Former Titan Lenes Nails Post to Beat Trenton
Heading into the game having lost four straight, the Trenton Titans looked to avoid a season long losing streak of five games. They would have to make this effort without assistant coach Todd Fedoruk who served his one game suspension for an incident in the previous game versus Chicago.
The opponents on a chilly Saturday night in Trenton were the Wheeling Nailers. A crowd of 4430 came to Sun National Bank Center to cheer on the Titans as division rival Wheeling rolled into town.
With the timid effort of Thursday well into the past, the Titans put on a better show in the first period. They outshot the Nailers 9-7 during the opening frame and had more energy than in their previous two games against Chicago. The Nailers matched the intensity well and both goalies, Dave Caruso of Trenton and Peter Delmas of Wheeling.
When asked about the team’s change in attitude, forward Rob Bordson said the credit came from the players.
“We had a little meeting yesterday,” he said, “just talked about playing harder in the stretch run here. The guys took it to heart,”
Caruso credited the overall effort to being strong all over the ice.
“We were committed in all three zones,” he said, “we blocked shots; we were good on the wall, our D made a good first pass.”
The second period continued to be dominated by the netminders as Delmas and Caruso matched each other save for save. However, even though neither team would score, the Titans would lose Captain Randy Rowe for the period after he took a puck to the jaw off a defensive zone faceoff.
Later in the period, Matt Germain would go off for slashing and off the ensuing draw; the Nailers would get a high quality chance as the puck pinballed around the crease before being cleared by Titans defenseman Corey Syvret.
This defensive play would keep the score tied heading into the third. Also, Rowe would return with a full cage and several stitches to play the third period.
Coach Williams spoke to Rowe’s toughness saying,
“He’s a hockey player, he’s our leader. He’s our Captain.”
The third period opened up quick for Wheeling as Paul Crowder would pounce on a puck in front and hammer it past Caruso to give the Nailers a 1-0 lead. However, just as quick as Crowder could score, Rob Bordson of the Titans would get it right back, beating Delmas on the glove side.
Bordson credited linemates Chase Langeraap and Rowe for allowing him to get the goal,
“Langer and Rowe got in on the forecheck. They caused a turnover. Rowe chipped it out front through the defenseman’s legs” he said, “I just waited it out, when the goalie went down, I put it up top shelf there.”
Then controversy would take over. Former Titans forward Peter Lenes would fire a shot past Caruso that clanged loudly off the goal post. After a delay and deliberation among the officials, it would be ruled a goal despite no solid evidence that the puck actually crossed the line.
Caruso held certain that the puck stayed out after the game.
“Maybe it went in, maybe it didn't,” he said, “we'll say it didn't. I think a lot of people would say it didn't."
Bordson spoke to the confusion among the players at the call saying,
“I don’t understand it, I don’t think anyone really understands it,” he said, “They don’t have video replay in this league. That’s not for the players to decide, it’s why you have on-ice officials and off ice officials.”
Coach Vince Williams was less than thrilled about the explanation given to him by the officials.
"'I think it went in,' that's exactly what I heard," he said, "And if you think, and you don't know, then you don't know,”
His frustration was visible as he added,
“I don’t know. I'm at a loss for words. It's frustrating, because it's yes or no. If you don't know, then it's inconclusive in my eyes. That's a game changer,”
Sadly for Trenton, there’s no video replay to conclusively overturn the call and make it correct.
Even a late powerplay after another former Titan Jordon Southorn took a delay of game penalty wasn’t enough for Trenton and they fell by one very controversial goal.
Notes and Observations
Todd Fedoruk served his one game suspension for actions from the previous game against Chicago.
Randy Rowe returned with a cage after needing several stitches, his nose may have been broken as well but the team said he needed to be examined further to determine the severity. He is not expected to miss any time.
Andy Thomas (D) is expected to return next week from a wrist injury.
Chris Berenguer (concussion) and Denny Kearney (wrist/arm) are expected to be done for the rest of the season with their injuries.
Former Titan Peter Lenes (LW) has been on fire in Wheeling with 12 goals in 13 games since the trade on January 5.