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HOCKEY: Titans use three-goal second period to top SMCC

A wild second period highlighted the game between the Titans hockey team and the St. Mary Catholic Central Falcons on Wednesday night.

The Titans’ strong start and quick finish helped them close out SMCC by a final score of 5-3, but it was their ability to trade punches with the Falcons in the second period that won them the game.

Brandon Robert of Southgate scored the lone goal of the first period when an unforced SMCC turnover led to a quick breakaway score.

The Titans took the 1-0 lead into the first intermission and Titans Coach Pat Jesue said it was refreshing to get off to a quick start for a change.

“I thought we came out and started the way we wanted to and that has not been the case this season,” Jesue said. “We’ve been battling from behind a lot so starting with a lead was nice, but at the same time we have to play a full 51 minutes.”

Southgate’s fore-check imploded a bit in the second period when they allowed three goals, but they were able to roll with those punches and net three of their own.

The Titans scored two goals in 57 seconds, one by Brendon Kucharczyk and then another on a penalty shot by Bryan Bernier at the 8:40 point of the second period. SMCC responded by scoring two goals in thirteen seconds to all but erase Southgate’s three-goal lead in the blink of an eye.

With 5:13 remaining in the second, Dustin Crawford hopped out of the penalty box and grabbed a stray puck in stride. He was stopped on the breakaway but still got the assist, as Adam Ibach hammered home the rebound to make it 4-2 Southgate.

SMCC’s Patrick Nicholson capped off a wild offensive period when he scored a power play goal on a slap shot from the left circle. The score cut the Titans’ lead to just 4-3 heading into the second intermission and was SMCC’s second power play goal of the period.

“We have to stay out of the box,” Jesue said of the penalties. “I think we gave up five shots on one of the power plays. That’s something we’re definitely working on; keeping these guys’ heads on straight.”

Southgate’s shaky penalty kill got put to the test promptly in the third period but they were up for the challenge, surviving an SMCC 5-on-3 attack early in the third. And with 7:32 left in the game, Bernier put the nail in SMCC’s coffin, scoring his second goal of the night on a rebound assisted by Casimer Wieleba.

Titans’ goalie Dominic Alderman stopped 17 shots in the win. Southgate scored five times on 25 shot attempts.

Now 2-2, the Titans will hit the road to face the same SMCC team next Wednesday, this time at their place in Monroe. Coach Jesue said he’s looking forward to the rematch.

“This one got a little heated so that one is going to be fun. I also found out we’re playing them again in a Christmas tournament later on in December so that’ll be three games in under a month. They always have a light bench but always make up for it with a lot of energy.

“Our guys know we can’t take anything for granted and we can’t take them lightly next time out.”

Last Updated: 12/5/2013 12:25:46 AM EST

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