The visiting New Jersey Titans fell 4 – 2 to the Johnstown Tomahawks at the 1st Summit Arena at Cambria County War Memorial last night. It was the first time these teams have met this season.
Learning to adapt has been key for everyone during this crazy year, including adjusting junior hockey schedules. The Titans were originally planned to be off this weekend while the Tomahawks were getting ready to play the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks but due to travel restrictions in Connecticut the Titans and Tomahawks arranged the series.
Former Tomahawk Matt Doyle got the Titans on the board first just 3:45 into the opening period. After a save by New Jersey netminder Louden Hogg, the rebound came out to Caleb Price who took the puck up along the far side boards and into offensive zone. As Price reached the Johnstown goal line, he passed the puck back to Levente Keresztes at the point. Keresztes passed it over to Doyle on his right. As Doyle started to skate towards the top and middle of the slot, he took a long-range wrist shot that found its way through a screen past Tomahawks goalie Sam Evola for his second goal of the season.
Johnstown then would proceed to score three straight goals.
With 11:24 left in the first, the Tomahawks Brendan Clark was called for holding to give the Titans the man advantage. After the Titans turned the puck over behind their own net, Johnstown’s Andrew Murphy threw the puck on net and it was poke checked out by Hogg, but it came right out to Max Neill in the slot. Neill took a shot that Hogg saved but the rebound came out to Murphey who slid the puck past the fallen Titans netminder to tie the game at one with 10:35 remaining in the period. It was the fourth time this season that the Titans have allowed their opponent to score a shorthanded goal.
The Tomahawks took a 2 – 1 lead with 8:23 left in the period. As the Titans Matt Boczar was skating out of his own zone, he tried to pass the puck up to Anthony Calafiore on his right, but it was intercepted by Johnstown’s Jay Ahern at the blueline. Ahern charged towards the net and went from his forehand to his backhand and lifted the puck over Hogg for his third goal of the season.
Johnstown would make it 3 – 1 just 5:02 into the second period. Clark picked up the loose puck along the near side boards at center ice and entered the Titans zone on a 2 on 1 with Middletown, NJ resident John Gelatt. As Clark gained the line, he passed the puck Gelatt on his left. Gelatt skated towards the far side boards and as he reached the faceoff dot, he took a wrist shot that beat Hogg short side.
With nine minutes remaining in the second, Neill was called for tripping to give the Titans the man advantage. Forty-eight seconds later Keresztes cut New Jersey’s deficit in half. Price picked up the loose puck along the far side boards at center ice and passed it over to Jake Suede who was straddling the Tomahawks blue line. As Suede entered the offensive zone, he passed the puck over to Keresztes at the top of the far side faceoff circle and he took a wrist shot that beat Evola long side for his second goal of the season.
Johnstown’s Alex Gritz scored with 2:55 left in the second period to close out the scoring and make it a 4 – 2 game.
Hogg, who started in his fourth straight game, stopped 24 of 28 shots while Gritz turned aside 21 of 23. Click here for the box score.
The teams will meet again tonight at 7:05PM for game two of this two game series.