The tandem of Matt Germain and Peter Lenes registered all three goals for the visiting Wheeling Nailers, as they handed the Trenton Titans a 3-2 loss last night at the Sun National Bank Center. Germain potted the first two for Wheeling, while Lenes scored the game-winner in the midst of a hectic third period. Peter Delmas posted the 42-save victory, as Scott Wedgewood ended up with the loss despite playing all of 10:50.
With the game tied at one seven minutes into the third period, things got rather interesting in Trenton. It started with Germain’s second goal of the evening.
After he gained a breakaway, Germain ripped a slapper by Cal Heeter’s glove for a 2-1 Nailers’ lead 7:02 into the third stanza. In response to the goal, Heeter took the puck out of the back of the cage and shot it into the crowd. Heeter received a game misconduct for his actions, which meant Wedgewood had to come in cold with his team trailing 2-1 and less than 13 minutes to play.
“I sort of lost my cool,” Heeter said following the loss. “That’s my fault, I have to take responsibility for that. I need to be more level-headed.” The former Adirondack Phantom stated that the shot got away from him and that he’ll wait to hear about further punishments for his actions, although he isn’t expecting the be suspended. (Heeter on game, ejection)
“You have to manage that,” head coach Vince Williams said after the win about Heeter’s competitiveness. “There’s no question he’s a competitor, but you have to channel it the right way. He knows that. He’s apologetic and regrets it. I don’t think it was on purpose, but it did happen.” (Williams on Heeter’s actions)
As the crowd showed their displeasure, play resumed at center ice with a faceoff. Just nine seconds after Wheeling grabbed the lead and Trenton lost their starting goalie in a bizarre situation, Jacob Drewiske rocketed a wrister past Delmas to even the score at two.
The momentum, which without a doubt was entirely in Wheeling’s favor after Heeter’s angered clear, all shifted back to the Titans. With it on their side, Trenton knocked at the door step for the next several minutes, but couldn’t find their first lead of the game. The Titans’ best chance came on a Bryan Haczyk breakaway, which Delmas stopped with his left leg pad to keep the contest tied.
With less than four minutes left in regulation, Lenes produced the decisive goal on an odd-man rush.
Chris Barton led a 2-on-1 for the Nailers with Lenes cross ice. Barton fed a pass to Lenes, as the former Titan crashed the crease. Lenes managed to one-time the shot in before he ran into Wedgewood to knock the goalie over and the net off the pegs. The tally came with 3:49 left, as Trenton couldn’t even the game for a third time despite the fact Williams pulled Wedgewood with 2:08 left in regulation.
“With a 2-1 game and 12 minutes left, I wasn’t really expecting to get in,” Wedgewood said after his four-save loss. “I can say I was a little bit relaxed, but once I got in there it was a normal game.” Wedgewood also mentioned how he didn’t know he was going in until he saw Heeter skate to the bench, as he thought forward Jacob Cepis earned a 10-minute misconduct rather than the Titans’ netminder. Wedgewood’s inability to figure out what was happening at first perfectly describes what it was like at the arena when Heeter received his game misconduct. (Wedgewood on coming into game) (Wedgewood on Heeter ejection)
As for the rest of his start, Heeter and his coach believe the goaltender played well before his ejection.
“I felt like I was playing pretty well,” Heeter said. “Not really happy with how it ended though.”
“I like him,” Williams said. “He’s big, he’s athletic, he plays the puck well, he competes. I’m not going to look at this as anything that will tarnish my opinion of him.” (Williams on Heeter)
To start the game, Trenton found themselves in a 1-0 hole early thanks to Germain’s first tally despite the fact they out shot Wheeling 13-6 early.
On what looked to be an innocent shot attempt, Germain walked into the shot and let go of a wrist shot near the top of the circle to Heeter’s right. The Titans’ goaltender reacted to the shot late, as Germain beat the former Phantom inside the far post for his third of the season off of helpers from Peter Child and Delmas. Both Heeter and Williams said after the game that the shot hit off of the stick of the defenseman defending Germain before it beat Trenton’s goalie.
Down a goal, J.S. Berube entered the sin bin with under five minutes left in the first stanza for a high-sticking minor on Lenes. It was during this penalty kill that the Titans’ shot advantage disappeared, as the Nailers threw everything at Heeter to even out the shot total. Fortunately for Trenton, Heeter answered the call to keep it a one-goal game after 20 minutes.
In the middle stanza, the Titans answered with a goal of their own to make it 1-1 to start the final period.
Shortly after Trenton killed off a Paul Cianfrini cross-checking minor, they created several scoring chances before Mike Ullrich ultimately beat Delmas on a play that was started by his initial shot. Close to the Nailers’ crease, Ullrich ripped a shot that beat Delmas, but rang off the inside of the near post. Although the attempt didn’t find the back of the net, the puck found its way back to the point, where Haczyk had a shot blocked before he grabbed his own rebound and found Ullrich at the side of the cage. Since Delmas was scrambling around from the multiple chances created by the Titans, Ullrich tied the game with ease for his third goal of the season.
The Titans continued to control the puck and produced some more offensive pressure before the period concluded, which allowed Trenton to enter the final stanza with a 28-22 shot advantage, as well as the momentum.
After the aforementioned third period, the Titans suffered a loss and look forward to their road game in Elmira today against the Jackals. The last time the two met in Elmira, the Titans beat the Jackals 8-5 earlier this month on the 18th.
Notes: Lenes was also plus-1 with 5 shots on net and two PIMs. Germain was plus-1 and was 2-for-2 on shooting. Gentry Zollars, another former Titan, was pointless with seven shots on net…Heeter had 23 saves on 25 shots in his first ECHL regular season game. He played 47:02 before being tossed…Alexandre Carrier displayed his physical presence tonight, as he had several monstrous body checks tonight. His biggest hit came in the second period, where he sent Chris Higgins flying into the boards on a clean hit. Higgins laid on the ice for several minutes before he was helped to the bench…Record after trailing in 1st…Delmas is 11-2-0 against the Titans in his career…The Titans dropped to 1-3-1 on the season against the Nailers. Trenton is 9-12-3 against the rest of the Atlantic Division (REA 4-6-1, ELM 4-3-1, WHL 1-3-1)