The visiting New Jersey Titans defeated the Johnstown Tomahawks 3 – 1 last night to complete a two-game weekend sweep between the teams. It was the first time since October 16/17, 2015, that the Titans swept a regular season series in Johnstown against the Tomahawks.
The Titans took an early 1 – 0 lead just fifty-two seconds into the game on Brendan Dumas’ sixth goal of the season. As a Tomahawk forward brought the puck up the far side boards, he was knocked off it by Anthony Calafiore and the biscuit went back to Eric Charpentier at his own blueline. The Titans defenseman passed the puck up to Dumas at center ice. As Dumas gained the line, he skated towards the top of the faceoff circle and took a wrist shot that beat Johnstown netminder Sam Evola long side to open the scoring.
At 2:47 into the second period, Johnstown’s Stephen Kyrkostas was called for roughing to give the Titans the man advantage. As the powerplay was about to expire, New Jersey gave up its second, short handed goal allowed in as many games. The Hawks’ Dustin Geregach picked up the loose puck just outside his own blueline and skated through center ice and into the offensive zone. As he gained the line on a 3 – on – 2, he passed the puck to Johnny Ulicny on his left. As Ulicny reached the slot, he sent a return pass to Geregach who took a wrist shot that beat Titans netminder Andrew Takacs short side to make it a 1 – 1 game.
The Titans took the lead for good with 2:51 remaining in the middle stanza. Scott Cremen picked up the loose puck along the near side boards just inside he own zone and made a long cross-ice pass to Tommy Bannister waiting at the Tomahawks blueline. As Bannister cut across the top of the slot, he took a wrist shot that was saved by Evola but the rebound came right out to Calafiore who tucked the puck into the net for his fifth goal of the season.
The Red Buckets doubled their lead at 9:03 into the third period. Ethan Wongus muscled a Tomahawk defenseman off the puck at the top of the Titans zone and he sent a bounce pass off the near side boards up to Michael Young. As Young gained the line, he made a cross-ice pass to Rocco Testa-Basi in the crease. Testa-Basa deked Evola by going from his forehand to his backhand and lifted the puck into the open net for his fourth goal of the season to close out the scoring.
Takacs, who had a 1.44 goals against average and .944 save percentage in the two-game series, turned aside 24 of 25 shots in the win while Evola stopped 35 of 38 in defeat. Click here for the box score.
The Titans return home next weekend for a two-game series against the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks.