The New Jersey Titans defeated the Northeast Generals, 5-4 in Game 5, and advanced to the next round of the NAHL postseason on Sunday at Middletown Ice World Arena. The Titans will now play the Jamestown Rebels in an Empire State showdown for the chance to reach the Robertson Cup series with the league’s other division winners in Blaine, Minn., later this month.
The No. 4 seed in the East Division, the Generals nearly pulled off the upset of the No. 1-seeded Titans after winning games 1 and 4, In Game 5, they led 3-0 and 4-3 before New Jersey got a controversial last-second goal from forward Ryan Coughlin. Time appeared to expire before the puck was put into the Generals net on a rebound shot, but the referees called it a good goal. There was no review.
Generals goaltender Cullen DeYoung stopped 50 of 55 Titans shots in the loss, including a glove save on Chris Carroll with 7 seconds left in regulation. Northeast won the draw, but Carroll won possession in the corner and passed out front to a wide-open Coughlin in the slot. DeYoung made the initial save, but was sprawling on the ice and unable to prevent the second shot from going in.
The Attleboro, Mass.-based Generals gave the Titans everything they could handle, getting strong performances from key players including DeYoung and center Ryan Gordon, the son of former Boston College goaltender and New York Islanders and Providence Bruins head coach Scott Gordon (Brockton, Mass.).
Below are notes and observations from some of the series standouts of both clubs based on live and online viewings.