4:05 PM, November 11, 2012
Sovereign Center, Reading, PA
Reading, PA – The Trenton Titans, proud ECHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers, Came within two minutes of breaking a five-game losing streak . But an Ian O’Connor put back off a rebound in the final two minutes of regulation forced overtime, eventually leading to a shootout where the Reading Royals prevailed, going 2-1 in the shootout, to win the game, 4-3.
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Reading (7-5-0-1=15 points) has now won six straight and five consecutive over the Titans to remain in first place in the Atlantic Division. Even with the point, Trenton (5-6-0-1=11 points) has lost its last six games, with its last five all being played against the Royals.
The night almost belonged to Andy Bohmbach. The Titans’ forward from Hudson, WI, had all three goals – scoring even strength, short-handed and on the power play – to record the hat trick.
His power play tally at 13:01 of the first came 20 seconds into the Titans first man advantage, using a feed from Stephen Schultz, to give them a 1-0 lead. That score held until the second, when during a Royals power play, Bohmbach got a stride past the defense for a breakaway attempt. Philipp Grubauer (25 saves) stopped the initial shot, but Bohmbach quickly redirected the rebound for a 2-0 lead at 9:35.
The momentum shifted a minute later thanks to great transition offense by Reading. David Marshall hit a streaking Alex Berry with a diagonal, three-line pass, in stride on the left wing. This created a quick 2-on-1 with David Vallorani flying down the slot and putting Berry’s pass behind Niko Hovinen (26 saves), cutting the deficit to 2-1.
With a minute left in the period, O’Connor caught Trenton pinching on its power play. Racing down the left wing another 2-on-1 developed. This time it was Berry hustling through the slot and beating Hovinen short-handed to tie the game 2-2.
Bohmbach got his hat trick at 8:33 of the third when from the low slot he redirected an Eric Baier blast from the point to give Trenton the lead back at 3-2. The Titans – who were the aggressor most of the afternoon – kept most of the play in its offense half until 1:42 remained in regulation, when Denny Urban skated nearly uncontested until the Titans’ blue line. He was met there, but his easy wrister made it on goal. Hovinen saw it clearly the whole way, but in attempting to grab it the puck popped out of his glove, setting up O’Connor’s heroics.
Overtime saw most of the good chances go to the Titans, including a back-hander all alone in tight by Bohmbach after Reading’s Brett Flemming lost an edge defending him. The shot beat Grubauer but just missed the top right corner in the first minute of the extra session.
In the shootout, Urban and Marshall scored in Rounds 3 and 4 to give Reading a 2-0 advantage. Brian Haczyk countered in Round 4 to give the Titans one more chance in the finalo round, down 2-1.
Hovinen stopped Kirk MacDonald, but Marcel Noebels couldn’t solve Grubauer with Trenton’s final attempt, sending the 3,723 Royals’ faithful home happy.
Since winning his first professional start, Hovinen has dropped his last four decisions (1-3-0-1), all against Reading. Meanwhile Grubauer (5-3) has won his last five starts – including the last four against the Titans.
After meeting seven times in the first 12 games (Reading 5-2, Trenton 2-4-0-1), the two division rivals won’t meet again until a home-and-home on December 28-29.
After The Horn
For the first time in six games, the Titans did not win when scoring the first goal of the game, though they have recorded a point in each of those contests. It was also the first time they have ever lost a lead when scoring first.
Reading’s SHG was its first of the year. They were third in the ECHL last season with 11 SHG.
Trenton has 4 SHG – all on the road – and 3 against Reading.
Trenton killed off four Reading PP chances, running its streak to 25 straight successful PKs as well as 25 consecutive against Reading.
In this game the Titans became the last team in the Eastern Conference to play an overtime game. Alaska remains the only team in the ECHL not to play in OT.
Including last year, the Titans are 0-7 in shootouts. They were the only team last year not to record a shootout win.