Archive for December, 2012

Game 31: Post-Game Notes

December 31, 2012

Game 31: Pre-Game Notes

December 29, 2012

5:40 PM — Connor Goggin and Alexandre Carrier scratched tonight…Paul Cianfrini in, and Marcel Alvarez is playing.  The Goggin scratch is long overdue, just don’t think he earned it after last night.  He didn’t stand out as having any particularly boneheaded plays.  But it’s good to see Alvarez in there.

Cianfrini will wear #8…David Laliberte had that numbe on his helmet at the morning skates, but is now listed as #10.

Carrier didn’t really bring much to the table last night…he finished checks, but everyone’s supposed to do that.  He had the one fight, but that arguably didn’t do too much.  Good guy to have around, but he really needs to develop his skills more…there’s a reason he rarely plays, look at it that way.

Scott Wedgewood in net, opposed by Philipp Grubauer.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Undersized Cepis Making Big Impact With Titans

December 29, 2012
Jacob Cepis has posted eight points in ten games for the Titans since being traded from Idaho

Jacob Cepis has posted eight points in ten games for the Titans since being traded from Idaho

At the time, the acquisition of forward Jacob Cepis seemed to be a bit overlooked.  Then again, such a reaction is pretty typical upon first glance of Cepis himself.

Listed at 5-foot-8 and 175 pounds, the Parma, Ohio native wouldn’t be the first member of the Titans to standout from a physical standpoint were you to line them all up.  But, in just ten games with his new squad following a trade from the Idaho Steelheads, Cepis has been the best player on the ice at times.

After a 45-point season in his rookie year, Cepis returned to Idaho for a second season and was on nearly a point-per-game pace in his first 15 games with the club.  But things weren’t as peachy as the stat sheet would indicate, apparently.

“I think it was kind of a mutual thing between me and the coach there,” Cepis said.  “Things just weren’t working out for me there, I didn’t think I was being used the right way.  So, we just went a different path and I ended up here.”

The 25-year-old was acquired from the Steelheads for future considerations earlier this month, and there was certainly some surprise from a now-former teammate that he’d been sent packing.

“He’s a good player, and he had a really good year last year,” said Steelheads forward Austin Smith, who was a Hobey Baker finalist with Colgate before turning pro.

“I didn’t really know him until I got here, but he’s a great guy to be around.  I was actually really surprised that he left here, he’s a skilled player.  I think we just have so many skilled guys on this team, I think he was looking for more of a dominant role maybe.  But he’ll do well where he is.”

Cepis, who admitted he was “terrible” in his first few games, has seemed to find his groove after making the difficult transition from coming out west.

“It was an adjustment for me, because the systems and everything were different,” he said.  “As for the hockey, it’s pretty similar.  Maybe in the West, there might be a little bit more fighting.  But there might be a tad more skill in this division, so that’s pretty good for me.”

And so too, says Titans head coach Vince Williams, has Cepis been good for the Titans as well.

“He’s been good, he’s really been buying in to what we’re trying to do,” he said.

“He’s a good personality to have, and he can finish and make plays.  He can skate, he gets in on the forecheck.  For a guy who’s not the biggest kid, he plays hard.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Suspension, Fines Issued For Last Night’s Sovereign Center Slugfest

December 29, 2012

(ECHL PR) PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL on Saturday announced the following fines and suspensions.

Trenton’s Taylor fined, suspended

Trenton’s Justin Taylor has been suspended pending a review and fined an undisclosed amount as a result of his actions in ECHL Game #343, Trenton at Reading, on Dec. 28.

Taylor was assessed a match penalty under Rule #46.14 at 13:39 of the third period.

Taylor will miss Trenton’s game vs. Reading tonight (Dec. 29) and will have a hearing with ECHL Hockey Operations next week.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the ECHL and the Professional Hockey Players’ Association, player fines collected by the ECHL are given to the PHPA for its ECHL Player’s Hardship Fund.

