The Trenton Titans may have outshot the visiting Kalamazoo Wings 46-27, but the hosts fell 2-1 in overtime last night at the Sun National Bank Center. Sam Ftorek had the game-winner for Kalamazoo with 1:01 left in overtime, while former Trenton Devil Joel Martin stopped 45 shots for the Wings. Brett Lysak had the opening goal for the visitors, while Jacob Cepis’ 14th of 2012-2013 was the lone goal for Trenton. Scott Wedgewood had 25 saves on 27 of the shots the Wings threw at him, as the overtime loss concluded the Titans’ 1-1-1 homestand.
The decisive goal came when the Wings were on the power play due to a Chad Langlais’ tripping minor with 1:34 left in the extra frame. After Aaron Clarke and Elgin Reid threw the puck back and forth a few times about five yards about at the top of the circle to Wedgewood’s left, Reid eventually slid the biscuit over to Ftorek, who loaded up a slap shot. The forward one-timed the feed through Wedgewood’s five-hole to give Kalamazoo the additional point.
“We knew who the puck was going to the whole time,” head coach Vince Williams stated after the loss. “Number eight. We’ve seen that for 10 years now? Same guy, but that’s what it comes down to. We didn’t execute.”
The victory didn’t come due to Trenton’s inability to try, their defense, or their goaltending. Like Williams said, the Titans lost due to their inability to execute, whether it was several odd-man rushes, a long 5-on-3 power play when they trailed by one, or breakaways or penalty shots in the final 23:59 of regulation and overtime.
“From an execution standpoint, a 5-on-3 power play, breakaways, missed opportunities, it comes down to execution,” Williams said. “That’s the difference of a point tonight.” (More of Williams on execution)
Andy Bohmbach had the best chance of the night to give the Titans a win when he was awarded a penalty shot within the first minute of overtime. Trenton’s captain walked in on Martin before he ripped a shot high and wide without putting a single move on the goaltender to try and draw him out of position. Bohmbach also had a breakaway in the third period, where he also missed the net completely. The team’s leader finished plus-1 with three shots on net, as he and his linemates Kory Nagy and Bryan Haczyk created chances throughout the loss.
What may have been more painful than Bohmbach’s unsuccessful attempt in overtime was the fact Trenton had a lengthy 5-on-3 in the second period, but couldn’t even the score at one.
Less than two minutes after Kalamazoo’s penalty kill handled a Yann Sauve interference infraction, the Wings’ shorthanded unit returned to the ice when former Trenton Titan Mitch Versteeg committed a cross-checking minor. Just 29 seconds after that, Kalamazoo was hit with a bench minor for too many men on the ice to give the hosts a 5-on-3 power play for 1:31. Only 64 seconds after the bench minor Sauve returned to the sin bin, which should have extended Trenton’s two-man advantage.
However, due to an error by the officials, the Titans didn’t fully enjoy the 5-on-3 for the additional 1:23 they should have been awarded. The Wings were wrongly allowed four skaters on the ice at the end of Versteeg’s minor. “I’m still trying to figure that out right now,” Williams said following the loss.
The fact the officials didn’t help the Titans out added on to the frustration of the fact the team couldn’t find the back of the net with a lengthy two-man advantage.
After the special teams’ fiasco by both the Titans and officials, Cepis evened the score on a beautiful play in front off of a rebound he created. After the small forward carried the puck into the Wings’ zone, he had a shot attempt blocked by a Kalamazoo defender before the disc traveled to the middle of the slot. Jumping on the loose puck, Cepis made Martin move from right to his left while he followed the Titan’s backhand before the forward threw on the brakes and roofed a shot to make it 1-1 with a little over five minutes left in the second frame.
Unfortunately for the home team, this was the only tally they could produce in the second period, a 20-minute stretch where they outshot the opposition 21-7. After both teams produced eight shots apiece in the final period, the clubs experienced the majority of the overtime period before Ftorek potted the winner.
As for the game’s first goal, Versteeg created a play that resulted in Lysak putting the biscuit past Wedgewood for the 1-0 lead on the road 31 seconds into the middle period. Versteeg let go of a wrister from the point through traffic, which was redirected twice before the puck found its way to the back of Trenton’s net. After Clarke created the first redirection, Lysak produced the second for a shot that Wedgewood was able to get most of before it squeaked through his right arm and hip.
After a few days off, the two clubs conclude their home-and-home in Kalamazoo at Wings Stadium on Thursday.
Notes: The Titans dropped to 12-11-3 at home…Cepis extended his point streak to three games, as he has two goals and an assist in Trenton’s last three contests. He has eight goals and 15 helpers in 29 tilts with Trenton…Corey Tamblyn and Langlais had the assists on Cepis’ goal. It’s Tamblyn’s second point as a Titan this season and Langlais’ fifth, as the pair has compiled seven assists…Wedgewood has earned at least a point in two of his last three starts, but he is 1-4-1 in his last six decisions. He’s made 20 or more saves in five of those games with the lone exception being his four-save loss when he played the last 10:50 against the Wheeling Nailers on January 26th after Cal Heeter was ejected…In addition to Martin and Versteeg, Kalamazoo’s roster featured other former Titans Harry Young and Tyler Shelast. Young was minus-1 with two shots on net, while Shelast finished minus-1…The Wings also boasted former NHLer Sauve, who finished with three shots on net and four PIMs…Mike Ullrich’s nine-game point streak came to an end. He had eight goals and seven assists before he went pointless last night, his first game without a point since Trenton was shut out by the Cincinnati Cyclones on January 19th…Sauve and Alexandre Mallet have entry-level contracts with the Vancouver Canucks’ organization. Neither recorded a point in last night’s game…The Titans dropped to 0-0-1 against Kalamazoo in 2012-2013 and to 5-3-2 (Cyclones 0-2-1, Walleye 1-1-0, Komets 1-0-0, Wings 0-0-1, IceMen 3-0-0).