The New Jersey Titans completed a weekend sweep over the visiting Maine Nordiques last night using a balanced scoring attack en rout to a 5 – 2 victory.
The win gives the Titans a 10 – 2 record for twenty points, most in the East Division.
Michael Outzen opened the scoring at the 6:48 mark of the first period with his sixth goal of the season. With the puck down low inside the Nordiques zone, Matthew Iasenza took a sharp angle shot on Maine’s goaltender Avery Sturtz, that was deflected, and the puck rolled up along the near side boards. As Mitch Machlitt was able to shield the puck from a Nordiques defender, Outzen picked up the biscuit and cut towards the top of the faceoff circle where he took a wrister that beat Sturtz short side to give the Titans a 1 – 0 lead.
Jake LaRusso doubled New Jersey’s lead midway through the opening period. Titans defenseman Tyler Nasca picked up the loose puck behind his net and started to break out of the defensive zone. Nasca went to make an outlet pass but it was deflected by a Nordiques player and into his own near side corner. As a scrum encountered, Kyler Head came away the puck and skated behind the Nordiques net. As Head started to skate towards the far side corner, he found LaRusso out front and to the left of Sturtz. After controlling the pass, LaRusso took a wrister that beat Sturtz high, glove side to make it a 2 – 0 game.
Less than two minutes later Makem Demers cut the Nordiques deficit in half. Maine’s Cannon Green came away with the puck following a scrum along the far side boards and skated towards the Titans net. As Green got to the slot, he passed the puck back to Stefan Owens who took a quick shot that was saved by Arseni Sergeev but the rebound came out to Demers who slammed the puck into the net make it 2 – 1 Titans.
With three minutes remaining in the first, New Jersey’s Cade Penny was called for hooking to give the Nordiques the extra attacker. Twenty seconds later Owens tied the game. Derek Hessinger set up the play at the top of the blueline. He passed the puck to Green who was at the top of the near side faceoff circle. Green took a shot that was saved by Sergeev but Owens was on the doorstep and tucked in the rebound for his fourth goal on the season.
Thirty-seven seconds later the Titans regained the lead on Brody Medeiros’ third goal of the season. Head was breaking out of his own end and lobbed the puck deep into the Nordiques zone where LaRusso was able to pick it up right before the goal line and turned towards the near side corner. As LaRusso started to skate back up along the boards, he sent a cross-ice pass to Medeiros who took a one-timer that beat Sturtz long side to make it 3 – 2.
After a scoreless second, Chris Garbe doubled the Titans lead with eleven minutes remaining in the third. Off the faceoff in his own end, Garbe brought the puck up into the neutral zone and pass it to Shane Haviland on his left. As Haviland entered the offensive zone, he reversed and dumped the puck behind the Nordiques net where it was picked up by Garbe. The assistant captain would skate towards the near side corner but cut back behind the net. As he looked to set up the play, Garbe took a sharpe angle shot that beat Sturtz short side for his third goal of the season.
Gavin Gulash scored an empty net goal to close out the scoring. Sergeev stopped 26 of 28 shots while Sturtz turned aside 22 of 26. Click here for the box score.
The Titans will continue their homestand next weekend to play the Jamestown Rebels for two games at Middletown Sports Complex.