The Titans scored two powerplay goals and goaltender Patrick Pugliese stopped 28 of 29 shots to propel New Jersey to a 3 – 1 win over the Shreveport Mudbugs. The Titans are off to a 4 – 0 start on the 2019-20 season.
The Mudbugs would take a 1 – 0 lead at 8:21 into the opening period. Shreveport’s Carson Nichols won the draw deep inside the Titans zone. Before being checked by a Titans defender, Nichols sent the puck behind Pugliese where it was retrieved by Warren Natyshak. The Mudbugs forward would skate to Pugliese’s right and take a sharp angle shot that beat Pugliese top self.
Little over a minute later, Shreveport’s Jacob Smith was called for charging to give the Titans the man advantage. Michael Outzen would intercept a Mudbugs clearing pass at the far side boards and send a pass to Kyler Head at the top of slot. Head would redirect the shot, but it was blocked a Mudbugs defender and the puck caromed to the near side corner where it was picked up by Matt Cameron who sent a pass back to Wiseman at the point. Wiseman took a shot that found its way through a maze and past Shreveport’s Richie Parent to tie the game at one with 9:33 left in the first.
It was the first powerplay goal that the Mudbugs had given up this season.
With 2:41 left in the first, Smith was called for holding to put the Titans back on the powerplay. Twenty-five seconds later the reigning East Division player of the week Mitch Machlitt would score the eventual game winner.
After Parent made a save off the draw, the rebound came out to Machlitt who wrapped the puck around the end board where it was picked up by Outzen along the near side boards. As Outzen when to pass the puck out front it stolen off his stick by Mudbugs defenseman Ryan Dickinson. Cameron then lifted Dickinson’s stick and the puck slid across to Machlitt who was to the left of Parent. Machlitt took a point-blank shot that was saved by Parent but Machlitt picked up his own rebound and put it past the fallen goaltender for his first goal on the season.
The Titans would take a 3 – 1 lead just 1:41 into the second period on Head’s fifth goal on the season. With time winding down on Smith’s second penalty of the game and the Titans in possession of the puck in the offensive zone, Machlitt send a pass down low to Head. As Head skated towards the crease, he faked a centering pass that made Parent move from his right to left. As he moved, Head still had the puck on his stick and lifted it into an empty net to double the Titans lead. The penalty had just expired.
Despite making nine saves in the third, Pugliese had to make several point-blank saves to keep the Mudbugs from dwindling their deficit.
Parent stopped 26 of 29 shots. Click here for the box score.
The Titans will play game three of the NAHL Showcase tomorrow at 12:00PM ET against the Springfield Jr. Blues.