Turnovers resulted in two New Mexico goals as the Ice Wolves defeated the Titans 4 – 2 in a rematch of last year’s Robertson Cup semi-finals. The loss leaves New Jersey winless on the season with an 0 – 5 record.
The Ice Wolves’ Alfred Lindberg opened the scoring on a highlight reel goal after a Titans turnover just 2:53 into the game.
With the puck at the Titans far side corner, Scott Cremen picked up the loose biscuit out of a scrum and started to skate up the boards. As he reached the halfway, he passed the puck to recently returned Anthony Calafiore, but it went off his stick and to Brendan Dumas near the top of the point. As Dumas started to break out of the zone, he was stripped of the puck by Lindberg who made a move towards his right and around Titans defender Tyler Sanborn and then deked towards the left of goaltender Zak Brice and slid the puck into the net to give New Mexico a 1 – 0 lead.
After a scoreless second period, Cremen was called for tripping at two minutes into the third period. A minute later New Mexico’s Dillon Kuntz scored his first NAHL goal to double the Ice Wolves lead.
On a delayed penalty and playing 6-on-4 hockey inside the Titans zone, New Mexico’s Jeffery Hutchinson picked up the loose puck at the top of the far side faceoff circle and started to skate back to the point. As he reached the blueline, Hutchinson made a backhanded pass to Lindberg at the half wall. Lindberg looked and made a cross-ice pass to Kuntz in the slot and Kuntz wristed the biscuit short side past Brice to make it a 2 – 0 game.
Despite being down two, the Titans didn’t give up. With 12:45 remaining in the third period, Hutchinson was called for tripping to give the Titans the man advantage. About thirty seconds later Calafiore scored his first goal of the season.
Ryan Novo brought the puck up along the near side boards and entered the offensive zone. As he gained the line, he chipped the puck down low to the left of the Ice Wolves net and it was picked up by Johnny McMahon. As McMahon started to circle the net, he made a centering pass out front to Calafiore. The Brooklyn, NY native took a shot that was saved by New Mexico’s goalie Carsen Stokes, but Calafiore picked up his own rebound and backhanded the puck past Stokes and into the net to cut the Titans deficit in half.
Ben Yurchuk knotted the score at two with 9:52 remaining in the third period. With play inside the Ice Wolves zone, Yurchuk picked up the loose puck at the near side faceoff dot and made a backhanded pass to Dumas in the slot. Dumas deked and turned around a New Mexico defender and took a shot that was saved by Stokes. As the rebound came out, Calafiore poked at the puck but Yurchuk tapped in the rebound for his first NAHL goal.
Just 25 seconds after the game was tied, Brady Hildreth was called for interference to give the Ice Wolves the man advantage. As time was about to expire on the powerplay, New Mexico regained the lead on Jake Dalton’s first NAHL goal as well. After the Ice Wolves’ Hunter Hastings won the draw deep inside the Titans zone, the puck went back to Dalton at the point. Dalton stepped up a and took a shot that found its way through a screen and past Brice to make it a 3 – 2 game.
With 4:26 remaining in the game, the Ice Wolves’ Sully Scholle closed out the scoring. New Mexico’s Blayde Pogreba poked check the puck off Dumas at the top of the Ice Wolves zone and dumped the puck into the Titans zone where it was picked up by Eric Charpentier. As the Titans defenseman started to skate towards the far side boards, he turned back and loss the puck off his stick which was picked up by Scholle. Scholle walked in all alone on Brice and beat the goaler long side to make it a 4 – 2 game.
Brice, who played extremely well, stopped 23 of 27 shots while Stokes turned aside 25 of 27 shots. Click here for the box score.
The Titans will play their fourth and final game of the annual NAHL Showcase tomorrow at 10:15AM ET.