Marcus Sang and Levente Keresztes each had a pair of goals to help lead the Titans to a 7 – 3 road win over the Johnstown Tomahawks – the first meeting between the teams this season.
Sang opened the scoring at 6:38 into the first period. Ethan Wongus picked up the loose puck along the near side half wall inside his own end and carried it through center ice and into the offensive zone. As he gained the line on a two-on-one with Sang, Wongus passed the biscuit to Sang on his left, and Sang took a wrist shot from the top of the far side faceoff circle that hit the long side post and went in past Johnstown’s netminder Adam Johnson to make it a 1 – 0 game.
After a four-on-four just ended, the Titans were shorthand due to Sylas Oberting’s double high sticking penalty. As time was winding down on the man advantage, Johnstown’s Drake Albers picked up the third consecutive rebound and put it past Marino Ramirez to tie the game at one. It was Albers thirteenth goal of the season.
Playing five-on-three, Keresztes delivered his first goal of the night with 8:08 remaining in the period. After Keresztes tried a short side stuffer, the puck went off the pad of Johnson and into the far side corner where it was picked up by Anthony Calafiore. The team captain skated towards the top of the slot and sent a pass down low to Brendan Dumas, who was to the right of Johnson. Dumas made a centering pass through the goalmouth, and Keresztes jammed the puck into the open net to give the Titans a 2 – 1 lead.
Oberting scored his first goal of the season at 5:02 into the second period to give the Titans a 3 – 1 lead. Tyler Sanborn picked up the loose puck in his own zone along the near side half wall and carried it all the way into the Johnstown end. As he gained, the line, he passed the biscuit to Dominik Bartecko on his right. Bartecko made a long cross-ice pass to Calafiore at the top of the faceoff dot, and the captain sent it to Oberting at the end of the slot. Oberting took a snapshot that found its way through a screen and past Johnson.
Michael Young made it 4 – 1 with 7:35 remaining in the period. After Ramirez made a short side save on Johnstown’s Nick Ahern, the puck went to the far side half wall where it was picked up Brady Hildreth. Hildreth made a shuttle pass up the boards to Keresztes who skated around the Johnstown point man and head manned the puck up to Young. The Kings Park, NY native skated in all alone on Johnson and deked around the goaler and deposited the biscuit into the back of the net for Young’s eleventh goal of the season.
The Tomahawks then made a game of it by scoring two goals within six and a half minutes left in the middle stanza. A little over a minute when the Titans took a commanding lead, Johnstown’s Ryan Vellucci picked up the rebound in the slot and beat Ramirez to cut the Titans lead in half.
Johnstown then whittled their deficit to one with 2:40 remaining in the period when Anthony Galante took a long wrist shot from just inside the Titans zone that handcuffed Ramirez and went off the netminder and into the back of the net for Galante’s thirteenth goal of the season.
The Titans then broke open the game by scoring three unanswered goals starting at 1:09 into the third period when Brady Hildreth took a backhanded shot from the slot that went off Johnson to make it a 5 – 3 game.
Sang and Keresztes added a pair of insurance goals to close out the scoring to make it 7 – 3.
Ramirez stopped 24 of 27 shots for his fourth win of the season, while Johnson and Colin Purcell combined to turn aside 22 of 29 in defeat. Click here for the complete box score.
The teams will complete their two-game series tonight at the War Memorial. It will be the last game for each combatant before the Christmas break.