Playing in his first game for the Red Buckets, forward Ryan Miller scored two goals to help lead the visiting New Jersey Titans to a 4 – 1 win over the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks.
Miller opened the scoring at 3:24 of the first period. Pressuring inside the Danbury zone, Alex Blaszak brought the puck from the near side half wall behind the Hat Tricks net and passed it back to Joey Mataviesko at the point. Mataviesko brought the biscuit back to the end wall behind the net and then sent the puck back to Blaszak at the point. Blaszak took a shot that was blocked out front, but Miller picked up the rebound and shot the biscuit over Danbury’s netminder Liam McGibbon for the 1 – 0 lead.
At 7:47 into the first, goalie Donavan Alfama and defenseman Isaiah McKinney were charged with roughing and hooking respectively to give Danbury a 5 on 3. Twenty-seven seconds later the Tricks tied the game. After Danbury’s Elifah Devereaux won the draw deep inside the Titans zone, the puck went to Seth Beagle who was to the left of Devereux. Beagle skated towards the point and passed it to back to Nikita Kovalev. As Kovalev started to skate towards the far side faceoff circle, he made a cross ice, backdoor pass to Reese Tamburo who beat Alfama to make it a 1 – 1 game.
With twenty-seven seconds remaining in the opening period, Jake Spangler gave the Titans the lead for good. Spangler picked up the loose puck at center ice along the near side boards. As the Union Beach, NJ native gained the offensive line, he cut across the top of the slot and took a wrist shot that went under the blocker arm of McGibbon and into the net for the 2 – 1 lead. It was Spangler’s second goal of the season.
Miller scored his second goal of the game at 6:17 into the middle stanza. Playing 4 on 4 hockey, Danbury dumped the puck into the Titans zone where it was picked up by Noah Scherff along the far side boards. Scherff made a backhanded pass to Blaszak at the top of the slot. Blaszak found a breaking Miller just outside the Tricks blueline and Miller walked in all alone on McGibbon and took a backhanded shot that beat the Danbury goalie high blocker side for his second goal of the game.
Thirteen seconds later after Miller’s second goal, Danbury’s Bryce Wallace was called for hooking to put the Titans on the powerplay. The man advantage lasted all of eleven seconds. After the ensuing draw, the puck went back to Sam Senft at the near side point. As Senft started to skate towards the top of the point, he passed the puck over to Roland Ponechal at the top of near side faceoff circle and Ponechal took a wrist shot that beat McGibbon high glove side to make it a 4 – 1 game and close out the scoring.
Alfama stopped 26 of 27 shots while McGibbon turned aside 38 of 42. Click here for the box score.
The Titans have a very busy week coming up in which they will play four games seven days beginning at home on Wednesday against the first place Long Beach Sharks. They will play against the Norwich Sea Captains on Thursday at home, and they will travel to Attleboro, MA on Saturday and Sunday for a two-game series against the Northeast Generals.