Trenton’s Mangene fined

Trenton’s Matt Mangene has been fined an undisclosed amount as a result of his actions in ECHL Game #343, Trenton at Reading, on Dec. 28.

Mangene was assessed a major penalty and game misconduct for spearing under Rule #62.5 at 12:20 of the third period. He is fined under Rule #28 – Supplementary Discipline.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the ECHL and the Professional Hockey Players’ Association, player fines collected by the ECHL are given to the PHPA for its ECHL Player’s Hardship Fund.

Reading’s Paquette fined

Reading’s Danick Paquette has been fined an undisclosed amount as a result of his actions in ECHL Game #343, Trenton at Reading, on Dec. 28.

Paquette was assessed a game misconduct for aggressor under Rule #46.2 at 12:20 of the third period. He is fined under Rule #28 – Supplementary Discipline.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement between the ECHL and the Professional Hockey Players’ Association, player fines collected by the ECHL are given to the PHPA for its ECHL Player’s Hardship Fund.

Game 30: Post-Game Notes

December 29, 2012

There weren’t a lot of Titans fans in Reading on Friday night, but those who did come certainly got quite a show.  You can read my game story in the paper here for more on the Sovereign Center slugfest, but I did want to pass along Vince Williams’ complete comments from last night as well.

And for as critical as he was of the officiating, and that quote is in The Trentonian, Royals head coach Larry Courville took it a step further with Reading reporters, saying he felt referee Chris Pitoscia should be evaluated by the league for letting the game get out of control last night.  There was only so much he could have done, surely…but things got completely out of hand in the third period, and both teams were one bad decision away from a full 18-on-18 brawl at the “end” of the game after the final whistle was — and this was admitted by both sides — horribly botched.

Anyway, here’s what Williams had to tell me — I was the only writer in the Trenton room — after the game:

“It was evident that a lot of the (early) goals were just little stick battles…we just had to chalk (the first two periods) up as a good dose of reality.  We’ve had some success because we’ve been working hard and playing the right way…we won the (third) period going into tomorrow.  They went out after the second, and we talked about what we weren’t doing right and how we can make up for it, and that’s by doing things hard.  And that’s the good thing, it’s easy to fix when we just get back to the structure.”

“We put ourselves (down 5-1) by not working.  Nobody quit, nobody mailed it in.  We went out and got a couple bounces and had a couple guys sticking up for each other and a few fights.  Guys respond because they’re a little bit pissed off, and that’s the kind of response you want.  You don’t want anything stupid or dirty, but you want guys  to have a high care factor.  You wouldn’t have had the period you had if you if it didn’t affect them.  We weren’t very good in those first two periods, but we have to be that much better tomorrow.”

“I still think there was five seconds left in the game.  The clock ran down, and that was the second time they did it in the third period.  That’s five seconds in the third period, that’s a draw in the neutral zone.  One little play, it’s a shot.  That shot can be a goal, I don’t know.”

“We play them tomorrow.  We don’t want suspensions and stuff like that, we don’t know what’s going to happen.  At least someone did something about it.  And it wasn’t just one guy…Slater, Carrier, Mangene, Taylor…it’s part of the game.  It’s a rivalry and it’s heated up.  I’m not saying that we sent guys out, that’s not the case, but guys took matters into their own hands, and sometimes it happens in the game and the heat of the moment.  It’s emotion because they’re upset with what happened, and that’s how they responded.  But it should have been stopped with the instigator (on Paquette) with Mangene.  Granted, he did what he did, but (Paquette) still had his gloves on (when he was attacking Mangene after the spear) and that could have been ended right there, and it didn’t.  But, you’ve got to take the positives from a game like this and move on and go back to work.”

“(This series) has been like that ever since Trenton and Reading have been in the league.  We play each other, this is what, game nine?  We’re 30 games in, that’s one third of our game total.  So there’s certainly going to be a rivalry, but that’s part of the culture of this league, and it’s something that stemmed from the days when I played.  I played against Larry, we both know how this rivalry works and what it’s about.”

