You probably couldn’t have asked for two games more different than one another. After the Knights held on to a 1-0 victory Friday over New Jersey, the Saturday night rematch featured a whopping 14 goals in what turned out to be an 8-6 win for the Titans at Middletown Ice World Arena.
Wilkes-Barre struck first in the game just 52 seconds in when winger Jacob Badal rushed down the right side of the ice, snapping a shot past Titans’ goalie Brandon Perrone. Badal would be the shining star in this game for the Knights, with the rookie posting his first multi-point NAHL game, finishing the evening with one goal and three assists.
At the 6:47 mark, Sacha Guillemain forced a New Jersey turnover at the blue line and went ahead for a breakaway, beating Perrone five-hole for the 2-0 lead.
Zach Stejskal got the start in net after his dominant performance Friday in what was a 53 save shutout. The goalie was blitzed yet again by scoring chances from New Jersey in the first, only this time the Titans were able to crack the code.
Michael Outzen scored the first New Jersey goal after smashing home a pass gifted by Chris Garbe right in front of the crease. That goal would mark the first of four the home team scored in the opening frame. All four were scored within 5:45.
Before the buzzer rang, Knights’ defenseman Luke Robinson helped inch his club closer to a comeback with a power play shot from the deep slot that was tipped in by center Gabe Temple to make it 4-3. Temple had a two goal night, adding another man advantage mark in the third period.
The scoring didn’t finish there. The rivals in red found the back of the net three more times in the second. Stejskal’s night in goal was done after two periods, with the keeper surrendering seven goals on 30 shots. His fifth goal against came on a Titans’ power play when a mad scramble in front never afforded Zach the chance to cover the puck. This allowed Thomas Lacombe to find the loose change.
After Shane Haviland made it 6-4, New Jersey’s power play saw time again following Adrian Danchenko being assessed a double-minor for high sticking. Kyle Jeffers cashed in on what was the third power play goal for the Titans in their win by simply walking in-between the circles to fire a wrist shot past the blocker of Stejskal, making it 7-4.
Danchenko tied the game at four a piece to start the middle period before New Jersey continued their onslaught. The longest tenured NAHL-Knight scored with a one-timer from the left side of Perrone, beating the goaltender in the splits.
More fight came from Tom Kowal’s club in the final period that began with Temple’s early power play goal, where he had an entire net to shoot at after Perrone fell out of position. Temple stood at the left side of the cage and slid the puck in for his second of the contest and ninth of the season.
Like New Jersey, the Knights also benefited from their power play with three goals of their own. The last came from Jake Fuss, who got set up with less than three minutes to go. Temple hovered around the high part of the zone and found a lane to pass to Fuss, who flicked in a shot in the slot, giving Wilkes-Barre/Scranton hope before Lacombe scored the empty net goal to help New Jersey reach a split with the Knights on the weekend.
Wilkes-Barre/Scranton sent Samuel Vyletelka to the net for period three. The NHL Central Scouting List net minder stopped all seven shots that came his way. Perrone took home the win for Titans, recording 38 saves. The Knights outshot the Titans 21-8 in the third.
Both teams scored three power play goals. Wilkes-Barre went three-for-seven, while the opposition produced in three of their six.
Saturday’s loss dropped the gray and blue to 6-12-1.
New Jersey improved to 13-7.
Next up comes more home hockey for Wilkes-Barre, as they prepare to host a pair of games against the Jamestown Rebels on Thursday and Friday afternoon at Revolution Ice Centre