The New Jersey Titans lost both games in a back-to-back against the Johnstown Tomahawks over the weekend at 1st Summit Arena.
On Friday night, the Titans had a 3-1 lead early in the second period but gave up three unanswered goals in a 4-3 loss. The following night, New Jersey gave up four goals in the first period and three more in the second, en route to a 7-2 defeat.
Johnstown extended its winning streak to 12 games and improved its record to a league-best 19-4-0. Meanwhile the Titans–having won five of its last six games heading into the double-header–falls to a 13-9-0 record while having a two-point lead over the third-place Jamestown Rebels.
Roman Kraemer opened the scoring on Friday with a goal at 8:12 of the first period. Kyler Head responded a little over two minutes later with his second goal of the season, and Cam Gendron scored at 17:40 to give the Titans a 2-1 lead.
The Titans came out strong in the second period as Zach Nazzarett notched his 10th goal of the season 31 seconds in. Johnstown responded with second-period goals from Andy Nedeljkovic and Colin Price, and Mitchell Hale scored the game-winner in the third period. Titans head coach Craig Doremus spoke about Saturday night’s contest while acknowledging Carter McPhail’s 41-save performance for the Tomahawks.
“We made some errors that we felt we had addressed going into the game, and then they pop up again and end up in the back of our net,” Doremus said. “I thought we actually deserved the better outcome based on our overall play, especially with how we started. But that’s why it’s a 60-minute game and full credit to Johnstown for sticking to their game plan and their goaltender holding them in the game and giving them a chance to win.”
Saturday’s game proved to be more tumultuous for New Jersey. Bryce Witman made it a 1-1 game at 12:52 of the first period, but Johnstown roared back with three goals to give themselves a 4-1 lead in the first, and put up three more in the second period. Carson Briere and Colin Price finished the night with two goals each.
It was the second time this season that the Titans have been swept in a back-to-back against the Tomahawks. Doremus said the key to beating a powerhouse team like the Tomahawks isn’t so much playing a flawless game of hockey, but the ability to force them to make more mistakes and capitalize on them.
“I think we have to play a better, more sound game. But I think we also need to be able to put them under pressure and force them to make those very same errors and mistakes,” he said. “At the end of the day, both teams are comprised of young men under the age of 20, and when they are put under adverse situations, mistakes do happen no matter how good you are.”
The Titans will return to action with a back-to-back against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, including a Black Friday matchup at Middletown Sports Complex at 7:00 p.m. The second end of the back-to-back will take place at Revolution Ice Centre at 7:3 p.m. and will be streamed on myhockeytv.com.