doremus spoke about his performance following the win.
“Craig was solid as a rock today. He was rewarded for his strong play and smart decisions with three assists. He was also extremely physical and that is a big thing for us. Craig’s ability, maturity and experience are huge parts of our blue line,” Doremus said.
The Titans will play its fourth and final game of the NAHL showcase when they face the Amarillo Bulls at 1:00 p.m. EST. You can catch all of the action online at hockeytv.com.