The New Jersey Titans ended the regular season with a 2-1 loss to the Northeast Generals at Middletown Sports Complex on Saturday night.
Going into the third period with a 1-0 lead, the Titans gave up two goals in the final 5:15 of the game including a shorthanded goal from Louis Boudon with a minute and 33 seconds remaining.
“I don’t think you want to head into the postseason with a loss in any fashion,” said Titans head coach Craig Doremus. “While there was nothing to lose or gain from today, we wanted to make sure our approach and commitment to playing the right way was there, but it couldn’t have been more absent tonight.”
The game was scoreless for the first period and a half, as Titans goaltender Matt Ladd and Generals netminder Marko Sturma traded exemplary saves throughout the game. In the first period, Alex Konovalov ripped a one-timer from the left faceoff circle that appeared to be his first goal with the Titans. Instead, Sturma went into the splits and made a save with his right pad. Moments later, Shawn Montgomery had a breakaway and went to the backhand, but Ladd denied him with the blocker.
Sturma and Ladd both finished the night with 37 saves, but the former walked away with the victory.
“Their goalie played well, but so did our goalie. If Ladd didn’t play well, we wouldn’t have had much of a chance because the 18 guys in front of him didn’t play as well,” Doremus said.
Holden Biebel opened the scoring at 4:54 of the second period. He made a nifty bank-pass off the boards in the neutral zone and ripped a shot on goal after he crossed the blue line. The puck just trickled in past Sturma for Biebel’s second goal of the season.
With a little over five minutes remaining in the third period, Louis Boudon stormed into the Titans’ zone and managed to get a shot on goal. Ladd made the save, but the rebound went right to the stick of Brendan White, who slammed home his second goal of the season and tied the game at one.
Later in the period, the Titans went up on a four-on-three power play. New Jersey won the faceoff, but the puck slid out of the Generals’ zone. Boudon picked up the loose puck and was off on a breakaway, beating Ladd stick side for the game-winning goal.
After the loss, a disappointed Doremus kept his message simple as the team prepares for the first round of the Robertson Cup Playoffs.
“I just hope our guys are ready to go next week.”
The Titans are the number two seed in the East Division and will go up against the three-seeded Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights. The best-of-five series will start this Saturday in Middletown as the Titans have home-ice advantage. Below is the schedule for the first round:
Game 1 – Saturday 4/14 – 7:00 PM @ Middletown Sports Complex
Game 2 – Sunday 4/15 – 5:00 PM @ Middletown Sports Complex
Game 3 – Friday 4/20 – 5:00 PM @ Revolution Ice Centre
*Game 4 – Saturday 4/21 – 6:00 PM @ Revolution Ice Centre
*Game 5 – Sunday 4/22 – 5:00 PM @ Middletown Sports Complex
Photo credit: Chash Giovenco