Brandon Avezov scored three goals and Simon LaBelle had three points to lead the New Jersey Titans to a 5 – 2 win over the Northeast Generals. The victory enabled the Titans to win two of the three game series at the Middletown Sports Complex.
At 4:58 into the opening period the Generals’ Tyler Kaminski was called for interference to give New Jersey the man advantage. A minute and a half later Avezov scored his first goal of the game.
With time winding down with the extra attacker and the puck inside the Generals zone, Avezov was at the far side half wall and sent a cross-ice pass back to David Posma at the near side point. Posma sent it down low to LaBelle at the faceoff dot and the Ottawa, ON native made a seamless pass out front to Avezov who one-timed it pass Northeast goalie Timothy Pesek to give the Titans a 1 – 0 lead.
After the Generals shot hit the post behind Titans goalie Ethan Kavanagh, the puck came out to Posma at the top of the far side faceoff dot. Posma passed it up to a breaking Brett Bell down the boards. As Bell entered the offensive zone, he was checked hard into the boards but he was able to make a beautiful centering pass to Posma on his right and Posma deked around Pesek to double the Titans lead with 2:36 left in the first.
Avezov scored his second goal of the game at 5:56 into the second period. After Phillippe Doucette won the faceoff draw deep inside the Generals zone, LaBelle picked up the loose puck to the right of Pesek and made a centering pass out front to Avezov who redirected the biscuit past Pesek to give the Titans a 3 – 0 lead.
Avezov would complete his hat trick at 9:24 into the second period. LaBelle picked up the puck along the far side half wall in his own zone and passed it up to Avezov up the boards. Avezov entered the offensive zone on a two-on-one with Doucette. As Avezov reached the faceoff dot, he made a drag move and shot the puck that was saved by Pesek but Avezov picked up his own rebound and tucked it in past Pesek to make it a 4 – 0 game.
The Generals James Clarke scored with 4:40 left in the third period to ruin Kavanagh’s shutout bid. Two minutes later Drew Schemmel scored an unassisted goal to cut the Titans lead in half.
George Haigley scored with 1:46 left in the game to close out the scoring for the Titans.
In addition to Avezov and LaBelle’s three points respectively, four different Titans (Bell, Doucette, Posma and Tanner Smith) each had two points.
Kavanagh stopped 39 of 41 shots while Pesek turned aside 22 of 27. Click here for the box score.
With the hat trick, Avezov is fourth in the league with sixteen total points (10 goals and 6 assists) and in a three-way tie for first in the league with most goals (10).
The two teams will meet again next weekend for a two game series at the Middletown Sports Complex.