The New Jersey Titans saw seven different players score a goal in a 7-2 rout over the Johnstown Tomahawks Friday night at Middletown Sports Complex.
It was the first of a three-game set between the two teams, as New Jersey improves its record to 24-17-6 and maintains the second-place spot in the East Division. Matt Ladd stopped 16 of 18 shots to earn his 10th victory of the season.
“I think the depth of our lineup showed tonight. It’s the goal of why and how we play that style of hockey,” Titans head coach Craig Doremus said of the win. “Anytime you can get contributions from up and down your lineup, it can only help.”
Zach Faremouth, Matt Cameron and Ryan Naumovski were the goal scorers in the first period, giving the Titans a 3-0 after twenty minutes. Faremouth gave New Jersey the lead just 47 seconds into the game when he buried a loose puck in front of the goal. At 13:58, Cameron potted his 18th of the season on a tap-in off a faceoff in Johnstown’s end.
“We won off the draw and (Nick) Boyagian told me he was going forward with the puck. I trusted him to win the draw and he pushed it forward and hit me back door,” Cameron said of his goal.
Naumovski earned his 14th goal of the season with 48 seconds remaining in the period. Tomahawks starting goaltender Jack Leavy was pulled in favor of Kade Phipps, who made 20 saves on 24 shots.
Chris Garbe notched the first of two power-play goals for the Titans at 6:09 of the second period. Joe Kile responded for Johnstown a few minutes later and ended Ladd’s shutout bid, but Spencer Stanley refurbished the four-goal lead with a quick wrister that beat Phipps low-blocker side.
New Jersey continued to run away with the lead in the third period. Boyagian and Manoukian scored 1:55 apart to extend the lead to 7-1. On the man-advantage, Boyagian ripped a shot from the right-faceoff circle that hit the center bar of the net and shot right back out. The referee signaled it a good goal, giving the Sacred Heart commit his 18th of the season. Less than two minutes later, Eric Manoukian slammed home a loose puck at the doorstep to earn his third goal of the season.
One consequence of the lopsided score was the increased physicality from Johnstown. Andy Nedeljkovic took three penalties in the final period, and threw a vicious check on Tate Singleton that sent him face-first into the boards. A skirmish between the two parties ensued, resulting in a high-sticking penalty for Nedeljkovic and a rouging minor for Singleton.
The Titans, nevertheless, were able to cruise to a 7-2 victory and have now won two in a row while improving its record against Johnstown this season to 4-3-0. Cameron spoke about the team’s effort and how they’re looking to play with more consistency as the Titans’ regular season winds down to its final 12 games.
“It was probably the first game we played a full 60 (minutes). We’ve been trying to do it all year and now we’re getting it done, and it shows on the scoreboard. So it was a good effort by the boys and it was a good win,” he said. “It’s awesome to see everyone contribute. We had a couple defensemen score, so it was great to see them make the scoresheet. Hopefully we can keep doing this game after game and into the playoffs.”
It was the first time New Jersey has played host to the Tomahawks since last year, and they will play five more home games against them before the month ends. Both teams will head right back into action Saturday night at Middletown Sports Complex. Puck drop is at 7 p.m., and the game will be streamed on hockeytv.com.