The Titans Bantam A Black faced another tough opponent from the NJYHL when the NJ Devils came to visit Wall Saturday. The Devils are currently in third place in the Bantam A National Conference with a 12-4-2 record and most likely headed toward the playoffs.
When these two well matched teams met back in September they fought to hard earned 3-3 tie and this game would be no different. After a well played scoreless first period it was easy to see the two teams were not giving anything away in front of the net and goals would not come easy. The Titan bench seemed to get a jolt of energy in the second period when Joe Miller delivered a thunderous bone jarring hit along the boards. The hit noticeably got the boys pumped! Shortly afterward, it was a fluke goal that put the Titans on the board first. The Devil goalie vacated his net thinking a penalty was being called on the Titans, when in fact it was a Devil penalty. With Devil goalie on the bench, speedy winger Conrad Quinn, in his first game back from a broken wrist injury, fired the puck into the open net for the 1-0 lead. Welcome back Quinny!
The Titan defense and Goalie Thomas Wiedmann made the 1-0 lead stand up the rest of the second by putting up a brick wall around the net. With the Devils goalie and “Weeds” clearly on their game, the next goal would be huge. Timmy Behan gave the Titans that huge goal, and a little breathing room, when he found the back of the net off a nice feed from Morton for the 2-0 lead.
Penalties would become a big factor in the third when the Titans found themselves killing numerous penalties including three, 5 on 3’s. Wiedmann and his defensive posse were up to the task and gave away nothing. With less than four minutes remaining, however, the relentless Devils got a generous goal when “Weeds”, recovering from a save, fell awkwardly backwards, allowing an open net goal to the Devils and a 2-1 game.
After closing the gap to one goal, and new life, the Devils applied the pressure on “Weeds”. With the Devil goalie pulled for the extra attacker, the Devils were able to find scoring chances and throw shots on net. “Weeds” and company held off the barrage and skated off with a well earned 2-1 victory.
Sunday’s game vs. the Sharks in AC was one of those games that left you scratching your head. After playing a great game on Saturday, the Titans seemed to have left their game at Wall. I believe that after playing a long season with hardly any stinkers, the odds of one happening become greater. This was not due to lack of effort by the team which battled until the finale buzzer, but sometimes the hockey gods don’t smile on you on a particular day. The Sharks, a big, speedy, and well positioned team got off to a quick start when they scored just two minutes into the game on the always reliable goalie Reilly. This was a really bad omen and the boys just couldn’t seem to shake it off. They didn’t connect on passes, and missed the net with their scoring opportunities. The Sharks held down our shots on net to a season low of 17. The bright side of this loss, however was the fact that no matter how badly we played we were never out of the game, (3-1) and battled till the end.
Not to be overlooked in the loss was the fine play of defense by Dax Conrad as well as “MonkeyBoy” Reilly. Reilly stopped 24 of the 27 shots faced and kept the team in the hunt until the end. Charlie Morton was our lone scorer of the day to keep us from being shutout which hasn’t occurred this year. With next weeks tournament coming up maybe the loss will help the boys refocus and get back to their winning ways. Go Titans!