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Titans On The Express-way to Defeat

Plagued by a series of slow starts this season, the Trenton Titans managed to avoid digging themselves into an early hole Wednesday night. After weathering an early Chicago Express rush off the opening draw, the Titans settled back and played disciplined, defensive hockey.

Like their parent club the night before, the Philadelphia Flyers, the Titans waited over 10 minutes before getting their first shot on goal. Luckily for the Titans and their fans, the shot led to several other scoring chances soon afterwards.

The offensive chances would wear down Chicago’s defense and Express center Aaron Marvin would be forced to take a holding penalty. Right off the draw, the Titans set up and got to work with Captain Randy Rowe opening the scoring at 15:37 with a one-timer goal off a perfect feed from Rob Bordson.

The strong start and consequential 1-0 lead after one period seemed to play in favor of the Titans who normally get stronger as the game progresses. However, the first 5:09 of the second period would prove costly for Trenton.

Coach Vince Williams summed up the problem in one short sentence.

“We came out for a good first,” he said. “First five minutes [of the second period] we let our guard down”

Just 2:41 into the second period, Devin DiDiomete tapped in a goal off a rebound for Chicago. Wednesday night’s rebounds could not be placed on the goaltending, but rather the defense’s inability to clear the crease.

Vince defended his goalie and placed the blame solely on the defense,

“The goalie’s job is to make the first save,” Williams said. “We’re not hard enough in our end, that’s it.”

Chicago’s Scott Wietecha gave the Express the lead on with a power play goal at 4:29 while Titans Center Dustin Cameron sat in the box for interference.

Just 40 seconds later, Chicago scored what would be the backbreaking goal for the Titans. Anthony Maiani scored into an open net after an Express forward tackled and sat on goaltender Dave Caruso. Despite the fans pleas and Caruso’s angry glare, there was no call for goaltender interference.

Coach Williams’s frustration would show when asked about the third goal

“If there’s a guy lying face down on the ice and there’s a guy on top of him” Vince said. “You got to blow it down. It’s called goalie interference; I think there’s a penalty for that. I thought there was anyway.”

Luckily for the Titans, Wietecha decided to give them a chance to come back as he ran into Caruso long after a whistle for an offsides call. Forward Ryan Hayes cashed in on the power play to make it 3-2 heading into the third period.

Each team would tally twice in the third period, as the Titans defense continued to fail to clear rebounds.

With regards to the rebound goals, Vince pushed the idea that the Titans defense needed to get tougher and more physical saying,

“It’s tap-ins, that just can’t happen,” he said. “We need to box out.”

The Titans failed to tie the score as Chicago killed off the 1:57 power play the Titans ended  the game with after Darcy Campbell was sent off for delay of game.


Notes and Observations

Andy Thomas (D) was a scratch with a right wrist injury. He’s day-to-day and as of game time Wednesday night, he had not been placed on Injured Reserve.

Mitch Versteeg (D) was activated from Injured Reserve before the game. He had one goal and a +2 rating.

There were no updates on injured forwards Matt Germain or Denny Kearney.