The Norwich Sea Captains dropped a tightly contested affair to the New Jersey Titans 3-2 in a shootout on Sunday, October 2 in North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) action at the Middletown Sports Complex. Tim Hayden recorded a goal and an assist and rookie goaltender Presley Patrin was the hard luck loser in the Norwich net despite making 29 saves and acquitting himself very well in his NA3HL debut.
The visiting Sea Captains drew first blood just 1:31 into the action when Teagen Beier collected a rebound in the New Jersey slot and tucked the puck around the Titans’ netminder. Chris Hamilton and Hayden assisted on the goal. After New Jersey knotted the game at one goal apiece midway through the opening period, Hayden gave Norwich a 2-1 lead with 3:05 left in the first when his one-timer off a smooth feed from Shane Mazur found the back of the net. Sava Makarenko earned the second assist on the goal.
Neither team was able to score during the middle period, but New Jersey evened the score at 2-2 5:15 into the third period. The Titans took advantage of a Sea Captains defensive lapse to send the game to overtime, and eventually the decisive shootout, despite Jack Kinahan hitting the crossbar on a great offensive chance in the waning seconds of the third period. Brian Essing and Angelo Donzella were successful on their shootout attempts, but Kinahan hit the post with his offering and Nicolas Piluso was turned away by the Titans’ goaler while New Jersey connected on three of their four shots to seal the 3-2 decision and earn the extra point in the standings.
Norwich’s solid specialty teams play continued as they netted a power play goal in five attempts and held New Jersey scoreless on four opportunities with the man advantage, including one in overtime. Patrin made eleven saves in the third period and then five in overtime to help his team earn a point.
“I was very impressed with Presley Patrin in today’s game. He played well and confidently, particularly considering that this was his NA3HL debut. We got a bit of bad luck with Jack Kinahan hitting the crossbar late in regulation and then a post in the shootout. If either of those pucks go in we head home with the W, but we had to settle for the single point today,” said Head Coach Kevin Cunningham.