New Jersey goaltender Matt Ladd turned aside 27 of 29 shots he faced to help lead the visiting Titans to a 4 – 2 win over the Philadelphia Rebels.
Playing in their first game in eleven days, the Rebels looked sharp early on. After a Rebels powerplay had just expired, Mack Byers brought the puck into the Titans zone on a 3 on 2. As Byers moved into the offensive zone, he passed the puck to Auggie Moore on his right. Moore took a wrist shot from the top of the faceoff circle that Ladd made a right pad save but the rebound came out to Peter Zhong in the crease. As Zhong was taking a shot he was pulled down from behind. Ladd made the save but the loose puck was picked up by Jordin Holmes in the slot who put it past Ladd to give the Rebels a 1 – 0 lead just 3:12 into the game. It was the Willow Grove, PA native’s first goal as a Rebel.
New Jersey would get on the board with 7:13 left in the first period. Hunter Alden would bring the puck out of his own zone and headmanned it up to Nick Boyagian at center ice. As Boyagian entered the Rebels zone on a 3 on 2, he was held up by defenseman Diarmad DiMurro. As Boyagian was being pushed aside to the outside he sent a pass to the center of slot where it was picked up by Tate MacDonald. MacDonald took a backhand shot that beat Rebels goalie Eli Billing high glove side to tie the game at one.
Andrew Bellant was called for slashing with 5:15 remaining in the opening period to put the Titans on the powerplay. Titan defenseman Ryan Wheeler took a shot from the near side point that was saved by Billing but the rebound came out high and was swatted to the boards by Kolby Vegara. Matthew Cameron would retrieve the puck in the corner and sent it back to Wheeler at the point. As Wheeler was walking the line he took a wrist shot the was deflected by Cameron and past Billing to give the Titans a 2 – 1 with 4:41 left in the period.
After no scoring in the second, the Titans would enter the third period with a 2 – 1 lead. Rebels newcomer Alex Frye was called for head contact with 10:12 left in final period to put New Jersey on the powerplay.
Titans forward Ryan Naumovski took a shot from the far side point that went wide and into the Rebels near side corner. The puck would come up along the boards to defenseman Eric Manoukian. The former Mercer Chief would send a cross-ice pass to Naumovski who took a shot that Billing made a spectacular wind mill glove save but the puck came out of his glove and Austin Husted tapped in the rebound right before the net had become dislodged to give the Titans a 3 – 1 lead with 9:08 remaining in the third.
The Rebels would cut the lead in half with thirty-three seconds remaining in the game.
After New Jersey iced the puck with 35 seconds left, Titans head coach Craig Doremus took a time out to talk to his troops. With Billing pulled for the extra attacker, the faceoff would take place to the left of Ladd. Brandon Stanley would win the draw and slightly tap the puck to his right where it was picked up by Jensen Zerban. Zerban would take a quick wrist shot that beat Ladd high short side to make a 3 – 2 game with 32 seconds remaining.
Unfortunately, it was too little too late as Todd Goehring would score an empty net goal to give the Titans a 4 – 2 win.
Billing stopped 21 of the 24 shots he faced. Click here for the box score.
The two teams will play their second of three straight games tomorrow at 6:20pm. It is Skate Night with the Rebels immediately following the game.