Brandon Avezov had two goals and two assists to lead the visiting New Jersey Titans to a 4 – 3 win over the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks for the first win the NA3HL team’s history.
Titans defenseman Colin Driscoll scored the first goal in franchise history just 3:01 into the opening period. Forward Vladimir Gorelov picked up the loose puck in his own defensive zone and passed it up to Driscoll along the far side boards. As the Warwick, RI native entered the Hat Tricks zone, he left a drop pass for Avezov who took a shot that was saved by Danbury’s netminder Nathan Hadley. The shot went off of Hadley’s body and high into the air and bounced right to Driscoll who skated to the top of the slot and took a shot that beat Hadley long side to give the Titans a 1 – 0 lead.
With 1:41 remaining in the period, Avezov scored his first goal of the game on a beautiful setup by Philippe Doucette. Rocco Seery picked up the puck along the half wall In his own zone and sent a cross-ice pass over to Doucette. As Doucette was about to enter the zone a Danbury defenseman fell allowing Doucette to enter the offensive zone on a 2 on 0 with Avezov. When Doucette reached the faceoff dot, he passed it over to Avezov on his right and the Bellmore, NY native redirected the puck past Hadley and into the open net to give the Titans a 2 – 0 lead.
Brett Bell give the Titans a commanding 3 – 0 lead just 1:34 into the second period. After Hadley made a save the puck went to the end boards where it was picked up by Danbury’s Cole Madzey. The Hat Tricks defenseman went to clear the puck off the far side glass, but it was intercepted by Bell. As Bell went to the net, he took a wrist shot that beat Hadley short side for his first goal of the season.
Just six seconds later, Danbury got on the board. After the ensuing faceoff won by Connor Brown, the Hat Tricks center kicked the puck back to Connor Lefkof in the defensive zone. As Lefkof tried to go through the neutral zone, he was knocked off the puck, but the puck went up to Kyle Madigan along the far side boards. As Madigan entered the New Jersey Zone, he took a clapper that beat Titans goaltender Ethan Kavanaugh long side to make it a 3 – 1 game.
Less then two minutes later the Titans regained their three-goal lead. Doucette intercepted the puck at the half wall along the near side boards and passed it downlow to Avezov who sent it back to the far side point to Randall Greene. The St. Louise, MO native took a slapshot that was saved by Hadley but the rebound came out to Avezov who buried the rebound into the open net to give the Titans a 4 – 1 lead.
At 4:33 of the middle stanza, Avezov was called for slashing to give the Hat Tricks the man advantage. Fourteen seconds later Brandon Cope cut the Titans lead in half. After the ensuing faceoff, Titans forward Giovanni Russo went to clear the puck, but it was intercepted by Madzey at the blueline. As Madzey did a buttonhook, he passed it over to Cope on his right that the Danbury forward took a clapper that found its way through a screen and past Kavanaugh to make it a 4 – 2 game.
Madigan scored his second goal of the game just 1:42 into the third period to close the Titans lead to one but it wasn’t enough as New Jersey held on for its first win.
Hadley turned aside 24 of 28 shots while Alex Tysymbalyuk (who left the game due to a leg injury) and Kavanaugh combined to stop 49 of 52 shots. Click here for the box score.
The two teams meet again tomorrow at 1:00 PM at the Danbury Ice Arena.