The New Jersey Titans settle for a home-and-home split after getting shut out by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights, 4-0, at Revolution Ice Centre on Saturday night.
Zach Stejskal had another dominant outing in goal for the Knights by stopping all 44 shots he faced. Matt Ladd stopped 40 of the 44 shots he faced in the Titans’ losing effort, as they drop to a 14-10-0 record.
“I thought both goaltenders played well. Obviously their guy puts up a shutout so it looks different. We controlled long periods of play and then gave up some odd-man rushes and they were able to capitalize,” said Titans head coach Craig Doremus.
The Knights came out flying in the first period, throwing 16 shots on goal with many them posing as high-quality scoring chances. Ladd was up to the task, however, and stopped everything that came his way. His finest stop came 12 and a half minutes into the period, when Jake Fuss went to the backhand at point-blank range, but Ladd was able to knock it down with his glove.
“Matt gave us a chance to win, and that’s all you can ask for in a goaltender,” Doremus added.
The Titans had an opportunity to pull ahead in the second period when Michael Outzen was in all alone on Zack Stejskal. His shot beat him glove side, but hit the post and stayed out. When the Knights went back the other way, Gabe Temple ripped a one-timer that beat Ladd blocker side and picked up his 10th goal of the season at 6:58.
Outzen had another opportunity on a Titans’ power play when he fired a wrist shot from the top of the left circle. For the second time in one period, he beat Stejskal but hit the goal post.
Jacob Badal skated into the Titans’ zone on the right side and took a sharp-angle shot. Ladd made the initial save but did not see the puck in front of him, as Badal tapped it in past Ladd to give the Knights a 2-0 lead with 1:17 remaining in the second period.
With 10:36 left in the third period, Sacha Guillemain wired a pass across the crease where Blake Kryska tapped in a power-play goal to give the Knights a 3-0 lead. About five minutes later, Badal set up Zak Currie for a tap-in, as he picked up his second goal in as many games.
This weekend was the third time the Titans and Knights faced each other in a home-and-home this season. In each of those back-to-backs, the home team has won every game, and both teams are 3-3-0 against each other this season. After the game, Doremus said his team did not necessarily play poorly rather than not capitalizing in key moments of the game.
“I think we did have some high-quality, grade-A chances but weren’t able to bear down and finish them. We mismanaged some pucks at times and that got us into trouble,” he said. “Time to regroup and prepare for Jamestown next weekend at home.”
New Jersey will play its next four games at Middletown Sports Complex, starting with a two-game set against the Jamestown Rebels on December 1 and 2. It will be the first time the Rebels visit the Garden State this season, and Saturday’s game is slated for a 7:30 p.m. start time.