The New Jersey Titans held a 1-0 lead for most of Friday night’s game, but a late goal from the Rebels and a game-winning goal 22 seconds into overtime handed them their second consecutive loss at Middletown Sports Complex.
Philadelphia has now won six of their last seven against the Titans, and it’s the second time in two weeks that they came from behind to beat the Titans in overtime.
“We’ve got to learn how to finish hockey games,” said Titans’ head coach Craig Doremus. “Now if you look in the standings, it’s a huge difference between us running away with second place and battling for second place with our inability to finish games with leads in the third period. It’s the fourth game I can think of off the top of my head where we led in the third and ended up losing the game.”
New Jersey opened the scoring at 6:31, when Zach Faremouth poked a loose puck towards Tyler Antonucci, who walked into the high slot and wired a wrist shot over Billing’s glove for his eighth of the season.
The lead held until the 11:35 mark of the third period. Rebels defenseman Carson Moniz took a shot from the point that bounced off Aaron Maguyon’s back, hit the crossbar and just trickled past the goal line.
In overtime, the Rebels forced a turnover at the red line and created a three-on-two the other way. Moniz slid a pass to Adam Peck, who ripped a one-timer past Titans goaltender Brandon Perrone 22 seconds into the extra frame.
“It feels like the same story all over again,” Perrone said of the loss. “They win in overtime, it’s definitely very frustrating and it feels like it’s never-ending, but we’ve got to figure it out.”
Despite the loss, Brandon Perrone made a few dazzling saves among the 29 shots he stopped last night. At the midway point of the first period,Carson Moniz made a stretch pass that created a two-on-one for the Rebels. Jensen Zerban set up Adam Peck for a one-timer, but Perrone slid across the crease to make a blocker save and keep the Rebels off the board.
His best save of the night came early in the third period when a shot deflected to Maguyon in the low slot. He slid a pass to Brandon Stanley for the one-timer, but Perrone slid across with the pads stacked and snatched the puck with a Brodeur-esque windmill save. The Titans’ bench rose to its feet after Perrone’s act of larceny.
“I just had to come up with a big save for my team, and I was happy that I was able to do it for them,” the Long Island native said of the play. “It definitely brought me back to watching Marty Brodeur and Marc-Andre Fleury.”
New Jersey had a couple of chances to extend its lead but were unable to finish. In the second period, the puck was sitting in the Rebels’ crease with several Titans’ players digging away, but there were unable to get a shot off. Doremus said his team’s inability to finish has come back to haunt them in the last couple of games.
“Not enough good hockey plays,” he said. “At the end of the day, you’re measured in wins and losses and the ability to make and finish plays. Right now we’re not good enough.”
While the loss was the Titans’ second straight, the team has picked up a point in 10 of their last 12 games. Tonight they will face the Rebels for the fifth time in a row as they look to fortify their position of second place in the East Division. Puck drop is at 7 p.m. tonight at Middletown Sports Complex, and the game will be streamed on hockeytv.com.