“Two points tomorrow is bigger than anything, than settling a score.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 30: Pre-Game Notes

December 28, 2012

6:15 PM — Sorry these are so late, was busy stuffing my face with the press food here…which blows the doors off of Trenton’s spread.  Sorry.  Anyway, Sergey Kostenko makes his pro debut in net for Reading…Marcel Alvarez will be the last scratch for the Titans tonight.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 30: Morning Skate Notes

December 28, 2012

12:45 PM — Sorry these are a little late, but I had to start the process of getting out to Reading as soon as I left the rink…

The big news, as you’ve seen by now, is the Titans trading Andrew Conboy (pictured) to the Cincinnati Cyclones in exchange for 23-year-old defenseman Paul Cianfrini.  Cianfrini, who had been playing for the Nailers, was acquired by Cincinnati as future considerations from a previous deal and then subsequently flipped to the capital city.

The 23-year-old has six assists in 19 games with Wheeling this season — he played last year with Toledo — but I’m told he has the capability to be a power play quarterback.

“We needed to address the back end and protect ourselves given the fact that we only had six defenseman here and Marcel (Alvarez) will be leaving,” Titans head coach Vince Williams said this morning.

“With the demand for defensemen right now in the league, it’s going to be tough to acquire a good defenseman the longer you wait.  Everything I’ve heard about Paul is that he’s solid and coachable, a good kid that just needs to find a home and fit in.  But to get something, you have to give up something.  We have an influx of forwards, and with the signing of Laliberte and the potetantial of getting more guys, it’s the nature of the business.  It’s a business decision based on what our needs are.”

Niko Hovinen will start in goal for the Titans tonight — Sergey Kostenko has to get one of these three games for the Royals, right? — and Justin Taylor and Alexandre Carrier will both be back in the lineup tonight.  Kelly Zajac, as had been the plan all along, will sit out the second game of the 3-in-3 as a precuationary measure to preserve his groin and a defenseman will likely sit as well, with Matt Mangene sliding back to the blue line.

“We’re looking to add some size and some grittyness on the road,” Williams said.  “We have the ability to make some adjustments.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Conboy Traded, Cianfrini Acquired

December 28, 2012

I’ll have more later today, but can report from the morning skate that Trenton has dealt forward Andrew Conboy to the Cincinnati Cyclones in exchange for defenseman Paul Cianfrini.

Cianfrini, who had been playing with Wheeling, was initially acquired as futures by Cincinnati and then flipped to Trenton.

More on this from the rink in Reading tonight.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 29: Pre-Game Notes

December 27, 2012

5:35 PM — Alexandre Carrier, Andrew Conboy and Justin Taylor will be your healthy scratches…

4:05 PM — It’s now official…the Titans have traded forward Ryan Hayes to the South Carolina Stingrays.  Hayes had clearly fallen out of favor with Vince Williams, being scratched for lengthy periods of time.  In the 12 games he did play this season, he scored three goals and added three assists.

laliberte

3:15 PM — Seems like there are some things to get to this afternoon.

One, yes…the Titans have signed forward David Laliberte (pictured) to a contract.  Yes, that had been in the works for a while, and yes that’s what I was alluding to about a week back.  Laliberte skated with the team this morning and wore #8, but he has yet to be officially added to the roster…which should be coming in an hour or two.  An additional transaction will need to be made to get him on the roster.

I wanted to wait until the move was official, but I was tipped off by some fans who had the information sent to them in an e-mail in who and who not to pick in the Three Aces Pick Em’ Challenge.  So.  Yeah.

Laliberte, who played in 11 regular season and one postseason contest for the Philadelphia Flyers in 2009-10, had not played since suiting up for something called Wolfsburg Grizzly Adams in Germany last season, for whom he posted a 20-10-30 line in 50 games.

