Brandon Avezov had three points while Philippe Doucette and George Haigley each had two points and goaltender Ethan Kavanaugh stopped 27 shots to back the New Jersey Titans to a 4 – 1 win over the visiting Long Beach Sharks to split the “home and home” series between the two teams, with both games being played at the Middletown Sports Complex.
At 4:39 into the first period Doucette opened the scoring for the Titans. As the Sharks Vincent Feeley brought the puck around his own net, he was cut off by Avezov in the near side corner. Avezov passed the biscuit around the end boards to Haigley who sent a return pass to Avezov. As the Bellmore, NY native skated behind the Sharks net, he made a centering pass out front to Doucette who wristed the puck past Long Beach goalie Artem Lantukh to give the Titans a 1 – 0 lead.
Feeley was credited with the Sharks lone goal with 6:06 left in the opening period. Long Beach’s Mark Tisdale picked up the loose puck at his own far side half wall. As he entered the neutral zone, he was knocked off the puck by Colin Grable, but the puck was kicked into the Titans zone. Feeley picked up the loose puck at the near side faceoff dot and he made a centering pass out front but Titans forward Kyle O’Neill, who was back checking on the play, inadvertently redirected the puck past Kavanaugh to make it a 1 – 1 game.
Avezov scored the first of his two successive goals with 4:31 left in the second period. Avezov dumped the puck deep inside the Sharks zone where it was setup by Lantukh. The Long Beach netminder wrapped it around his own far side boards with it was cut off by teammate Vincent Digiorgio. As Digiorgio was being checked off the puck by Haigley, Avezov picked up the biscuit at the top of the circle. Avezov drove towards the net and as he started to cut to his left, he took a wrist shot that beat Lantukh long side to give the Titans a 2 – 1 lead.
With twenty-five seconds remaining in the middle stanza, Avezov gave the Titans a 3 – 1 lead. As the Sharks Sam Brickley tried to bring the puck up along the near side boards, Haigley poked the puck off his stick at the half wall and Avezov picked up the loose puck in front of the net and he took a wrister that beat Lantukh short side for Avezov’s fourth goal of the year.
Brett Bell scored an empty net goal with 3:18 remaining in the game to close out the scoring for the Titans.
Kavanaugh stopped 27 of 28 shots while Lantukh turned aside 29 of 32. Click here for the box score.
The win gives the Titans a 3 – 1 record and six points after four games.