The New Jersey Titans special teams’ units scored three goals (including two shorthanded scored twenty seconds apart) to help lead the visitors to a 7 – 4 win over the Maine Nordiques and split the weekend series between the teams.
Mitch Machlitt had three points (1 goal and two assists) while Chris Garbe and Kyle Jeffers each had a goal and an assist.
Maine’s Luke Antonacci was called for tripping at 8:08 of the first period to give the Titans the man advantage. Thirteenth seconds later captain Brody Medeiros opened the scoring for New Jersey. After Shane Haviland won the draw deep inside the Nordiques zone, the puck went back to Cade Penney at the top of the point. Penney passed it over to Kyle Jeffers on his left. The AIC commit made a nice cross-ice pass to Medeiros who one-timed it and the puck went bar down and into the net past Maine’s goaltender Wesley Mankowski to give the Titans a 1 – 0 lead.
The Titans would double their lead with 5:01 remaining in the opening period when Josef Glamos notched his ninth goal of the season. After receiving a pass from Gavin Gulash, Danny Dimon looked to set up the play in his own zone and passed it out to Penney in the neutral zone. Penney made a spin move around his man and brought the puck up along the far side boards and into the Nordiques zone. Penney passed it over to Machlitt who was skating towards the circle. As Machlitt reached the bottom of the circle, he sent a pass back to Glamos in the slot and the assistant captain buried it past Mankowski to make it 2 – 0 Titans.
Garbe made it 3 – 0 Titans with 2:02 left in the first. As the Nordiques tried to break out of their zone, Gulash intercepted an outlet pass at the top of the point and skated towards the far side boards. As Gulash went towards the net, he made a nice head fake move and passed the puck over to Garbe who one-timed it past Mankowski for his eleventh goal of the season.
Isaiah Fox got the Nordiques on the board at 7:20 into the second period. After Arseni Sergeev made a save the puck went into the corner where it was picked up by Ignat Belov. Belov skated behind the Titans net with Gulash draped on him. As the two scrummed to the left of Sergeev, the loose puck came out to Fox who skated around and behind the Titans and he took a wraparound shot that beat Sergeev to make it a 3 – 1 game.
Machlitt scored his team high twentieth goal of the season at 8:33 of the middle stanza to make it a 4 – 1 game. After Sergeev made two outstanding saves, the rebound came out to Brad Zona in the corner and he passed it up to Matt Cameron at the half wall. As Cameron was being hit from behind, he had the wherewithal to pass the puck up along the far side boards to Machlitt. The Maple Grove, MN native skated up through center ice and into the offensive zone. As he cut across the goalmouth, Machlitt slipped the puck through Mankowski’s five hole to give the Titans a three-goal lead.
Mankowski was replaced by Avery Sturtz.
The Titans then scored two shorthanded goals twenty seconds apart. Nick DeSantis was called for roughing with 8:36 left in the second period. After Sergeev made another big save, the rebound came out to Noah Kane at the far side half wall. Machlitt poke checked the puck off Kane and he brought the puck up through the neutral zone. As Machlitt skated to the top of the far side circle, he passed it over to a breaking Jeffers who one-timed the shot that hit the post and went past Sturtz and into the back of the net to give the Titans a 5 – 1 lead.
After the ensuing faceoff, the Nordiques dumped the puck into the Titans zone, and it wrapped around the end boards where it was picked up by Michael Outzen at the half wall. Outzen sent the puck up along the near side boards and into the Nordiques where it was picked up by Garbe who had outskated Antonacci at the top of the circle. Garbe made a nifty backhand pass to Dimon in the high slot who went to the net and beat Sturtz short side to give the Titans a commanding 6 – 1 lead.
The Nordiques would make it 6 – 2 when Trent Grimshaw scored at 6:25 on a powerplay goal but DeSantis gave the Titans back a five-goal lead less than a minute later. Maine added two goals at the end to close out the scoring.
Sergeev stopped 30 of 34 shots while Mankowski and Sturtz combined to turn aside 36 of 43 shots. Click here for the box score.
With the Titans win and the Tomahawks loss, the Titans regain a three-point lead in the East Division over Johnstown. The Titans now will come home for a five game homestand beginning Wednesday night at 7:00 PM against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights.