DiDiomete Beats Trenton
For the second time in as many nights, the Chicago Express and Trenton Titans met at the Sun National Bank Center. One night after losing 5-4 with a consistent desire to play hard (save the early part of the second period), the Titans turned in what may have been their worst performance of the season.
The game started on a positive note with Rob Bordson winning the opening faceoff and the Titans almost immediately taking the puck into the offensive zone and starting the cycle. However, things would begin to unravel as Bordson took high-sticking penalty just 25 seconds into the game.
The Titans killed off the penalty and just a few minutes later thanks to penalties to Express forward Pierre-Luc Faubert and goalie Peter Mannino. The Titans had a great opportunity to do some damage with a five-on-three advantage for 1:43. Despite the opportunity, Trenton put little pressure on the two-man advantage and the momentum swung right back to Chicago.
At the 12:58 mark of the period, Tyler Donati of Chicago opened the scoring, beating Dave Caruso on a one-time pass from Devin DiDiomete. Two minutes later, Didiomete notched his first goal of the night sliding a shot between Caruso’s legs.
Titans coach Vince Williams had no answers for his team’s slow start.
“I’m trying to figure out if we looked timid or scared,” Williams said. “We were doing things we haven’t done all season long.”
The first intermission wouldn’t provide any relief as the Express got an early goal from Kyle Ostrow in the second. DiDiomete would also score his second later in the period as fans began chanting “We want Phillips” in reference to Titans backup goalie, Brad Phillips.
There was no goalie change despite the fans pleas. Coach Williams elected to stay with Caruso.
When asked about switching goalies, Williams stated it was not going to happen.
“No, never crossed my mind,” he said. “Dave’s our guy.”
The move to stick with Caruso seemed to be the right choice as Ray DiLauro and Bordson both scored soon after to make the score 4-2 late in the second period.
DiDiomete would have none of a Titans comeback. With just over two minutes left in the second period, he scored his third goal of the night. The goal sent the teams to the dressing room with the Titans trailing, 5-2.
The third period was more of the same dominance by Chicago as Scott Wietecha scored at the 5:41 mark on a one-time shot from the slot from Donati. It was Donati’s fourth assist of the night.
At the 11:20 point of the third period, tempers exploded on the ice as DiDiomete and Titans defenseman Mitch Versteeg tangled in front of the Titans bench. Both players dropped sticks and gloves and grabbed a hold of each other as a melee broke out.
During this melee, Titans assistant coach Todd Fedoruk yelled at the Express players as a crowd gathered near the bench area. Fedoruk also has be restrained by the Titans equipment manager. When all was said and done, Fedoruk, Versteeg, and DiDiomete were all given game misconduct penalties. The Titans would come out ahead however as DiDiomete was given an extra two minute roughing minor.
Coach Williams had no comment regarding the incident since the Versteeg-DiDiomete altercation had his attention.
“I didn’t see [the Fedoruk incident]”, he said.
The Titans couldn’t muster a goal on the ensuing power play.
In the final minute, Tyler Hostetter scored to make it 6-3, and the game would end at that score.
Notes and Observations
Andy Thomas (D) officially went on Injured Reserve with a wrist injury.
Matt Germain (RW) was activated from Injured Reserve.
Luke Pither (F) was recalled to AHL Adirondack before the game.
Trenton fell to 1-3-0 against Chicago this season; they play two more times in Chicago in March.
DiDiomete of Chicago had five goals over the two games in this series.
The ECHL suspended Todd Fedoruk for one game and fined him for his role in the altercation.