Defense Optional in Titans Shootout Win over Elmira
The Titans opened up the month of December with a 7-6 Shootout win on Saturday night against the visiting Elmira Jackals.
Marcel Noebels spoke to the team’s new attitude after struggling in November.
“December is a new month, we’re going to start over” he said.
Coach Vince Williams echoes the statement.
“December is a big month for us,” he said.
Goals were easily found all game as both teams seemingly forgot how to play defense.
Chaz Johnson opened the scoring for Elmira at 3:56 of the first period when he beat Titans starting goalie Niko Hovinen on an odd-man rush after Titans defender Eric Baier missed coverage at the blue line.
At 12:04 the Titans would tie the game. Jackals forward Kevin Harvey was sitting in the box for roughing and Steve Schultz would take a perfect pass from Flyers defense prospect Tyler Hostetter and beat Jackals goalie Maxime Clermont for the tying goal.
Less than one minute later, Noebels would notch the first of his three goals on the night to give the Titans their first lead of the game.
The lead was short lived as Jackals Captain Jean Bourbeau would score at the 13:12 mark on goal mouth scramble in front of Hovinen. However, at 15:35 Noebels gave the Titans the lead again with his second goal of the game.
At 17:48 former Adirondack Phantoms forward Andrew Rowe would tie it again with a goal from the low slot to send the teams to the dressing room tied 3-3 at the end of the first period.
Even the tying goal was not enough to satisfy the Jackals as Elmira’s coach; Dwight Mullins would be tossed from the game for abuse of officials. This led to an interesting scenario as the Jackals don’t carry an assistant coach leaving the team to coach themselves for the duration of the first.
In order to do this, backup goaltender Marc Cheverie, Captain Bourbeau and one of the alternate captains would stand up behind the bench and call line changes to the rest of the team. For the second period, Elmira’s scout, Jimi Simmons, who had been watching the game from the press box, ran the team from behind the bench.
Coach Williams of Trenton decided to switch goaltenders at the end of the period, and Scott Wedgewood entered the game to start the second frame.
Williams candidly assessed the decision to change goalies.
“I thought I had to do it. I didn’t think the last two goals, the second and third one, it’s one thing if the rebounds there, but a little more fight in it, he (Hovinen) didn’t have enough fight in the last two goals” the coach stated.
Louie Caporusso would quickly greet Wedgewood as he took a cross ice pass from Artem Demkov and beat Wedgewood over the shoulder while Trenton’s Kelly Zajac was off for a four minute high-sticking infraction.
Four minutes later, Noebels completed the hat trick by beating Clermont after taking a pass from Schultz. On the goal, Hostetter picked up his third assist of the night as well. Only a single hat would hit the ice.
Hostetter, who has been a healthy scratch at times this season, spoke about the feeling of his three assist game.
“It is a really big confidence booster,” he said, before adding, “We got the win, which is really good.”
Noebels was humble regarding his exceptional night.
“You see what happens when you shoot the puck, sometimes it goes in, sometimes it doesn’t” he said.
Nearly six minutes later, Andy Bohmbach would give Trenton a 5-4 lead as he would get in on the goal scoring marathon sending the Titans to the second intermission with a one goal lead.
Starting the third, the Jackals came out firing and Bourbeau scored his second goal of the night 45 seconds into the third to tie the game at five all.
Just over 3 minutes later, Noebels put himself in the assist column for the first time as he fed Justin Taylor in the low slot to give the Titans a 6-5 lead.
The lead lasted 13 seconds as Artem Demkov would tie the game at 6.
Schultz blamed the Titans’s skaters for the goals,
“Guys have to be ready, including myself, on that last goal, the sixth goal they scored, we were standing right there and we gotta pick guys up. Good thing is, we got two points,” he said.
Coach Williams also defended the goalie,
“I thought Wedge came in and weathered the storm,” he said, “he got better as the game went on. He’s been a rock for us.”
This would end the scoring until the shootout where both goalies would dominate, but Schultz would score the lone goal of the shootout for Trenton and send the hometown fans home happy with a 7-6 win. Wedgewood made 5 glove saves in the shootout as all 5 shooters for Elmira attempted to go high glove side on the young goalie.
Wedgewood was excited that the shots all went to the same spot.
“Glove hand is where I want you to go,” he said.
Coach Williams was happy with Wedgewood’s performance in the skills competition.
“it starts with your goalie when doesn’t let one in (during the shootout),” the coach said, “makes the job easy, just got to get one out of five (shooting).”
Schultz spoke about his shootout game winning goal.
Just decided to go with it (a five hole backhand deke), and stick with it and it worked out for me,” he said.
The same teams play again tomorrow at 3pm.