The New Jersey Titans gave up a three-goal lead in the third period, but managed to defeat the Northeast Generals in a shootout, 4-3, at Middletown Sports Complex on Friday night.
Josef Glamos scored two goals while Shane Haviland connected for the shootout’s only goal. Brandon Perrone made 37 saves and two additional stops in the shootout to win his second consecutive start.
“There wasn’t any doubt on the bench, collectively they came together as a group and wanted to get the two points. It’s another growing pain for us, you don’t want to see us get to that point, but it was definitely a growing moment for the team,” said Titans head coach Craig Doremus.
The Titans dominated the in the first period and lead in shots by a margin of 17-6, but could not solve Generals goaltender David Fessenden. The Colorado native made a couple of big saves, including breakaway opportunities from Zach Nazzarett and Cam Gendron.
Chris Garbe finally broke through at 6:56 of the second period when he tapped home a rebound, prompting fans to throw their teddy bears onto the ice. About eight minutes later, Glamos ripped a one-timer from the right faceoff circle that beat Fessenden and doubled the Titans’ lead.
New Jersey continued to press early in the third period, and Glamos scored again at 8:37 when he put away a rebound from Ben Pirko’s shot. It was his seventh of the season and gave the Titans a 3-0 lead.
“Joe’s game is coming, his past two games have been really good and he was rewarded for his hard work. He can be an offensive force for us down the stretch, it’s just a matter of playing with some confidence and conviction and I think he did that tonight,” Doremus said of Glamos.
The Generals would not back down, however, as they started an impressive late-game comeback. At 11:33 of the third period, Connor Marshall threw a pass to the front of the net where John Jaworski redirected the puck over Perrone’s shoulder. Three minutes later, Sviataslov Kucynski slammed home a rebound at the doorstep. Then with 45 seconds left in regulation and Fessenden pulled, Brady Gaudette intercepted a clearing attempt from Perrone and ripped a shot five-hole to even the score while stunning the crowd in Middletown.
“The tying goal was a tough one, especially since it was on my mistake. We played so well against them, I wanted to do whatever I can to make sure we got the two points,” Perrone said of Gaudette’s goal.
Perrone was dialed in during the overtime, making numerous incredible saves. In the opening minute, he denied Michael Higgins on a redirect, and seconds later, stopped a wide open Louis Boudon at point-blank range.
With 2:23 remaining in overtime, Nazzarett took a holding penalty, giving the Generals a four-on-three power play. Soon after, Kuchynski set up Higgins for another tap-in attempt at the top of the crease, but Perrone made the save. He made one more big stop on a wrister through traffic by Gaudette before the Titans cleared the puck to finish the penalty kill.
“It feels good to help the boys out, but I have to give credit to the guys in that PK, they let me see a lot of shots, but when it’s a four-on-three like that, it’s chaotic and you just need to battle hard at that point,” Perrone said of the overtime.
Louis Boudon started the shootout and tried to go upstairs with a quick wrister, but Perrone denied him with a windmill glove save.
“A little flair never hurt anybody,” Perrone said.
Shane Haviland shot first for the Titans. Despite having just one goal in 19 games, he looked like a top-line goal scorer by faking a shot and going to backhand to beat Fessenden.
“Just keep it simple. I knew what move I wanted to do immediately, so I just had to keep it simple, stick to the move I wanted to do and it ended up working out for me,” Haviland said of the shootout goal.
Joseph Nagle was next for the Generals. He also tried to sell a fake but Perrone committed to the poke check and knocked the puck away from Nagle. Michael Outzen missed for the Titans, and Liam McCanney missed in the Generals’ last chance to extend the shootout.
After the game, Doremus spoke about Perrone, who followed up a shutout win on Tuesday with another spectacular performance against the Generals.
“Brandon seems to be coming into his own. There the turnover that led to the third goal, but nevertheless it was a strong performance by him,” Doremus said of his goaltender.
The Titans will look to sweep the back-to-back tonight, something they have not accomplished at home since late October. Doremus gave his take on what his team needs to do in order to win the second game.
“We need to make sure the guys are focused on the task at hand and not looking ahead to the holiday break, as hard as that may be, and then taking care of the details of the game. I thought our compete level was good tonight, our attention to detail was really good for 50 minutes or so and then we lost our identity for a bit,” he said. “We just need to play another 60 minute game.”
This will be the Titans final game of 2018, and puck drop is slated for 7:30 p.m. The game will be available for streaming on hockeytv.com.
Photo credit: Pete MacDonald (@PMacDonald51)