Archive for January, 2013

Flori-D’Oh! Titans Fly Into Failure At Start Of Trip

January 31, 2013

(PR) ESTERO, FL – In their first meeting of the year, the Trenton Titans – proud ECHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers – dropped the front end of a two-game set to the defending Kelly Cup Champion Florida Everblades, 5-2, before a crowd of 4,136 at Germain Arena last night.

The Everblades (22-15-3-4=51 points) scored three different ways in the second period – even strength, power play and short handed – to break open a tight, 1-0 game and take a 4-0 lead into the third period.

Trenton (17-21-3-3=40) went 0-for-3 on the man advantage while it’s PK unit – number one in the league at 86.4 percent – allowed two goals in five tries to the second best power play unit (22.8) in the ECHL, including a 5-on-3 chance to begin the third, which Brayden Irwin managed to slip by Scott Wedgewood (L, 32 saves, 13-15-2-1) 30 seconds in for a 5-0 Florida lead.

Pat Nagle (W, 35 saves, 11-6-0-1) kept the Titans at bay all game, until the fifth goal of the year for Connor Goggin, a rocket from the right point, ended the shutout bid at 14:15 of the third. Mike Ullrich capped off the scoring with 2:15 to play, with his fourth goal of the season (and third as a Titan), after battling to put home a rebound off Nagle.

The Titans have an off day before getting a second chance at the Everblades on Friday at 7:30 pm. They will then head up Interstates 4 and 75 to battle the Orlando Solar Bears on Saturday at 7:00 pm before flying home. Both games can be heard – beginning 15 minutes prior with the pregame show – on flagship station 107.7 FM The Bronc (Trenton Area), 1077theBronc.com and at AmericaOne.com, with the Voice of the Titans, “The Bronc” Daryle Dobos calling all the action.

So, That Didn’t Go Well…

January 28, 2013

(PR) ELMIRA, NY – Elmira wasted little time getting revenge for an 8-5 home loss in its last meeting with the Titans. Scoring twice in the first five minutes, the Jackals cranked it up in the final two periods, catching every odd bounce en route to an 8-1 win Sunday afternoon before 2,511 fans at First Arena.

Maxime Clermont – pulled after 16 minutes and just eight saves on 12 shots last meeting – was unbeatable with 37 saves, running his record to 10-7-2-1. Titans keeper Scott Wedgewood (13-14-2-1), playing in his eighth straight game, made 20 saves, but had to feel like the pucks were dodging him. All night he would be in good position, only to see a shot trickle through or hop away from his pads.

Bryan Haczyk provided the only offense for the Titans (17-20-3-3=40 points) midway into the first, taking a Mike Ullrich pass and going five-hole on Clermont from the right dot, cutting the deficit in half, 2-1.

But Trenton would get no closer, as Dustin Gazely turned a Titan turnover into a 3-1 lead just 1:36 after Haczyk’s marker. The Jackals (22-15-2-2=48 points), would score the final six goals of the game from just about every angle and odd bounce.

Trenton’s number one PK unit was the lone bright spot on the night, killing off three Elmira PP opportunities to run its Kill Percentage to 86.4 (159-of 184).

Trenton, proud ECHL affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers, now takes its Travelling Stick Show to the friendly skies, for a three-game Florida swing with a pair against the Everblades (January 30 and February 1) and a first-ever visit to Orlando (February 2). All the action can be heard on 107.7 FM (Trenton area) and online at either 1077theBronc.com or AmericaOne.com. “The Bronc” Daryle Dobos, will once again call all the action.

Heeter Suspended Pending Review

January 27, 2013

(ECHL PR) Trenton’s Heeter fined, suspended

Trenton’s Cal Heeter has been suspended pending a review and fined an undisclosed amount as a result of his actions in ECHL Game #490, Wheeling at Trenton, on Jan. 26.

Heeter was assessed a game misconduct under Rule #53.4 at 7:02 of the third period. He is fined and suspended under Rule #28 – Supplementary Discipline.

Heeter will miss Trenton’s game at Elmira today (Jan. 27) and any further discipline will be announced this 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.

Game 42: Post-Game Notes (Updated With Video)

January 27, 2013

Well, I’m typing this out on my phone in New York Penn Station, on my way to Boston and eventually Providence, so I can’t really tell you much.

Here is my Trentonian game story with comments from Cal Heeter and Vince Williams regarding the incident tonight in which Heeter was given a game misconduct for inadvertently flinging the puck into the stands after a goal against.

