The New Jersey Titans faced a pair of Pennsylvania teams on Friday and Saturday nights, and split the back-to-back with a 7-6 home loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights on Friday and a 5-3 road win against the Philadelphia Rebels.
Tate Singleton earned the NAHL East Division Star of the Week by recording five goals and two assists between the two games. On Friday, he picked up the hat trick and tacked on an assist, but his four-point night wasn’t enough in the high-scoring match against Wilkes-Barre. The Titans gave up four goals in the third period and let two separate leads get away from them.
“I wish (the game) came out with a different result. I thought we didn’t play our best but we’ll get back at it tomorrow,” Singleton said after the loss.
The Army commit scored on a power-play goal in the first period and scored two more in the second off odd-man rushes. One of them was set up by Hunter Alden, and Singleton returned the favor late in the second by assisting on Alden’s 10th goal of the season.
“Hunter and I play a similar game, we kind of like to get the puck deep and hit the net. It felt good to get going with him today and put some pucks in the back of the net.” Singleton said of Alden, who joined Nick Boyagian in reaching the 40-point plateau on Friday.
The following afternoon, Singleton led the Titans’ offensive effort yet again by netting two goals and an assist in a 5-3 bounce-back win. In the first period, New Jersey went on the power play shortly after killing a penalty of their own. Ryan Naumovski and Matt Cameron each made nifty behind-the-back passes to set up Singleton for the one-timer and give the Titans a 1-0 lead.
Eric Olson evened the score late in the first, and then Auggie Moore and Luke Radetic each scored in the second period to give the Rebels a 3-1 lead. However, just as all seemed lost, Singleton came through with another power-play goal to cut the deficit back down to one. It was also the first of four un-answered goals for the Titans.
Late in the second, Singleton set up Zach Faremouth to even the score at three. In the third period, Faremouth scored again to put the Titans up by one, and then Naumovski scored a goal that would eventually be named the NAHL top play of the week. Justin Bofshever sprung Naumovski on a breakaway, as he went between the legs and shot the puck high-glove side past Rebels goaltender Ryan Keane to make it a 5-3 game.
The Titans will look to ride the momentum of that comeback win as they get ready for another three-game home series against the Johnstown Tomahawks. Two weeks ago, New Jersey defeated Johnstown in the first game 7-2, but dropped the next two contests in 3-2 overtime losses. This will also serve as an opportunity for the Titans to distance themselves from the Knights for second place in the division. They are currently two points ahead of Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with a game in hand.
The contest is on Friday with a puck drop of 7 p.m., and kicks off the Titans’ annual parent/billet weekend celebrated at the end of each season at Middletown Sports Complex. For tickets, you can visit njtitansnahl.com, or you can catch all of the action on hockeytv.com.