The New Jersey Titans lost a pair of one-goal games to the Jamestown Rebels at Northwest Arena this weekend.
Friday’s contest was a 2-1 regulation loss, and while the Titans overcame a three-goal deficit on Saturday, it ultimately ended as a 4-3 overtime defeat. Gavin Gulash scored three times between the two games, and Brandon Perrone was the losing goaltender on both nights. New Jersey’s record falls to 22-21-1 after losing four consecutive games.
Nick Stuckless opened the scoring at 14:03 in Friday’s game, when he entered the Titans’ zone on the left side, cut across the goal and slid the puck into the net while falling to the ice. Alex Frye doubled the lead at 9:12 of the second period when a shot hit off the crossbar, and he batted in the rebound out of mid-air. It was his 23rd goal of the season while making it a 2-0 game.
The Titans responded with a four-on-three power-play goal from Gulash at 14:31. Ryan Naumovski ripped a cross-ice pass to the Red Bank native, as he roofed a shot past Rebels goaltender Ryan Keane for his 17th goal of the season. It was all the offense they could muster, however, as the team got out-shot by the Rebels 14-6 in the third period and were unable to pull Perrone for the extra attacker.
Saturday’s game had a more tumultuous start for the Titans, which started on a power-play goal by Hunter Johannes at 4:09 of the first period. Stuckless took a wrist shot from the point, and Johannes was able to redirect it past Perrone for his ninth goal of the season.
Things only got worse for the Titans when they gave up a pair of shorthanded goals to fall behind 3-0. Both goals were on two-on-one rushes, as Jake Felker scored at 9:12 and Niki Jasko converted at 17:32 of the first period.
New Jersey managed to bounce back with two power-play goals, including one in the second period by Mitch Machlitt. He redirected a shot from Ryan Naumovski, and beat Rebels goaltender Noah West for his 11th goal of the season. Gulash cut the deficit to one at 12:45 of the third, when Shane Haviland set him up for a one-timer at the right faceoff dot.
Head coach Craig Doremus spoke about the team’s quick turnaround on the man advantage after that first period.
“Nothing really changed strategically. We talked about making better decisions with the puck and our puck support at all times,” he said.
Gulash scored again at 15:03 when he tapped in a feed from Zach Nazzarett. It was his third goal of the weekend and completed the Titans’ three-goal comeback. Though the Titans salvaged a point by forcing the game into overtime, Frye ended it quickly when he converted on a two-on-one with a tap-in.
Despite overcoming a three-goal deficit, the Titans dropped its fourth straight game and now trails the second-place Rebels by 13 points in the East Division.
“The guys are frustrated, they want to win. We know we dug ourselves into hole that was ultimately too deep to get out of,” Doremus said. “There’s no excuses in the dressing room. We want and need better results.”
The Titans will try to snap the four-game skid when they host the Northeast Generals this Friday and Saturday. Puck drop for Friday’s contest is scheduled for 7:45 p.m., while Saturday’s game will start at 7:30 p.m.
Photo Credit: Pete MacDonald (Twitter: @PMacDonald51)