The 26-year-old most likely won’t play tonight, and it could be another week before he sees game action.

Also, Phil DeSimone was named the ECHL Player of the Week.  DeSimone, who you might remember from such films as “the guy Andrew Johnston got paper moved to Adirondack to accommodate for three games,” scored three goals and added two assists during his brief stay in the capital city.  Keeping in mind that he’d need five games to be playoff eligible, I’m curious if we’ve seen the last of him here.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 29: Morning Skate Notes

December 27, 2012

11:20 AM — Just got done watching the Titans skate, and there sure were a lot of them…15 forwards, 6 D and 2 goalies were out there on the ice about nine hours before the start of the first game of a pretty critical three-game set against Reading.

Also, if you missed my Kory Nagy feature in The Trentonian, check it out here.

I spoke to Jacob Cepis for an upcoming short feature — no pun intended, of course — and with head coach Vince Williams about a few pressing topics, starting with the huge upcoming 3-in-3 series against the Royals:

“It’s a good challenge.  We’ve come a long way, and obviously it’s a team we have to beat.  They’re a first place team for a reason, but I think the way we’ve been playing, we’ve been competitive against some of the best teams in this league.  But obviously, this is a huge series.  We’ve been thinking about this since the game in Fort Wayne.  We made sure with the break that we got rest, but at the same time we made sure that this was still a focal point.  If you’re anybody that’s in that dressing room, you want to be taking this almost like a playoff series.  But this is a team that, if you want to move up, you’re going to have to beat.  We see them enough.”

“All the games (against Reading) were close games.  They were one goal games except for one.  But we have to play inside.  I thought at the time we weren’t getting enough speed.  We’ve got to get to Grubauer, no question he’s a big part of that team.  He’s a guy that we have to get inside on and get second and third chances and make him move.  Make him commit on the first shot and have guys driving the net.  We’re certainly a different team than we were when we played them last time; personnel-wise, but from a development standpoint we’re a better team than the last time we played them.  But we have to make sure that our execution is at its best.  And that’s not just scoring goals, that’s the way we play structurally, whether it’s special teams or 5-on-5, or getting pucks out, we need a full 60 minutes.  We have to use our speed, get pucks behind their D.  They’re a first-place team for a reason, and this is a great challenge, but everyone has to be better.”

“(Reading) has some guys that can score.  There’s no question that their skill set is high.  They’re not overly physical, but their D core is strong; they’re strong, they’re big and they do a good job boxing out.  Like I said, their goaltending is probably the best in the league.  (Grubauer) is an All-Star for a reason.  We saw that in South Carolina, he was a huge part of the success of that organization as well.  He complements the way they play.  Denny Urban is a dynamic defenseman at this level, probably one of the most improved D I’ve seen in this league.  They’re a team that goes on the attack.  You don’t want to play on your heels against them, you want to play on your toes.  They sometimes can be a little high-risk, but it pays off for them.  They have the skill set, no question.”

“It’s 3-in-3 off a break; Wedgewood’s going tonight…obviously one guy’s been getting a little bit more (playing time) than the other, but that can change.  If you have two goalies that can play, it works in our favor, no question.  But we’ll see how tonight goes.”

“Johnston should be in tonight, Zajac should be in tonight.  Haczyk needs a little more contact, but those other guys will be in tonight.”

“You’ve got to run with (the blue suit), that’s what the people want, right?  (Laughs).  I’m just going with it because…well, I’m going with it.  I wasn’t too bad (with superstitions as a player), but there’s some things that you stick with if you have success with it.  But we’re kind of making light of it more than anything.  I wasn’t an overly superstitious guy…I wasn’t like Mike Haviland, who was very, very superstitious.  He wore the same shoes during the Kelly Cup run that had the sole that was falling off it, he refused to change his shoes.  I think we just go with it.  It’s kind of fun, I think guys are getting a kick out of me wearing the same thing every game, so whatever lightens it up a little bit.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com