The Philadelphia Rebels scored two goals in a span of 26 seconds as they handed the New Jersey Titans a 2-1 loss on Friday night at the Middletown Sports Complex.
Spencer Stanley scored the lone goal for the Titans in the first of a two-game set this weekend. The loss snaps a three-game winning streak they had against the Rebels, and head coach Craig Doremus said his team faced an uphill battle after playing what he considered an uncharacteristic first period.
“I don’t even think it’s as much falling behind 2-0 as much as it is the way you fall behind 2-0 with some sloppy play and unfortunate bounces. We never got into the flow of the game early, and ultimately when you’re playing at home you want to get the crowd behind you early and have some positive momentum, but I don’t think we were able to do that,” he said.
Brandon Stanley opened the scoring at 15:01 of the first period with a high shot that sneaked by Titans’ goaltender Brandon Perrone. Adam Peck earned his 10th goal of the season 26 seconds later to give the Rebels a two-goal lead.
Perrone, who made 19 saves on 21 shots, spoke about the first goal, which caused some discussion among the referees and coaches.
“I thought they were talking about a high stick, but I guess it went post-post, maybe went in, maybe went out, but it’s just a rough bounce to start the game,” he said. “I have to do a better to keep us in early, but we definitely battled back, had a really good third period and hopefully got really good momentum going into tomorrow.”
Stanley cut the deficit in half at 6:41 of the third period with a slick goal. He took a pass from Kyle Jeffers in the neutral zone, sliced through the Rebels’ defense and slipped a backhander underneath goaltender Ryan Keane for his second goal of the season.
“Jeffers just had it in the neutral zone, I read the play and jumped up, called for the pass and just took it to the net. Real simple play, his five-hole was wide open so I slid five-hole,” Stanley said.
Between the first two periods, Doremus said the team was unable to do the things that make them a successful team.
“The game had a knock-hockey feel at times and that’s not how we play when we’re successful and playing the right way. I didn’t think the pace and the tempo were particularly high and that’s something we preach about. There were just a lot of staples to our game that wasn’t there in any aspect of the game.”
The Titans are still 4-3-0 against the first-place Rebels, and they’ll have another go at them tonight in the second half of a back-to-back. Puck drop is at 7:45 p.m. tonight, and tickets are available. The game will also be streamed on hockeytv.com.