The Trenton Titans suffered their first loss of the season last weekend, but they’re still ranked near the top of the ECHL standings early in the season.
The Titans were able to start off the season 4-0-0 before they recorded their first loss in Cincinnati on Saturday night. Trenton hopes a pair of home games against the Toledo Walleye this weekend will allow them to gain ground in the division, conference, and league.
On Friday night, the Titans walked into the Ford Center and left with a 4-3 victory over the Evansville IceMen, an affiliate for both the St. Louis Blues and Columbus Blue Jackets. Luke Pither’s first goal of the season 5:12 into the final stanza gave Trenton the decision to help keep them undefeated and the IceMen winless. Pither’s tally was the team’s third short-handed goal of the year, as the club experienced their first game of the 2012-2013 season where they outshot their opponent with a 37-23 count in their favor. Mitch Versteeg’s first of the year in the opening period combined with goals from Jacob Drewiske and Stephen Schultz in the second period helped the Titans jump out to a 3-1 lead before two strikes from the IceMen in the final minute of the middle stanza tied the game at three. Scott Wedgewood registered the win with 20 saves on 23 shots to improve to 3-0-0 on the season.
Trenton’s game the following day at U.S. Bank Arena wasn’t as successful, as the Titans lost 6-4 to the Cincinnati Cyclones, an affiliate for the Florida Panthers and the Nashville Predators. Wedgewood allowed six goals on 35 shots for the Titans’ first contest where they allowed six goals since last season’s finale, where they lost 6-4 to the Reading Royals on the road. Blake Kessel had a goal and an assist, while Andy Bohmbach had a pair of helpers to serve as the only Titans with multi-point games. Bryan Haczyk registered his first of the season in the middle stanza, while Eric Baier potted his first late in the third period in Trenton’s second straight contest where they scored at least four goals. Andrew Conboy recorded his second game with at least 15 PIMs this season, as he earned five for fighting and a 10-minute misconduct for being the aggressor in the fight.
Despite losing their most recent game, the Titans have a lot to hang their hat on. Trenton and the Elmira Jackals are the only two teams in the Eastern Conference with eight points. Since both teams are in the Atlantic Division and the Jackals have only played four games to the Titans’ five, Elmira is first in the division and the conference. Trenton is second in the division and fourth in the conference.
Offensively, the Titans are third in goals for across the ECHL, as the Orlando Solar Bears have 23 and the Idaho Steelheads, who have played six games, have 27. As for defense, the Titans have allowed the fewest goals against out of the 11 teams in the league who have played at least five games with 13. The Gwinnett Gladiators have allowed the second fewest for teams with at least five games played, as they have seen 14 shots beat their goaltenders.
Although the Titans didn’t make any transactions this week, two players made their season debut. Both forward Alexandre Carrier and defenseman Ryan Grimshaw took part in their first games of the year in Saturday’s loss. Carrier was plus-2 with a shot on net and two PIMs, while Grimshaw registered two shots on net.
Trenton hosts the Toledo Walleye both tonight and tomorrow, as the squad starts a three-game home stand tonight at the Sun National Bank Center. The affiliate for the Chicago Blackhawks and the Detroit Red Wings sit 10th in the Eastern Conference with a record of 2-1-0, as they are one of only three teams, along with the Cyclones and the Las Vegas Wranglers, to have only played three games this season. The pair of Max Campbell and Terry Broadhurst lead the team with four points, while former Titan Randy Rowe is currently a member of the Toledo team.