Titans’ patchwork roster can’t overcome Road Warriors

Andy Bohmbach scored both goals for the Trenton Titans Friday night. (Candice Monhollan)

Andy Bohmbach scored both goals for the Trenton Titans Friday night. (Candice Monhollan)

TRENTON, N.J. – It’s hard to miss the slogan lit on the bridge as you cross the river from Pennsylvania into New Jersey: “Trenton Makes, the World Takes.”

That was the case Friday as the Trenton Titans roster no longer had any resemblance of itself and were unable to hold off the Greenville Road Warriors as they took the game, 5-2.

Gone earlier in the day were goaltenders Dave Caruso and Brad Phillips, along with defensemen Eric Baier and Corey Syvret, leaving head coach Vince Williams to scramble hours before the game. In place of the missing pieces, he signed defensemen Bill McCreary and Gentry Zollars and goaltenders Dan Meyers and Peter Dundovich.

“I’ve never had a day like this before,” Williams said. “In the last week, we’ve had a lot of turnover. When you’re integrating new guys and guys you’ve never really seen play and put them into a structured system, it’s obviously going to have its bumps, but it’s part of the game.”

Meyers played in a Federal Hockey League game last week as a fill-in, so something like this wasn’t new to him.

“I was at work this morning and got the call,” Meyers said. “It’s pretty surreal. It’s something I expected after playing last week [to] just come fill in. That’s what I’m going for here.”

The night still changed even as the game began. Meyers received the start, but Phillips was unable to make the flight out and came back to join the Titans and take over in net.

“I’ve been thrown curveballs all day,” Phillips said. “I was eating my pregame meal, getting ready for this game, and then I get a call from Vince saying that I was getting called up and I went to the airport. My flight was delayed, so I was waiting around the airport for awhile and then it got cancelled and I didn’t know what to do. I called one of the guys in Adirondack and he said just go back. Then I called Vince and he’s like, ‘Hey, you can come play if you can make it.’ So I waited for my bags. I didn’t know how to get my bags or anything. Then I got my bags and hopped in a cab and came to the game.”

Despite the confusion and Picasso artwork of the roster, the Titans played a stronger game than was expected against a top team like the Road Warriors, though the beginning didn’t seem like it.

It didn’t take long for the Titans to set up the Road Warriors with an easy chance to take the lead. The team took a too many men penalty 56 seconds into the game, followed 28 seconds later by another penalty, giving the Road Warriors a 5-on-3. Sean Berkstresser sent the puck over the Justin Bowers for the goal at 2:10.

The Road Warriors followed that up with a goal from Brandon Wong at 6:26 to make it 2-0 just as Phillips appeared on the bench. Williams immediately made the switch as Meyers came out in favor of Phillips.

Just shy of four minutes later, Andy Bohmbach got the Titans on the board off a 3-on-2. His shot from the right side beat goaltender Jason Missiaen above the glove to bring the home team to within one.

Even with the day he was having and practically going into the game cold, Phillips made several big saves to keep the game within reach and, with the help of the power play, the Titans tied the game at 2 in the second period.

While on the power play, Ray DiLauro took a shot from the point that was blocked by a Road Warrior in front of the net. The puck rocketed over to Bohmbach and he put it top shelf for his second of the night and 20th on the season at 6:22.

For the Titans, however, that would be the final goal they scored on the night, but it wouldn’t be the last for the opposition.

With Kelly Miller in the box for closing his hand on the puck, the Road Warriors were able to retake the lead at 12:23 of the second. Jyri Niemi’s shot from the point made it past a screen Phillips for the 3-2 lead.

Greenville struck quickly into the final period. Bretton Cameron made a perfect pass across to the right for Marc-Olivier Vallerand to have an easy tip-in and a 4-2 lead 1:19 in.

The Road Warriors extended their lead at 16:25 from Sean Berkstresser and they would take the game at 5-2.

Phillips suffered the loss, though he did not start the game. He made 25 saves after replacing Meyers.

“This league’s about survival,” Williams said. “You’ve got to win, yes, but you’ve got to find ways to survive and this was as good of a test as we’ve ever seen.”

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Categories: ECHL, Ice Hockey, Sports

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