In a game that featured not one, but two torrents of teddy bears sent onto the ice, the New Jersey Titans came from behind to defeat the New Hampshire Mountain Kings 2-1 in overtime in the first meeting between the franchises.
The first period saw New Jersey go onto the power play just 1:51 into the game, and Ethan Wongus put the puck over the line to send the first teddy bears onto the ice. However, after a discussion, the officials waived the goal off, saying that Wongus had kicked the puck over the line in the goalmouth scramble. With the bears sent back over the glass to the fans, the Titans could not convert on any of their four power play opportunies in the first period and went back to the locker room for the first intermission with a scoreless tie.
The deadlock continued in the second period until a New Hampshire man advantage with under 5 minutes to go in the frame. A shot from the point was kicked out by Dylan Krick, but it ricocheted off a Mountain King in front, and the Titans went into the second intermission trailing 1-0, despite outshooting New Hampshire 19-11 in the second period, and 31-17 up to that point in the game.
In the third, the Titans would have to contend with a Mountain Kings squad that became much more conservative, preferring to sit in the neutral zone and allow the play to come to them. The approach worked for the beginning of the period, but Jack Hillier was able to break through at 7:06 to send the teddy bears back onto the ice for the last time and draw the Titans even. Reece Brednich and Dylan Krick assisted on Hillier’s 4th of the year. For Krick, it was the goaltender’s first point in the NAHL. Neither team would score again in regulation time, and the first meeting between the teams would require overtime.
In the extra period, the Mountain Kings attempted to maintain possession of the puck, but a turnover at the New Jersey blue line gave Dominik Bartecko an chance. Picking up Matej Teply streaking down the slot, Bartecko went upstairs to the blocker side for his 10th of the season and 2nd game winning goal. Dylan Krick stopped 24 of 25 shots sent his way for his 8th victory of the season, and second in a row.
The Titans will host New Hampshire for their last home game of the 2023 calendar year Saturday, December 16th, with a scheduled 7:00pm start. Tickets are available on NJTitansNAHL.com, and the game can be seen live on NAHLtv.