7:05 PM, March 22, 2013
Sun National Bank Center, Trenton, NJ
HARPER'S HAT TRICK PROPELS TITANS
Trenton, NJ - The Titans, proud ECHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers, defeated the Wheeling Nailers, 5-2, at home Friday night behind a Shane Harper hat trick and a 30 save performance from Scott Wedgewood. With the win, the Titans move to 17-14-2-2 at home, and clinch an above-.500 record at the Sun National Bank Center for the first time since the 2009-10 season, when the then-Trenton Devils went 19-10-2-5.
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The Titans (28-31-4-4, 64 pts) jumped out to an early lead thanks to two goals from Harper in the first 5:15 of play. Harper struck first with a power play marker from Jacob Cepis and Stephen Schultz at 4:13, and then beat Scott Darling (11-12-1-2, 30 saves) again on a short-handed, partial-breakaway for his fifth and sixth goals of the season. Harper has recorded at least a point in six of his last seven games, dating back to a Feb 16th contest against Cincinnati. The Valencia, CA native has 9 points (5G, 4A) in that span.
The Titans came out strong in all three periods, adding goals in the opening minutes of the second and third to keep the pressure on Wheeling. Mike Ullrich tallied early in the second to push the lead to three. Ullrich buried a his twelfth of the season after Blake Kessel tipped a shot from Cepis that dribbled through Darling. Cepis added a tally, his 19th, 45 seconds into the third to cap a three point performance.
Wheeling (29-27-3-8, 69 pts) finally broke through late in the third, breaking up a shutout bid by Wedgewood (18-21-3-2) with two quick goals from Germain (PP) and Barton at 16:48 and 17:42. Harper squashed any hopes of a Wheeling rally with an empty netter at 19:05 to complete the hat trick.
Each team went one-for-three on the power play, though the Titans PK unit also added a short-handed tally. Trenton's special teams continue to rank among the league leaders. Their PP ranked fifth-best, and the PK third-best overall, entering play tonight. The Titans are now 3-5-1 against their division rivals, who they will face twice more this season. The next meeting comes tomorrow, when the Titans again host the Nailers in theie final home game of the season. Faceoff tomorrow is set for 7:05 pm, but Fan Appreciation Night festivities kick off much earlier. For information on ticket and Fan Appreciation Night activities, cal 609-341-1100 or go online to TrentonTitansHockey.com. As always, tomorrow's game can be heard on the flagship station 107.7 FM The Bronc, or online at 1077thebronc.com with the voice of the Titans, "The Bronc" Daryle Dobos.