Better With Popcorn

Hostetter Nails Down Wheeling

After dismantling the Elmira Jackals 8-1 Saturday night in Elmira, the Trenton Titans looked to keep up the strong play as the Wheeling Nailers came to town.

Brad Phillips made his third straight start in net. He was excited to have the chance to play since Dave Caruso had played the majority of games before he signed with AHL Charlotte last week.

“Playing more brings more confidence to the table,” Phillips said. “Brings more experience too, I’m still learning .”

The strong play carried over as Trenton staked itself to an early 3-0 lead.

Matt Germain started the scoring on a partial breakaway 13:20 into the first period when he blasted a rolling puck past Nailers goalie Patrick Killeen from the high slot. The rolling puck knuckled over Killeen’s left shoulder.

At the 16:15 mark, Dustin Cameron continued his recent surge of hot play scoring his seventh goal in last four games when he beat Killeen unassisted.

Trenton’s history of slow starts this season has meant that early two goal leads are rare. Defenseman Tyler Hostetter elaborated on the Titans mindset to the early lead.

“You’re up by two, they say that’s the hardest lead to keep in hockey,” Hostetter said. “We didn’t quit; we just kept going.”

With the Titans on a power play after Andy Hotham went off for delay of game, Ryan Hayes ended an eight game goal drought. He scored on a feed from returning captain Randy Rowe as he stepped in front and beat Killeen short side.

 “I just kept going, I guess, can’t keep looking at [the goal drought], then it will just get in your head,” Hayes said.  “I saw the guy in the NHL, a year for him to score a goal. But you know eight games, feels good. Get it off the back there”

The second period would feature more of the same dominance from Trenton. And midway through the period, the lamp would get lit again. Hostetter tapped home a feed on a three-on-two odd-man rush off a feed from Andy Bohmbach.

The recent high scoring offense has been something of an anomaly for Trenton; Hayes alluded to a stronger work ethic being the reason for the scoring outburst.

“We just stepped in front on our chances” Hayes said. “It’s nice to get some goals going in for us, finally”

The third period would provide the lone blemish on Trenton’s day as Matt Schepke of Wheeling raced past Eric Baier and eluded a Phillips poke check to break the goalie’s shutout streak at 102:23.

When asked if losing the shutout was disheartening due to the fact that Phillips has not posted a professional shutout, Phillips spoke to his desire for team success rather than individual success.

“It was a good shot, a backhand off the corner bar and in, he can have that,” Phillips said of the goal. “I don’t care about [getting a shutout], I just want the team to win.”

Coach Vince Williams elaborated on Phillips strong performance over the weekend.

“That’s confidence and maturity,” Williams said. “You can tell he was coming out and stopping the puck and playing it well, without second guessing himself.”

Notes and Observations

Defensemen Mitch Versteeg left the game during the third period with an apparent arm injury. Coach Williams stated that he thought Versteeg may have reinjured an old injury and that further tests were needed.

Captain Randy Rowe returned to action after having facial surgery on Wednesday, he played with a full cage.

With the return of Hostetter from the Phantoms, Anthony Pisani was the healthy scratch for Trenton