Philippe Doucette scored a pair of goals and Ethan Kavanagh turned aside all 49 shots he faced to help lead the visiting New Jersey Titans to a 5 – 0 win over the Northeast Generals to take game one of this best of three NA3HL East Division Finals series.
Doucette scored the eventual game winner with 6:28 left in the first period. Brandon Avezov intercepted a Generals pass at center ice and brought the puck up along the near side boards and into the Northeast zone. As Avezov reached the half wall, he avoided the check of two Generals, skated to the far side corner and made a centering pass out front to Doucette who one-timed it past Northeast goaltender Patrick Colburn to give the Titans a 1 – 0 lead.
The Titans took a two-goal lead midway through the second on Jonah Sabatini’s first goal of the playoffs. As the Generals’ Jake Hosszu entered the Titans zone, he was knocked off the puck by Justin Cohn and the loose biscuit was picked up by Lucas Salas who head manned it up to a breaking Sabatini. As Sabatini gained the line on a 2-on-0 with Zach Cafaro, he took a wrist shot from the slot that went through Colburn’s five hole and into the back of the net.
Doucette scored his second goal of the game with 3:25 into the final period. With play inside the Generals zone, Avezov was able to knock a Northeast defender off the puck at the end wall and made a centering pass out to Brett Bell. Bell took a shot that blocked out front, but the rebound came right out to Doucette who buried it past Colburn for his fourth playoff goal of the season.
Avezov made it 4 – 0 with 7:16 remaining in the game. After the Generals dumped the puck deep into the Titans zone, Kavanagh retrieved the biscuit to the right side of his cage and he sent it up along the end boards where it was intercepted by Northeast’s Nick Ramm at the far side half wall. Ramm was knocked off the puck by Bell and the loose puck was picked up by Cohn who pitch forked it into the Generals zone. Avezov outhustled two Northeast defenders, picked up the puck, stopped and took a wrist shot that beat Colburn short side for this fourth goal of the playoffs.
Nick Byon put the game of reach with his first goal of the playoffs to close out the scoring.
It was Kavanagh’s first junior hockey shutout. Colburn stopped 20 of 25 shots. Click here for the box score.
Game two will be played tonight at the Middletown Sports Complex. The puck drop is at 7:00 PM. Admission is free, and all fans will receive a free team photograph.