Better With Popcorn

Trenton Titans Recap: 10-26-2011

The Trenton Titans hosted the Gwinnett Gladiators at Sun National Bank Center in Trenton Wednesday night. Trenton looked to rebound from a shutout loss on Sunday. The Titans defense also looked to rebound as they had yet allow fewer than three goals in a game this season.

The Titans got off to a quick start with Matt Germain driving home a rebound past Gladiators goalie Marc Cheverie just 1:56 into the first period. As the period wore on, the Gladiators swung momentum back into their favor with three important penalty kills.

Titans goalie Dave Caruso made several questionable puck-handling decisions which led directly to scoring chances for the Gladiators in the period.

"We turned over the puck...we just didn't cover guys" he said. "It's a team effort...we gotta get the puck out."

Finally, the momentum manifested itself with a goal from Scott Fleming in the final minute of the period when he beat Caruso with a hard wrist shot.

The second period started similarly to the way the first ended. The Gladiators had the early momentum but were thwarted by a short-handed goal from Andy Bohmbach. Although it seemed as if the Titans would take control, they got in penalty trouble once again.

Fleming scored his second goal of the night when he ripped a one-timer on the power play while Trenton's Mike Banwell sat in the box for roughing. His goal tied the score midway through the period.

Momentum was shifting back and forth during the second half of the second frame. Caruso's inability to control rebounds kept the Titans from building on their momentum.

Caruso denied the idea that his rebounds hurt the team.

"I didn't see that many rebounds, they were in pretty good spots," he said. "There are 72 games... it's a lot of games, and every game counts."

The goalie would admit to some communication issues with the defense.

"[Brad Phillips, Titans backup goalie] and I play 2 different styles, there's a feeling out process on us too," he said. "I'm a bit more aggressive...I've been communicating with the D and they've been communicating back. We need to figure things out soon."

Although rebounds were a problem early on, Caruso performed much better in the second half of the period. He cleanly caught Gwinnett's shots and allowed Trenton to control the puck and the flow of play.

In the third, Caruso's woes reappeared and the Titans found it difficult to move outside their defensive zone.

Eventually, Gwinnett's Pat Galivan scored to give the Gladiators a 3-2 lead with 17:27 remaining. Dave Caruso was tangled up with a Gladiator on the goal, but no penalty was called.

The Titans would soon face a huge penalty kill as Corey Syvret was sent off for slashing as he negated a 3-on-2 rush when the Titans botched a line change. With about 10 minutes to go in the game, Gwinnett's Shane Sims tallied a perfect highlight reel goal to extend the lead to 4-2.

On a 2-on-1, Sims took a centering pass from Tyler Murowich and dove to the ice to deflect the puck into the net. Sims ended up in the corner of the rink and the puck was in the back of the net.

The goal would be the game's last as Gwinnett won, 4-2.

NOTES

Titans Coach Vince Williams drove home Caruso's points about the mood of the team still being positive. He also added that in order to win, the team needs to bring a solid 60-minute effort rather than a "15, 20 or 25 minute effort" and that it will come with time.

He said, "you can't let up...it's executing, when you gotta score, you gotta score." He also said that the third goal stung most since "we were where we needed to be, and the puck still went in." When asked if he thought there should have been a goalie interference call Williams stated "it should never have gotten to that point." Williams's frustration with the result showed as he said, "you gotta clear the puck."

The quote of the night came from Defenseman Tyler Hostetter on how to turn things around moving forward: "We gotta go balls to the wall."

All in all, the Titans are struggling right now. Sunday, the team let up in the 2nd period and it led to sloppy and undisciplined play.

The Titans power play unit once again had trouble maintaining any kind of long pressure as they went 0-6 with the man advantage, the team has said taking fewer penalties is a big thing they need to work on moving forward after going on the penalty kill five times during the game.

Defenseman Andy Thomas was quick to point out that the "PK guys are a strength we have," but also added that doesn't mean taking penalties is acceptable, "we shouldn't put (goaltender Dave) Caruso in that situation."