The New Jersey Titans will look to rebound from a 3-2 loss to the Amarillo Bulls with their upcoming home opener against the Johnstown Tomahawks Friday night.
Concluding the North American Hockey League Showcase in Blaine Minnesota, New Jersey fell to Amarillo in what can only be described as a march to the penalty box on both sides. There were 33 penalties assessed between the two teams, with 19 of them going against the Titans.
“I have never coached in a game with that many penalties,” said Titans head coach Craig Doremus. “It’s the beginning of the season for everyone and we all make mistakes. Our players need to do a better job in regards to their discipline and moving their feet to avoid stick infractions.”
The Titans opened the scoring in the first period when Craig McCabe fired a stretch pass from his own end to Kyle Jeffers, who slipped a shot five-hole on Bulls’ goalie Ryan Winter.
New Jersey failed to build on the lead when they had a five-minute power play in the second period. Kyler Head cut across the Bulls’ zone and took a hit to the head, from Alex Peterson, putting the Titans on an extended power play. The Bulls were able to kill it off, and Jake Willets evened the score by putting away a rebound at 13:49.
The Bulls scored again in the third period to take a 2-1 lead. Peterson ripped a one-timer from the right circle and beat Titans’ goaltender Brandon Perrone high-glove side for the power-play goal.
Spencer Silver responded for the Titans by getting a power-play goal of his own at 13:10. Michael Outzen threw a pass in front and Spencer Stanley fanned on the one-timer, but the puck slid right to Silver in the low slot as he cashed in his first goal of the season.
Penalties caught up to New Jersey shortly after. A five-on-three power play for the Bulls allowed Brenden Datema to fire a wrist shot from the top of the left circle and past Perrone’s glove. Despit getting a five-on-three power play in the final minute of the game, the Titans were unable to get the tying goal. With Perrone pulled to make it a six-on-three, Gulash took a one-timer from the right circle in the final seconds, but was denied by Winter.
New Jersey left Blaine, Minnesota with a 4-2-0 record in a first-place tie with the Johnstown Tomahawks. Coincidentally, that will be the team visiting Middletown for the Titans’ first two home games on Friday and Saturday night. Doremus spoke about his team making adjustments throughout the week and preparing for the home opener.
“We want to continue to improve and get better each and every day. Obviously I’m sure the guys are excited to play at home with their families, friends and fans there,” he said. “We will be tested early against a very strong Johnstown team. We look forward to opening weekend in MIddletown.”
While the Titans will battle Johnstown on the ice, the team will look to help them off the ice. Alana Letizia, wife of Tomahawks’ coach Mike Letizia, is currently battling breast cancer and is undergoing treatment. Donations will be accepted at Middletown Sports Complex throughout the weekend.
Puck drop is slated for 7:45 p.m. on Friday night and the game will be streamed on hockeytv.com.