Defenseman Eric Charpentier scored two of the Titans four second period goals to propel New Jersey to a 4 – 3 road win and complete a weekend sweep over the Johnstown Tomahawks.
It was only the third time in team history that the Titans swept the Tomahawks in Johnstown (the other two were last season). The win also gave the Titans their thirteenth straight game in which they have a recorded a point.
After a dreadful start to the season, the reigning NAHL Robertson Cup champions have gone 18 and 7 in their last 25 games. It is a remarkable turnaround that has the team in second place with 38 points, just nine behind first place Maryland with a game in hand. To put things into more perspective, after starting the season with a 0- 6 record, the Titans have earned just seven points less then what they did this time last season (45). Moreover, they have recorded only four fewer victories than this time last year. It is a tribute to the tireless work effort by the coaching staff and players for the incredible turnaround.
After a scoreless first period, the Tomahawks opened the scoring just 1:41 into the middle stanza. Johnstown’s Drake Albers entered the offensive zone on a two-on-one with David Matousek on Albers left. As Albers gained the line, he passed the biscuit to Matousek who took a wrist shot from the top of the far side faceoff circle that beat Titans netminder Zak Brice long side for Matousek’s seventh goal of the season.
The Red Buckets then went on to score four unanswered goals, three of which came within two minutes and ten seconds.
Ethan Wongus tied the game at one at 4:55 of the second. With play along the far side half wall inside the Tomahawks zone, Dante Palombo came away with the puck from a scrum and made a backhanded pass from the faceoff dot back to Marcus Sang at the top of the faceoff circle. Sang took a snapshot that was saved by Johnstown netminder Alec Rajalin-Scharp but the rebound came right out to Palombo who was to the left of Rajalin-Scharp and Palombo made a pass through the goalmouth to Wongus who jammed the biscuit into the back of the net for “Wongo’s” first goal of the season.
The Titans then scored their next three goals in two minutes and ten seconds starting with 7:27 remaining in the period. After Wongus won the draw deep inside the Johnstown zone, the puck went back to Joe Harney at the near side point. Harney took a stride and passed it over to Charpentier at the center of the blueline just inside the zone. Charpentier took a one-timer that found its way through a maze and past Rajalin-Scharp to give the Titans a 2 – 1 lead.
Fifty-three seconds later Dominik Bartecko doubled the Titans lead. After the Tomahawks’ Bryce Laager entered the offensive zone near the far side boards, he made a cross-ice pass to Ryan Panico in the slot, but newcomer Matej Teply made an outstanding play by driving and blocking Panico’s shot, and Teply was able to get up, pick up the loose puck and start to skate towards center ice. As Teply reached his own blueline, he passed the biscuit to Ben Yurchuk on his left. As Yurchuk gained the line, he made a drag move around a Johnstown defender in the slot, and Yurchuk passed the puck to Bartecko on his right and Bartecko slammed it into the back of the net.
It was Bartecko’s seventh goal in eleven games as a Titan. He has recorded a point in every game he has played for the Red Buckets tallying 16 totals points (7 goals and 9 assists) in those eleven games.
After taking a 3 – 1 lead, Charpentier scored his second goal of the period just a minute and seventeen seconds later. Johnstown’s Johnny Ulicny was called for roughing with 5:34 remaining in the period to give the Titans the man advantage. Seventeen seconds later Charpentier put the game out of reach. As Michael Young had the puck at the Tomahawks near side faceoff dot, he was able to pass it up to Anthony Calafiore. The team captain circled to the board and passed the biscuit back to Charpentier at the point. As Charpentier started to walk the link, he took a wrist shot from the top of the slot that found its way through a screen and past Rajalin-Scharp to make it a 4 – 1 game. It was the Dartmouth commit’s sixth goal of the season.
The Tomahawks scored two very late goals at the end of the third period to make it a close contest but it wasn’t enough.
Brice stopped 24 of 27 shots in the win while Rajalin-Scharp turned aside 19 of 23 in defeat. Click here for the complete box score.
The Titans now will go on a two-week Christmas break. They enter the holiday break in second place with an 18-11-1-1 record for 38 points, nine behind the first place Black Bears. They will return on January 2nd. They will start the second half of the season at home against the same Johnstown Tomahawks.