Middletown, N.J- After being away from home ice for nearly a month, the New Jersey Titans were able to please the loyal fan base in Middletown this past weekend against the Northeast Generals with 12-6 and 7-2 victories in their two-game set.
After a rocky start in Friday night’s game, trailing 6-3 going into the third period, the Titans were sparked by the stick of Anthony Cussanelli. Cussanelli converted on a rocket one-timer early in the third period that was dished out to him from behind the Generals net from Titans Hunter Alden, one of the newcomers on the team at 18 years old. Cussannelli had two goals and an assist on the night. In addition to his performance on the ice, he felt that he and his teammates stayed positive when they were down, which helped them get the victory on Friday night.
“You know, I mean, I think we never gave up today. We were down by a couple of goals going into the third, and we never really lost our confidence. We knew we could still put it out, and luckily no one gave up, and we were able to pull it off,” said Cussanelli.
Defenseman Ryan Wheeler, who had three assists on the night, was a part of a Titans defense that found their stride, as the club didn’t surrender a goal in the final 19:45 minutes of play. Wheeler credited his coach for the team maintaining their composure when they were down.
“I think just staying positive in the intermissions. You know, even though we were down, I think everyone stayed positive and kind of rallied around our coach. His speech at the intermission, just telling the boys, you know, we have been here before, we have been down a couple of goals, so I think staying positive really helped us,” said Wheeler.
Saturday night’s affair between the two teams was a different story. The Titans jumped off to a hot start and had a 3-0 lead at the end of the first period. Gordie Helmuth scored on a breakaway off a beautiful give-and-go from Alden. Helmuth also notched in two goals in third period, giving himself a hat trick for the night, and putting the game out of reach for the Generals.
“It feels good to contribute on the scoreboard, but you know, playing two-way hockey is the way we’re going to win the games,” said Helmuth.
Defenseman Tyler Antonucci had a goal and an assist in the team’s victory on Saturday night. Antonucci also noted his pleasure with his team’s defensive performance in the second night of the two-game set, as the team gave up only two goals in the win on Saturday night.
“The key was we tightened up from yesterday, giving up six goals. Today, we bared down in the corners, won some battles along the walls, and just competed a little harder today,” said Antonucci.
With six wins in their past seven games, head coach Craig Doremus is very happy with where his team is in the latter part of the season.
“I am very comfortable with our hockey club right now. I think we’re a good hockey team with a lot of good players. Probably no similar to any other junior hockey team at this point, there’s things we need to work on and address, and collectively as a group and both individually from player to player. But I’m very confident, very happy with our players. It’s a joy to come to work every day with these guys and I really look forward to the next few months together. I think we have a special group of young men,” said Doremus.
The Titans will begin a three-game set against the Johnstown Tomahawks on Thursday, March 9 at 7:30 P.M.
Tickets are available at the Middletown Sports Complex. Information about the Titans home games can also be reached at (732) 856-9700.
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By Richie Todd; Titans Media