Better With Popcorn

Titans End Homestand With Dominant Win

Looking to get a win after a slow 2-7 start, the Trenton Titans needed a quick start to the game at home against the Reading Royals. The Titans would hope to get this boost from new assistant coach Todd Fedoruk who joined the team earlier in the day.
The Titans controlled play early, out-chancing and out-hustling the Royals from the opening draw. The hustle finally paid off around seven minutes in when Ray Macias of Reading was sent to the box for hooking. While the Titans didn’t score on the ensuing power play, they had four shots on goal. They had three strong scoring chances, and the pressure began to wear on Reading.
About 1:20 after the Macias penalty expired, Trenton would out-hustle Reading and force Royals forward Yannick Riendeau to take a slashing penalty. Like the first power play, Trenton controlled the puck and generated quality scoring chances. Unlike the first power play, Ryan Hayes would actually find the back of the net and the Titans took a 1-0 lead.
The domination would continue. Just 45 seconds after the goal, Trenton took the puck right back into the attacking zone and defensemen Mitch Versteeg and Eric Baier would both clang pucks off the post.

Titans Captain Randy Rowe took control on the game’s next goal. He blocked a shot from Macias and skated down the ice on a breakaway to give Trenton a 2-0 lead late in the first. Just before the clock would expire, Dustin Cameron of Trenton would tally again to send the Titans into the first intermission up 3-0.

Baier was pleased with the big lead after the first period.

“It gave us a chance to relax and put the pressure on them (the opponent) for a change,” he said.

Coach Vince Williams was happy with his team’s execution.

“These are good habits,” he said. “This is what happens when you play the system.”

The 3-0 score at the end of one epitomized what was happened on the ice. Trenton outshot Reading 17-12 in the first with the majority of Royals shots from at least 50 feet away. By unofficial count, the Royals had only two scoring chances in the first compared to the 14 for Trenton.

Trenton’s momentum was short-lived in the second as forward Matt Germain took a penalty 1:57 into the period. This Royals power play gave Reading some much-needed momentum.

The penalty led to a few shoving matches after each whistle. There’s a budding rivalry between the ECHL affiliates of the Flyers and the shared affiliate of Toronto and Boston that is very similar to the NHL rivalry between their top clubs.

Titans goalie Dave Caruso made several strong saves in the period as the Royals outshot the Titans 15-14 in the second. Despite even play from both sides, Trenton would continue to pile on where it counted, on the scoreboard. Blair Yaworski made the score 4-0 after a tap-in on a Dustin Kearney slap-pass from inches outside the net with multiple Titans crashing the net.

Baier, who had an unofficial count of seven blocked shots and finished +2 on the night was quick to spread the credit for the domination around saying,

“That (a 4-0 lead after 2) just comes from an all around team effort,” he said.

Baier would then make sure to praise Caruso, who has struggled all season especially with rebound control,

“it starts with Dave in net,” he said. “He played probably his best game all season.”

The third period saw the Titans play a defensive-minded game with the big lead. The Royals broke Caruso’s shutout with two goals late in the period, but there was never really any hope of a comeback. Rowe would tally again as well and the Titans would coast to an easy 5-2 win in Trenton.

Even with the slightly weaker third period, Coach Williams minced no words describing his team’s play.

“The best effort we’ve had [this season],” he said afterwards.

Notes and Observations:

The Titans took off on a 13-hour bus ride to Kalamazoo, Michigan to start a road trip immediately after the game.

Unofficially, Baier lead the team with seven blocked shots. Rowe and Versteeg each had four as well. Trenton had a team total of 22 blocked shots.

Andy Bohmbach was reassigned to ECHL Trenton from AHL Adirondak before the game.

Coach Williams spoke about Bohmbach’s play.

“It’s amazing one guy can do that to your lineup,” he said. “He makes the whole team better and he makes us a lot deeper.”

The win was especially important for Baier.

“It was huge beating a divisional rival,” he said. “Especially since I played for them last year.”

He also spoke on the importance of winning two-of-three at home before the upcoming road trip.

“Great, that’s huge going into this road trip,” Baier said. “We’re gonna have momentum.”

Coach Vince Williams explained the team’s desperation.

“We needed to win that game,” he said. “We had to win that game.”

Captain Rowe was humble when asked about his two goals.

“It felt good, but the win felt great.”