The New Jersey Titans scored three, third period goals en route to a 5 – 2 win over the visiting Northeast Generals to split the two game weekend series between the teams. Tommy Bannister and Jack Ring each had three points in the victory.
This was clearly the Titans best game of the year from start to finish, including timely saves by goaltender Louden Hogg in the third period to keep the Generals at bay.
Northeast jumped out to an early 1 – 0 lead just 3:46 into the opening period. After three great successive scoring attempts by the Titans on one shift, the loose puck went through the Generals goalmouth where it was picked up by Northeast’s Liam McCanney who skated down the near side boards. As McCanney gained the offensive zone with two Titans draped on him, McCanney was able to push the puck forward to Dylan Schuett who skated in all alone on Hogg and deke the prone netminder to make it a 1 – 0 game.
At 5:53 of the first Schuett was called for boarding to give the Titans the man advantage. As the powerplay was about to expire, Stephen Willey knotted the score at one on a beautiful one-timer. With Caleb Price at the top of the point, he passed the puck over to Jake Suede at the top of the near side faceoff circle. Suede passed it down low Levente Keresztes who made a centering pass out front to Willey and he buried it past Northeast goalie Hugo Haas for his second goal of the season.
The Titans would take a 2 – 1 lead with 2:19 left in the period. As a Titans powerplay was set to expire, New Jersey was looking to set up in the zone one last time. Anthony Calafiore had the puck in the far side corner. As the man advantage expired, Calafiore sent the puck back to Evan Werner at the top of the faceoff circle. Werner sent it back to Tyler Nasca at the point. Nasca sent a return pass back to Werner who took a long wrist shot that beat Haas for his fifth goal of the season.
McCanney tied the game at two just 2:02 into the second. As a Northeast penalty just expired, the Generals Aiden Curran picked up the loose puck at center ice along the far side boards and passed it up to Schuett who entered the offensive zone on a two-on-one with McCanney. As Schuett drove to the net he made a backhand pass to McCanney who redirected the puck past Hogg for his fifth goal of the season.
The third period was end-to-end action with both teams pressuring their offensive zone while Hogg had to make some keys saves to keep the score tied. Then with 8:55 remaining in regulation, Bannister scored his first goal of the season.
Brad Zona intercepted a Generals pass at the top of his own slot and sent a bounce pass high off the near side glass where it was picked up by Ring at center ice. As Ring drove to the net, he made a backhand pass through the goalmouth and Bannister wristed the puck past Haas to give the Titans the lead for good.
With 6:21 left in the game Anthony Mollica scored his first goal as a Titan. As a scrum took place along the near side half wall in the Generals zone, Bannister was able to pass the puck downlow to Ring at the goal line. Ring passed it back to Mollica at the top of the faceoff circle Jenison, MI native took a snapshot that found its way through a screen and past Haas to give the Titans a 4 – 2 lead.
Bannister scored an empty netter with 2: 18 remaining in regulation to close out the scoring.
Hogg stopped 19 of 21 shots while Haas turned aside 41 of 45. Click here for the box score.
“It was a good bounce back effort by our group tonight” stated Titans head coach Craig Doremus. “We have been struggling to finish games lately especially in overtime and the shootouts so tonight was an important step for us to take with this team. I think our effort and compete was solid all weekend. While it was far from perfect, the three points were much needed by our club. We now shift our focus to the week of practice and our preparation for Maryland” concluded Doremus.
Next weekend the Titans will host the Black Bears on Friday and Saturday with puck drops slated for 7:30 PM and 7:00 PM respectively.