The New Jersey Titans poured 53 shots on net but no goals to show for it in a 1-0 loss to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights on Friday afternoon at Revolution Ice Centre.
Evan Orr scored the only goal of the game while Zack Stejskal stopped everything that came his way as the Knights snapped a seven-game losing streak. Titans head coach Craig Doremus spoke about his team’s loss despite controlling the play for most of the game.
“It’s extremely frustrating not being able to find the back of the net. I thought we played well and executed many things that are important to our structure and tactical play,” Doremus said. “I just felt that our guys stayed committed to the cause and I wish they could’ve been rewarded with some success.”
Orr’s goal came on the power play at 3:02 of the first period when he ripped a one-timer from the top of the right faceoff circle, going over the glove of Matt Ladd. It was Orr’s first goal as a Knight and would stand as the game-winner.
The Titans made a push for the tying goal in the second period by out-shooting the Knights 23-12. The best chance came when Michael Outzen pounced on a loose puck off the faceoff and cut across the goal to his forehand. It appeared that he had Stejskal beat, but the goaltender somehow managed to snatch Outzen’s shot for the glove save.
A few minutes later, Kyle Jeffers skated up the right side on a two-on-one and made a toe drag to gain the middle of the ice. He ripped a shot on goal but was denied by Stejskal’s blocker. In the final minute, Kyler Head was off on a breakaway, but Stejskal turned him down with a pad save.
At the end of the second period, Danny Dimon and Max Klanow dropped the gloves in front of the Titans goal, and an extra penalty by New Jersey gave the Knights a three-minute power play in the third period.
The Titans had no problem killing off the extended penalty, and Mac Wiseman and Zach Nazzarett each had a shorthanded breakaway. Neither player was able to convert, adding to the frustration of the Titans’ inability to score.
In a last ditch effort, the Titans pulled Ladd for the extra attacker and continued to pepper Stejskal with shots on goal. In the final seconds of the game, a redirection came within inches of going into the Knights’ goal, but it stayed out and sealed the Titans’ shutout loss.
“I just think it’s important that we come back tomorrow with the same mindset and drive,” Doremus said. “Obviously we allowed a power-play goal, so we need to address that and our PP wasn’t able to capitalize on numerous opportunities. Our power play units need to do a better job and give our team a better chance to win.”
The loss ends a four-game winning streak for the Titans, but they get a chance to bounce back in the second end of the home-and-home tomorrow night at Middletown Sports Complex. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., and the game will be streamed on hockeytv.com.