Trenton Titans Recap: 11-5-2011
The Trenton Titans hosted the Elmira Jackals Friday looking to snap a four-game losing skid.
Elmira played with just nine forwards and five defensemen instead of the normal 16, due to defensemen Mike Devin and Mario Larocque being suspended.
The lack of able bodied defensemen would prove to hurt the Jackals late.
The first period started off quickly for Elmira as Artem Demkov scored on a rebound to give the Jackals a lead 3:31 into the game.
During the last six minutes of the first, the Titans began to swing momentum back in their favor. Diminutive forward Peter Lenes had several high quality scoring chances around the net.
The Titans started the second period like they had the first, which has been the case in many of their games. Phillips allowed two goals that gave the Jackals a 3-0 lead halfway through the period.
Phillips was candid when asked about his recent play.
“I’ve gotten off to a couple rough starts letting in goals in the first half of first period,” he said. “The team had a great comeback in front of me, they played great defense for me as the game went on.”
With Mitch Versteeg in the box for slashing, Jean Bourbeau took a momentum-changing hooking penalty. The penalty nullified a Jackals scoring chance and ended their power play, which had 1:01 remaining.
The ensuing 4-on-4 and subsequent Titans power play saw several scoring chances for Trenton. Elmira goalie Marco Cousineau turned everything aside.
Cousineau even got some help from his friends.
Jackals defenseman Benjamin Dieude-Fauvel laid down in the crease blocking two shots attempted by Trenton forward Matt Germain. The stops kept Elmira in control of the game.
But the surging Titans would not be denied for much longer.
On an odd man rush, Lenes ripped a slap-shot from 35 feet away to beat Cousineau over the right shoulder with 1:08 left in the second.
Lenes talked about the goal afterwards.
"I’ve had a couple two-on-ones,” he said. “I’ve passed on them with success before, but tonight we needed pucks on net.”
Not only did he get the puck on net, he also shifted the game’s momentum.
“We’re not gonna score three goals on one shift,” Lenes explained. “We’re looking to just go out there and chip away, like we did.”
The third period picked up right where the second left off.
Phillips became a calming presence in net and Lenes continued to dominate the game. He added a second goal to pull the Titans within one.
Just over three minutes later, Blair Yaworski tied the game at three.
Less than 90 seconds after the tying goal, Ryan Hayes would tally on a 40-foot wrist-shot to give Trenton the lead for good.
It was Hayes’ first game back in Trenton after spending last season with the Trenton Devils before starting this season with the Greenville Road Warriors.
“It was great,” he said. “We got three home games coming up, it’s important to get a good start and keep this momentum rolling tomorrow.”
After the Titans escaped with the thrilling 4-3 win, Lenes reflected on the team’s composure.
“Going down 3-0 could have been a snapping point for us,” he said. “But coming back was a big step for us…Showing other teams we can do this is a turning point for ourselves.”
Notes and Observations:
Mitch Versteeg was saved several times by his visor after being hit by at least two errant sticks. He also skated off gingerly after being hit by a puck midway through the second period. He did not miss a shift.
Coach Williams was incredibly proud of the effort the team brought in the third.
“With the effort we had in the third,” he said. “We could beat anyone if we do that for 60 minutes.”
“Our team identity is how we played in the third period. Our strength is working the walls and down low and exposing them [the opponent’s defense] with that. I am proud of that group for coming out and the full effort from everybody.”
Phillips talked about overcoming his slow start.
“I was feeling good all game, couple tough breaks, rebounds, just put it behind me and thought about making the next save,” he said.
He also felt the game could serve as a valuable building block for Trenton.
“The guys are pumped right now,” Phillips said. “We knew bounces would go our way eventually, we need to do the same thing we did today.”