I’m hoping the Titans will post the video of our conversations with both Heeter and Williams, but I’ll make sure I follow up on this when I can actually sit in front of my laptop on Sunday.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 at gmail.com

Game 42: Pre-Game Notes

January 26, 2013

6:10 PM — Titans lines are…

Berube-Cepis-Schultz
Todd-Ullrich-Haczyk
Tamblyn-Drewiske-Carrier
Schmit

Pallis-Hostetter
Cianfrini-Baier
Langlais-Goggin

Heeter
Wedgewood

6:05 PM — As I told you yesterday, Cal Heeter starts in net.  Paul Lee is the only Titans scratch, meaning Trenton is technically dressing nine forwards and seven D…but Aaron Schmit, who returns to the lineup tonight, can easily play up front.

4:45 PM — The ECHL has announced that Paul Lee has been fined, but not suspended after his 5-minute major and 10-minute game misconduct for clipping last night.  In addition, Wheeling’s Zack Torquato has been suspended for tonight’s game.

2:45 PM — Got to the arena a little early so I can get some work done in preparation for the 2013 AHL All-Star Game.  I’ll be covering the event for ECHL.com and The Hockey News, and leave right after the game to head out to Providence, RI.  Should be a fun time, and I hope you’ll follow me on Twitter for updates from the skills competition and game.

As for the ECHL…well, there’s still a Titans game for me to cover tonight.  And there’s still a few things for me to get to from last night as well.  Did anyone watch Cheap Seats when it was on ESPN Classic?  Was one of my favorite shows…and they always used to have a “What Got Cut” segment.  Well, there are always going to be a few things that get cut out of the Titans post-game interview video — sadly, whenever I ask an exceptionally stupid question, that seems to stay in — so here are a few comments you didn’t get to see/hear/read from yesterday’s 4-3 OT win.

VINCE WILLIAMS

“I think (Lee) was trying to get out of the way, I don’t think he was trying to submarine him.  It was five minutes for clipping, I didn’t know there was a clipping.  I thought that was in football.  But I didn’t think he submarined him or ducked, I thought he was trying to roll off the hit a little bit, and I guess it was a delayed reaction.  The ref turned back and saw him laying down and then he put his hand up, I was watching him.”

“(Pallis) is geting good opportunities.  We’re putting him in good positions to be successful and utilize him, but he’s getting shots off.  He’s a got a good shot, and I don’t think he shoots the puck enough.  But he’s been clutch.  Pretty much two similar goals in similar spots.  He’s getting confidence.”

“We brought in Langlais.  We were going to put (Schmit) up front, but we have seven defensemen right now and we got an opportunity.  It wasn’t anything he did, he’s been good and he’s been solid.  With Baier coming back and Langlais, we wanted to bring that element and take a look at him as well.  We want to see what we got, and I thought he made some good plays.  He’s a pretty slick little defenseman there.  Everyone’s on board whether they’re in or not.  We just wanted to see a different look.”

“(Todd) is a big guy.  He got in on the redeye, and I said, ‘If you don’t feel up to it, there’s no pressure.’  But I like him, I think he’s got a good stick.  He’s smart, he goes to the net.  There’s a lot of upside there.  He’s another guy who hasn’t found his niche.  Reading had a tough lineup to crack at the beginning of the year…I like what I saw so far.”

DERRICK PALLIS

“We were moving it around pretty good, and got them moving.  They eventually kind of tired out and I saw two of their guys were in front of their goalie, so I don’t think he ever really saw the shot.  I just kind of wanted to shoot.  I was kind of tired of passing it around, so I put one on net and things happened.”

“(PK) I think we just play our system well, everybody works hard and everybody wants to block a shot.  Everyone just does their role, working hard, stops and starts.  I think it just boils down to the character in the locker room.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 41: Post-Game Notes

January 26, 2013

Zollars Hoping The Third Team’s A Charm

January 26, 2013

zollars

The Gentry Zollars World Tour continues with Wheeling on Saturday.

The 27-year-old defenseman is on his third ECHL team and fourth different squad overall this season after getting dealt by the Titans to the Nailers prior to Friday night’s game. But, with his new team coming to where his old squad is based tomorrow, he simply stayed in the press box for the game and will move his gear to the visitors locker room. Oddly, that won’t be an unfamiliar place for him considering he already played in the Sun National Bank Center while with the Orlando Solar Bears earlier this year.

Although his travels could be somewhat of a punchline for some, the Bethel Park, PA native showed marked improvement in his game since his last stint with the Titans at the end of the 2011-12 season.

