Despite a valiant comeback and Evan Werner’s three goals, the visiting New Jersey Titans fell to the Maine Nordiques 4 – 3 in a matinee game today as the Nordiques completed a three-game sweep over the Red Buckets.
The Nordiques opened the scoring at 6:51 into the first period on Tristan Fasig’s second goal of the season. Caden Pattison picked up the loose puck at center ice along the near side boards and brought it into the Titans zone on a 2 on 1 with Fasig. As Pattison reached the slot, he passed it over to Fasig on his left and Fasig redirected the puck past Berk Berkeliev to make it a 1 – 0 game.
At 9:20 into the first the Nordiques Matt Connor was called for head contact to give the Titans the man advantage. Almost a minute and a half later Werner tied the game. After the draw was won just outside the Titans blueline, the puck went back to Matttew Iasenza behind his own net. Iasenza looked to set up the play and passed the puck up to Joe Schubert at his own near side blueline. Schubert hit a breaking Werner at center ice and the speedy forward cut towards the near side boards and entered the offensive zone. Werner then cut towards the net and took a wrist shot that beat Nordiques goalie Tyriq Outen long side to make it a 1 – 1 game.
Eight seconds after the Titans tied the contest the Nordiques regained the lead on Isaiah Fox’s fourth goal of the season. Maine’s Tyler Gaulin intercepted a pass just inside the Titans zone and he hit Fox in stride on his right and Fox buried it past Berkeliev to make a 2 – 1 game.
Three minutes later Pattison would make it 3 – 1 Nordiques. Cooper Smith brought the puck into the Titans zone along the near side boards and he passed it over to Fasig on his left. As Fasig reached the faceoff dot, he took a wrist shot that Berkeliev made a right pad save but the rebound came right out to Pattison who tapped in the puck past the Titans goalie for his second goal of the season.
After a scoreless second period, the Nordiques took a commanding three goal lead just 4:02 into the third period on Tyler Gaulin’s fourth goal of the season.
As the Titans have shown this season, they shouldn’t be counted out. At 5:53 into the third period, Werner cut the visitors deficit in half. As Maine’s Reese Farrell entered the Titans zone, he passed the puck to Aiden Connolly on his right. Connolly stopped along the near side boards and went to pass the puck back to a trailing Matt Connor but the passed went wide of Connor and straight to Werner in the neutral zone. As Werner reached the top of the far side faceoff circle, he took a clapper that beat Outen long side to make it a 4 – 2 game.
With 9:24 left in regulation, the Titans pulled within one. Tommy Bannister, who played well all weekend, brought the puck into the Nordiques zone along the far side boards. As he reached the faceoff dot, he made a centering pass out front that was blocked by Maine’s Jacob Crespo but the puck came out to Werner who was to the right of Outen and he shot it over and past the prone Outen to complete the hat trick.
Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough as time ran out with the Titans pressuring the net. Berkeliev stopped 31 of 35 shots while Outen turned aside 33 of 36. Click here for the box score.
“Obviously an extremely disappointing weekend for us” stated Titans head coach Craig Doremus. “We are losing valuable points in the standings. Unfortunately, these are some of the growing pains we are growing through. There were bits and pieces of each game where we were happy with the play overall, but we have a lot to clean up and address. We are eager to get back to work in preparation for our road trip to Johnstown next week” concluded Doremus.