The New Jersey Titans will begin their first ever appearance in the Fraser Cup playoffs starting tomorrow against the Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks in a best of three series. The first game will be played at the Danbury Ice Arena at 7:00 PM while the second contest will be held at the Middletown Sports Complex at 3:00 PM on Saturday. Should a game three be needed, it will be played on Monday, April 5 at 12:30 PM in Danbury.
This will be the Titans first home league game at Middletown since November 18, 2020 when they defeated the Long Beach Sharks 4 – 3 in overtime. Then came the COVID restrictions. The Titans were then forced to temporarily relocate to Massachusetts to resume play in February and to conclude their regular season, which ended this past Sunday against the Bay State Bobcats.
Jr. Hat Tricks vs. Titans Overview
These two teams met to start their respective season back on October 15 and 16 in Danbury when the Titans swept the opening series. Since then, they have met six times. In all, Danbury has won five of the eight games by a combined score of 30 to 22. The last time they played each other was on March 24 with the Hat Tricks winning 4 – 2. During the regular season, each team recorded a shutout, and except for one game, the winning team won by no more than two goals (Danbury defeated the Titans back on February 10th 7 – 0. It was the Titans second game back after the hiatus).
Connor Lefkof led the Tricks with eleven total points (all assists) against the Titans while Misha Mshar scored the most goals against New Jersey with six. The Jr. Hat Tricks went 7 for 27 (22%) on the powerplay and their goaltenders had a combined 2.65 goals against average and .897 save percentage with one shutout (Nathan Hadley).
Brandon Avezov led the Titans with thirteen total points (6 goals and 7 assists) and goals (six) against the Jr. Hat Tricks. New Jersey went 4 for 25 (16%) on the powerplay. Titans netminders Ethan Kavanagh and Grant Goodson had a combined 3.50 goals against average and .914 save percentage with one shutout (Goodson).
Jr. Hat Tricks Overview
The Hat Tricks finished in second place in the East Division with a 23-13-0-0 record for 46 points – 10 more than the Titans and 18 behind regular season division winner Northeast Generals. They are coming off of a 6 – 1 home win against the Sharks and they had won seven of their last ten games (they have won four straight, including the March 24 game against the Titans).
The Tricks scored 144 goals (fifteenth in the league) and allowed 123 (thirteen in the league). Danbury was 35 for 153 (22.9%) on the powerplay (17th in the league). They allowed eight short-handed goals. The Tricks were 85% efficient on the penalty kill (third in the league).
Nick Cullinan led the Tricks with 44 total points (25 goals 19 assists) as well as goals (25) and game winning goals (six). Nikita Kovalev and Mshar each had a team best +21. Kyle Madigan led the team in penalty minutes with 146.
Danbury’s goaltenders had a combined 3.34 goals against average and .898 save percentage with one shutout (Hadley).
The Titans finished their inaugural season in third place with a 16-15-1-3 record for 36 points. They played the least number of games in the NA3HL (35). They were 28 points behind division winner Northeast. They are coming off a 5 – 3 road loss to the Bobcats. They finished the season winning three of their last ten games (they lost their last four regular season games).
The Titans scored 111 goals (22nd in the league) and allowed 125 (14th in the league). New Jersey was 16 for 66 (24.2%) on the powerplay (15th in the league). They allowed one short-handed goal. The Titans were 65.8% efficient on the penalty kill (26th in the league).
Avezov led the team with 64 total points (27 goals and 37 assists) and goals (27). Philippe Doucette was second on the team with 40 total points 20 goals and 20 assists). Avezov and Doucette each had four game winning goals. Avezov had a team best +50. Eyan Gonzalves-Helm led the team in penalty minutes with 104.
New Jersey’s netminders had a combined 3.35 goals against average and .908 save percentage with two shutouts (both Goodson).