The New Jersey Titans snapped its four-game winning streak in a raucous 5-2 loss to the Northeast Generals at Middletown Sports Complex on Saturday night, and will look to rebound with a two-game set against the Maryland Black Bears this weekend.
A scrappy second period proved to be the Titans’ downfall in their 5-2 defeat. After partaking in a six-player scrap, New Jersey gave up a pair of goals in the final minute of the period and would go on to give up two shorthanded goals in the third.
“When you sit back and look at the turning point of the game we never really recovered fully,” said Titans head coach Craig Doremus. “While we got back in the game they had another surge in the third and unfortunately we couldn’t rebound from it.”
Aurel Naus opened the scoring at 8:27 of the first period. Ryan Rowland took a shot from the point that was going wide left, but Naus managed to redirect the shot on goal and past Titans goaltender Brandon Perrone for his third goal of the season.
Kyle Jeffers evened the score with a power-play goal late in the second period. Ryan Naumovski took a shot from the high slot and missed the net, but the rebound from the end boards found Jeffers’ stick, as he cashed in his ninth goal of the season.
Later in the period, Joseph Nagle was hit behind his own net and left the game with an injury. The Generals stuck up for their teammate which resulted in a scuffle between six players.
When the dust settled and the penalties were assessed, Northeast struck twice in the final minute of the period. Matthew Rutigliano made a nifty toe drag as he darted towards the net from the right side and lifted a backhander over Perrone’s glove. Brady Gaudette doubled the lead 30 seconds later when he stripped the puck from a Titans defender and snapped a shot stick side for his fifth goal of the year.
“We knew there was going to be a response from them. They’re going to look to make a hard hit and stick up for their teammate, but I think they achieved what they wanted to get out of it. Not only an answer to the hit that our guy put on theirs but ultimately for them got the momentum in their way.”
New Jersey started the third period on the power play, and Eric Manoukian picked up his first goal of the season 41 seconds in. He took a wrist shot from the point that found a way past Generals’ goaltender Marko Sturma.
Northeast took additional penalties at the midway point of the third, but they would go on to score the next two goals shorthanded. Alex Cohen and Louis Boudon scored 1:41 apart to give the Generals a 5-2 lead, capping off a win to improve their record to 5-6-0. After the game, Doremus spoke about the shorthanded goals and his team’s struggles on the special teams.
“We had a five minute power play and we couldn’t capitalize. As the game winds on you give up two shorthanded goals, it’s back-breaking and deflating on the bench.”
Coming into this weekend, the Titans (8-6-0) are second in the East Division and will start a two-game set against the Maryland Black Bears. This will be the second back-to-back between the two teams, but Maryland’s first ever trip to Middletown.
The Titans opened the season with a back-to-back in Piney Orchard Arena as the Black Bears’ first ever opponent. New Jersey took both games with a 6-3 win and a 1-0 overtime victory. Since then, the Black Bears have built up a 5-5-4 record, good for third place in the East.
Friday night’s contest will begin at 7:45 p.m., and Saturday’s game–featuring a Halloween costume party–is slated for 7:30 p.m. Both games will take place at Middletown Sports Complex and will be streamed on hockeytv.com.