New Jersey would find themselves in overtime for the second time in three games, until Dominick Rivelli completed the hat trick and secured two points for the Titans in a back and forth affair again the Minnesota Wilderness on Wednesday night to open their NAHL Showcase schedule.
The NAHL Showcase has been unkind to New Jersey lately, with only one victory in the past two seasons. With four games in four days, it is a test for every team in the league. The first test for New Jersey came in the form of the Minnesota Wilderness, last year’s representative of the Midwest Division at the Robertson Cup Championships. The Titans would jump in front first courtesy of Rivelli banging home a rebound on the power play for his second goal of the season. Ryan Friedman and Reece Brednich recorded the assists. The goal seemed to energize the Wilderness, however, as they responded less than two minutes later to tie the game. Minnesota would then take the lead two minutes after that, and the teams went to the locker room with the Wilderness holding a 2-1 lead.
In the second, Rivelli would again find the back of the net to draw the Titans level. From an impossible angle, Rivelli went upstairs over the shoulder of Minnesota’s Loris Uberti and just under the crossbar for his third of the season and second of the game. Ryan Friedman picked up his second assist of the game on the goal as well. Towards the end of the period, Jack Hillier scored his first in the NAHL off a pass from Kai Elkie. Simon Becar got the secondary assist, and for both Elkie and Becar, it was their first point as a Titan.
Entering the third period with a 3-2 lead, New Jersey seemed well positioned to hold the lead, until Tyler Lee was assessed a five minute major for checking from behind. To make matters worse, with a minute remaining in the major power play, the Titans took another penalty and found themselves on a 5 on 3 penalty kill. As the major expired, Minnesota found the back of the net to tie the game at three.
Ethan Wongus returned to the lineup after being sent to the hospital in New Jersey’s first game of the season, and he made his presence felt at 12:51, converting on a 2 on 1 with Elkie to give the Titans the lead once again. However, it would not stand, as Minnesota’s Logan Nagel fluttered a rebound home again less than two minutes later and retying the game for the fourth time.
Overtime would be required, and in the extra frame it was Dominick Rivelli who played the hero, deflecting home a Dominik Bartecko pass to secure the bonus point for the Titans. It was the first hat trick in Rivelli’s NAHL career, and his first game winner for New Jersey. Zak Brice stopped 20 of 24 shots for his second overtime win of the season.
The Titans won’t have much time to celebrate the victory, as they will be in action again tomorrow, September 15th, as they face another strong opponent in the Midwest Division Regular Season Champion Wisconsin Windigo. Faceoff is schedule for 3:45pm Eastern time and can be viewed on NAHLtv.
The New Jersey Titans, proud members of the North American Hockey League, are entering their ninth season at the Middletown Sports Complex in Middletown, NJ. The 2022 Robertson Cup National Champions, the Titans have made the playoffs in every season since their founding in 2015. Season ticket packages will be available soon, in time for the 2023-24 season home opener versus Rochester on September 29th. Follow the New Jersey Titans on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and TikTok today!