Stephen Willey scored with forty-five seconds remaining in the game to gave the Titans a 3 -2 come from behind victory over the visiting the Jamestown Rebels to even the East Division final series at one.
The Titans entered the third period down 2 – 1 until Ryan Coughlin scored with 3:40 left in regulation to knot the score at two.
The Titans opened the scoring when Levente Keresztes lit the lamp with 8:57 remaining in the first period. After Chris Carroll won the draw just outside the Titans zone, the loose puck ultimately went to Anthony Calafiore who passed the biscuit up to Keresztes at center ice. As Keresztes gained the line, he took a wrist shot from the top of the far side faceoff circle that hit off the far post and went past Rebels netminder Noah Suggs and into the net for Keresztes second goal of the playoffs.
The Rebels then came back to take the lead with two goals of their own in the middle stanza.
Former Titan Noah Szretter scored just 3:34 into the second period to tie the game at one. With play behind the Titans net, the Rebels’ Jak Vaarwerk, who was to right of Titans goaltender Andrew Takacs, made a centering pass out front that hit off a skate and went back to Luke De Vries at the top of the far side faceoff circle. De Vries passed the puck over to Szretter on right at the top of the slot, and Szretter took a clapper that found its way through a maze and past Takacs for Szretter’s third goal of the playoffs.
Just 3:20 later, Kolby Amaci gave the Rebels a 2 – 1 lead. With play inside the Titans zone, the puck went back to Szretter at the far side point. After making a couple of stutter steps, Szretter lobbed the puck on net that was blocked out front but the biscuit went to Ryan Waltman who took a shot that Takacs had to make a split save but the rebound came right out to Amaci on the doorstep and Amaci deposited the puck into the back of the net for his third goal of the playoffs.
Despite pressuring the offensive zone in the third period, the Titans couldn’t connect until they received a much-needed break with time starting to wind down in the game.
After Carroll won the draw deep inside the Rebels zone, the puck went into the near side corner and was retrieved by Carroll. Carroll made a centering pass out front that Suggs tried to make a diving poke check of the puck but it was intercepted by David Posma who took a shot that was blocked by a Titans defender, but the rebound came right out to Coughlin who slammed the puck into the back of the net to tie the game at two with 3:40 remaining in the contest.
While it appeared that the game would go into overtime, Nick Ring, Coughlin, and Willey had other plans. With play just outside the Rebels zone along the near side boards, Coughlin dumped the puck into the offensive end where it was picked up by Szretter. Szretter tried to make a high bounce pass off the glass, but it was knocked down by Ring at the half wall. Ring made a backhanded pass to a breaking Willey in the slot, and the Titans captain cut across the goalmouth and took a backhanded shot that beat Suggs with :45 remaining in the game to make it 3 – 2 and give the Red Buckets the win.
Takacs stopped 26 of 28 shots while Suggs turned aside 35 of 38. Click here for the box score.
The series now moves to Jamestown where the teams will play games three and four at the Northwest Arena. Game will be held on Wednesday at 7:30PM while puck drop for game four will be at 7:00PM.