Wedgewood Relief Saves Trenton
Wednesday night in Trenton, the Titans hosted the back end of a home and home with the Reading Royals. The Titans had taken the first decision in Reading last Saturday by a score of 6-2 and would sweep the home and home with a 3-1 victory and improving to 3-0-0-0 on the season.
Once again, the Titans started the scoring early as Blake Kessel tapped in a rebound on a powerplay just 3:07 into the game when he tapped home a cross-crease pass from forward Andy Bohmbach.
Kessel was humble about his goal, crediting his teammates,
“We wanted to get off to a good start, and the powerplay moved the puck well,” he said.
The Titans controlled most of the first period and Niko Hovinen continued his strong play from opening night with the exception of one mistake.
Hovinen caught a slapshot from Royals Captain Yannick Tifu and decided to keep the puck in play rather than cover up, Tifu poked the puck to the far side of the crease where Danny Marshall tapped it into the open net.
Disaster would strike for the Titans early in the second period as Hovinen would take a slapshot directly off his collarbone area. Hovinen dropped to the ice in pain and would be removed from the game in favor of Scott Wedgewood.
Wedgewood compared the early entry to a preseason game.
“It’s more natural right now, like the preseason, when you play halves,” he said.
Wedgewood would stop all 20 shots he would face in relief and pick up the win.
Coach Vince Williams said that further evaluation would be needed to determine Hovinen’s recovery but he hinted it was not good.
“He wasn’t feeling too good, I don’t know if it was the collarbone or the neck,” he said.
He also made it a point to praise Wedgewood.
“He came in cold, he made some pretty big saves,” Williams said.
Williams spoke of the goaltending dynamic,
“They’re both good goalies,” he said, “it’s nice to have that.”
The winning goal was scored by Marcel Noebels as he went in alone on a breakaway after popping off the bench on a line change and accepting a pass from Bohmbach.
In the final minute, Titans Captain Ray DiLauro would get an empty net goal after he bounced a clearing attempt off the glass from 180 feet away.
The Titans Captain said he scored the goal by accident.
“Just tried to clear it,” DiLauro said.
Coach Williams elaborated on the team’s early success after last year’s disappointing season.
“Collectively, we’re just a better hockey team, a little more personality.” He said
Captain DiLauro had an even simpler view.
“It’s always good to win” he said.