7:05 PM, March 23, 2013
Sun National Bank Center, Trenton, NJ
Harper scores hat tricks in back-to-back games
Trenton, NJ - The Trenton Titans, proud ECHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers, defeated the Wheeling Nailers, 7-2, on Fan Appreciation Night at the Sun National Bank Center. The Titans were lead by a six-point night from Jacob Cepis and Shane Harper's second-straight hat trick. Scott Wedgewood backstopped the win with 33 saves.
The Titans finish the season with a 18-14-2-2 home record, their best since the 2009-10 season when the then-Trenton Devils finished 19-10-2-5.
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Trenton (29-31-4-4, 66 pts) opened the scoring with a goal from Mike Ullrich. The center took a feed from Jacob Cepis and put a laser into the top left corner, over the shoulder of Wheeling's Peter Delmas (15-11-0-4, 29 saves) for his 13th of the season. Shane Harper earned the secondary assist to stretch his point streak to four games. He would finish the night with 14 points (8G, 6A) in eight games since rejoining the team, and 18 (10G, 8A) in 11 games overall for the Titans this season.
Wheeling (29-28-3-8, 69 pts) broke through to tie the game early in the second when a shot from Peter Lenes beat Scott Wedgewood (19-21-3-2) for a power play goal. The Titans didn't take kindly to that, and responded with five-straight second period goals. Harper finished a nice pass from Ullrich on a 2-on-1 at 5:28 for the go-ahead goal, and then Cepis added two of his own in a three minute span to push the Titans lead to 4-1. Cepis' second came at 12:20, when he flipped a loose puck over a sprawled Delmas, which was enough to send the Wheeling netminder - 13-2 lifetime against Trenton entering the night - to the bench with the loss.
Bryan Haczyk welcomed his replacement, Scott Darling (11-12-1-2, 12 saves), 1:28 later by burying another chance on a 2-on-1 from Blake Kessel, the D-man's first of three assists in the game. Shane Harper added a power play goal at 15:15 to put the Titans up 6-1 at the end of the second stanza. Harper lit the lamp again on the power play, 4:40 into the third to complete the hat trick. The Valencia, CA, native is the second ECHL player to record back-to-back three-goal games this season (Vock, Utah, Feb 1 and 2) and the sixth since 1997. It was also the seventh hat trick by a Titan this season. Cepis earned his fourth assist of the game on Harper's third goal, tying a season-high for the ECHL with six points in a game. He leads the Titans with 67 (21G, 46A) points for the season.
Wheeling's Zack Torquato scored at 6:56 to complete the scoring, also on the power play. The Titans went two-for-six on the power play, while Wheeling was two-for-four with the man advantage.
The Titans are into the final stretch of the 2012-13 campaign, with all four remaining games against heated division rivals. The team will head to Elmira tomorrow for a matinee showdown with the Jackals at 4:05. Trenton will then square off with archrival Reading for the final time this Wednesday at 7:05 pm before contests with Elmira and Wheeling next Friday and Saturday, both at 7:05 pm. As always, those games 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.