Connor Pelc scored twice and Christian Stoever stopped all 29 shots he faced to help lead the Titans to a 3 – 0 over the visiting Maine Nordiques to force a game 5 of this best-of-five Robertson Cup East Division Semi-finals.
Game 5 will be played tomorrow night at 7:00 PM at the Androscoggin Bank Colisee.
Pelc opened the scoring with 3:27 remaining in the first period. After Stephen Willey brought the puck out from a scrum behind the Nordiques net, he sent it back to Cade Penney at the near side point. Penney threw the puck on net that hit the end wall and bounced out to Josh Rule who was to the left of Maine’s goaltender Tyriq Outen. Rule tried to stuff the biscuit past Outen at the near side post, but it would not go in then Pelc came in and jammed by Outen to make it a 1 – 0 game.
The Titans doubled their lead on Pelc’s second goal with 8:10 left in the second period. As Maine’s Caden Pattison was bringing the puck out of his own zone along the far side boards, he went to make a cross-ice pass up to Jack Strauss, but it was intercepted by David Posma at center ice. Posma immediately made a tap pass to Pelc. As he gained the line, Pelc cut across the top to the slot towards his right. As Pelc reached the faceoff circle, he took a wrist shot that beat Outen high, short side for his second goal of the playoffs.
As time was winding down in regulation with Outen pulled for the extra attacker, the Nordiques were blitzing in the Titans zone. After a scrum along the far side corner, Maine’s Tyler Gaulin came away with the puck and took a shot that was saved by Stoever but the rebound came out to Patrick Schmiedlin who took a wrist shot that Penney made a spectacular defensive play to stop the puck from going into the net and the biscuit rolled towards the near side corner where Anthony Calafiore sent it the length of the ice and into the open net to close out the scoring and make it 3 – 0 with fifty-five seconds remaining in the game.
Outen, who clearly has been Maine’s best player, had another strong performance between the pipes stopping 30 of 32 shots including several Grade A stops. Click here for the box score.
It was Stoever’s second NAHL career playoff shutout. His first? Ironically, it was back on April 21, 2018, against the New Jersey Titans during his rookie season with the then Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights. He stopped a whopping 51 shots in the Knights 1 – 0 win.
It was the Titans fourth playoff shutout in team history. They blanked the Jamestown Rebels 2 – 0 on April 19, 2019 (Brandon Perrone); Aston Rebels on May 5, 2017, 4 – 0 (Ryan Ferland) and on April 15, 2017, against the Johnstown Tomahawks 1 – 0 (Ferland).
Tomorrow night will be the fifth time in team history that the Titans have gone to a fifth and deciding game in which they possess a 1 – 3 record. They defeated Jamestown 3 – 2 on April 22, 2019 (in Jamestown). However, they lost to Johnstown 5 – 0 on May 5, 2019; Wilkes-Barres on April 22, 2018, by the score on 5 – 2 and then 6 – 2 to the Aston Rebels on May 7, 2017.
This will be the third time that the Titans have reached the elimination game in the Divisional Semi-finals. They are 1 – 1 having lost to Stoever’s Knights 5 – 2. However, they came back from a 0 – 2 deficit to win the next three games, including the deciding game in Jamestown, 3 – 2 back on April 22, 2019.
Should the Titans win game 5, the Robertson Cup’s East Division’s Finals will begin next week against tonight’s game 5 winner between the Tomahawks and Maryland Black Bears.