The Titans earned a point in the standings but fell 4 – 3 in shootout last night to the visiting Maine Nordiques in game two of this three game series. It was the Titans fifth shootout loss of the season (most this year in the league), but it was the team’s ninth straight game in which they have earned at least a point (7-0-1-1).
Cannon Green opened the scoring for Maine just 4:08 into the first period. The Nordiques Luke Antonacci picked up the loose puck just outside the Titans blueline and brought it into the offensive zone. As he reached the top of the near side faceoff circle, he left a drop pass for Makem Demers who took a shot that was saved by Christian Stoever but the rebound came right out to Green on the doorstep and Green snuck the biscuit past Stoever to make it a 1 – 0 game.
Jake LaRusso was called for tripping with 8:31 left in the period to put the Nordiques on the powerplay. A minute and fifteen seconds later Matthew Iasenza tied the game at one. After Stoever made a point blank save, the rebound was picked up by Caleb Price in the slot and skated towards the near side boards and he passed the puck up to Jake Suede who dumped the puck deep inside the Maine zone where it was picked up by Nordiques defenseman James Philpott. As Philpott started to set up the play, he went to send a pass to Antonacci at the near side half wall, but the puck bounced off the boards and was intercepted by Iasenza just inside the blueline. The speedy Iasenza cut towards the middle of the slot and as he entered the far side faceoff circle, he took a wrist shot the beat Maine’s netminder Avery Sturtz long side for sixth goal of the season.
The goal was Iasenza’s fifth shorthanded point on the season, which puts him in a four-way tie with the most shorthanded points this year with five. It also gave the Titans their second shorthanded goal this weekend and twelfth overall this season, which is best in the North American Hockey League.
Stefan Owens gave the Nordiques the lead with 3:11 left in the period. With play behind the Titans net, Nick Seitz picked up the loose puck and started to skate towardsthe far side corner but he was stripped of the puck by Green. Green tried to stuff the puck short side past Stoever but the rebound came right out to Owens in the slot and Owens wristed the biscuit past Stoever to make a 2 – 1 game.
Maine doubled their lead with 2:25 remaining in the first on Patrick Schmiedlin’s eighth goal of the season. As Antonacci and Iasenza scrummed along the far side half wall inside the Titans zone, the puck came out to Schmiedlin who circled towards the faceoff dot and took a quick wrist shot that beat Stoever glove side to make it 3 – 1.
Anthony Calafiore cut the Titans deficit in half just 3:29 into the second period. After Anthony Mollica blocked a shot in the high slot, Zach Nazzarett cleared the puck in the neutral zone where Antonacci went to retrieve it but the biscuit was picked up by Calafiore. The Staten Island native entered the Nordiques zone on a 2-on-1 with Nazzarett. As Calafiore gained the line, he started to skate towards the top of the slot and he took a wrist shot that was deflected by a Maine defender and past Sturtz for his twelfth goal of the season.
Maine’s Cade Pattison was called for roughing with 1:50 remaining in the middle stanza to give the Titans the man advantage. With twenty-eight seconds remaining the period, Blake Humphrey tied the game at three. With Price at the top of the blueline, he passed the puck to Cade Penney on his right. Penney passed it back over to Humphrey at the top of the near side faceoff circle and Humphrey took a wrist shot that beat Sturtz low, long side for his ninth goal of the season. The goal gave Humphrey a point in each of his last four games.
After a scoreless third and overtime, the game went to a shootout where Maine’s Owens’ was the lone goal scorer to give the Nordiques the 4 – 3 win.
Stoever and Sturtz each stopped 34 of 37 shots. Inside the box score: Iasenza, Calafiore and Humphrey each with a goal. Click here for the full box score.
The teams will conclude their three-game series tonight at 5:00 PM at the Middletown Sports Complex.