“Last year, that was my first time in this league and a lot of it was getting used to the pace and everything,” he said.

“I guess basically, that was my cup of coffee. But this year, I’m starting to feel comfortable and be able to play more of my game. Hopefully I can keep building off of that in the future.”

For Zollars, that future will come with Wheeling, who could certainly use the help at their back end. The Nailers sweater will be the eighth that Zollars has worn in just 2 1/2 pro seasons, and he’s the first to admit that his 2012-13 campaign has been one interesting journey so far.

“I think it’s been a bizarre season for most people playing minor pro hockey this year,” he said.

“But that’s what happens with the lockout. I’m just happy to have played in the ECHL for most of this season, which is a positive for me. It’s tough moving around, I’d say it’s more tough mentally than physically. It is tough getting new systems, because you get used to one coach and then you’ve got to go to another coach who wants something else. So, in that aspect, it’s a little tough. But at the same time, it’s part of the job, so you’ve got to be a professional about it and go out every day and play your hardest. You want to help your team win, no matter what jersey you put on.”

Certainly, Zollars, who did not register a point in five games with Trenton this season, hopes that Wheeling’s sweater is one he’ll be able to put on consistently.

“I spoke with the coach, and he said that they’re hurting for D, like a lot of teams in this league are right now,” Zollars said.

“He said if I played well, that I should be able to stick for a while. Hopefully, I’ll keep my fingers crossed that I play well enough for them to keep me for the rest of the season.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Game 41: Pre-Game Notes

January 25, 2013

7:15 PM — Eric Baier, Tyler Hostetter and J.S. Berube are wearing the A’s tonight…

6:30 PM — Titans lines are…

Berube-Cepis-Schultz
Todd-Ullrich-Haczyk
Drewiske-Lee-Carrier
Tamblyn

Cianfrini-Hostetter
Pallis-Goggin
Langlais-Baier

Wedgewood
Heeter

6:20 PM — Game pushed back 15-20 minutes due to an official being stuck in the snow.  Not making that one up.

5:30 PM — Gentry Zollars was the odd man out once Chad Langlais was signed, but it seems he’ll be playing in Trenton tomorrow night after all.  For Wheeling that is.  Zollars was dealt to the Nailers this afternoon, and will presumably just stay here and go the visiting locker room tomorrow. It’ll be the third different jersey he’ll wear in this building this season.

Andy Bohmbach and Brad Peltz — both with the dreaded “upper-body injuries” — were put on reserve, while Paul Lee was taken off, presumably to play tonight.

4:40 PM — Jesse Todd will wear #32 for Trenton whenever he plays…might be tonight, might not be tonight.  Won’t know until Daryle Dobos talks to Williams and the scratches are provided.  Scott Wedgewood will start in net, that I do know.  Joe Fallon opposes him.

12:05 PM — Niko Hovinen is on the move, and TSN is on it.  After yesterday’s report by Bob McKenzie that the Flyers had placed the Finnish netminder on waivers, Darren Dreger reports today that the Edmonton Oilers have claimed him and put Mark Dekanich on waivers.  Hovinen will likely end up in Stockton, unless they decide to send either Olivier Roy or Tyler Bunz down while Nikolai Khabibulin is injured.

Anyway, Titans news.  Chad Langlais is here.  The 26-year-old defenseman had been playing for the CHL’s Arizona Sundogs, where he put up a 1-13-14 line in 27 games.  A former Michigan Wolverine, the first thing that stood out to me about Langlais is that he’s pretty undersized, and the vitals tell the tale: 5-foot-9, 171 pounds.  But he’ll wear #10, and a defenseman is likely headed out of town to accommodate him.

“It’s a tough market right now for defensemen,” said Titans head coach Vince Williams.  “I think there were a lot of teams interested in him, and we were able to get him.  It’s similar to the Pallis situation, or Ullrich, but at the same time, finding a defenseman is one of the hardest things to do right now.  He had a good career at Michigan, the kid can skate and move the puck and can play on the power play.  To get him was a pretty good find.  You can’t have enough defenseman.”

Andy Bohmbach did not skate with the team, and although Williams would not confirm it, the captain has had concussion-like symptoms after being hit by Andrew Conboy last weekend.

“He’s day-to-day,” said Williams, who would only concede to an upper-body injury.  “He feels better, he feels fine…obviously, you have to handle these things very carefully.  But the good news is, he feels good.”

Jesse Todd did not skate with the team either, but that’s only because he arrived early this morning after a redeye flight.  He may still play tonight despite not having even practiced with the team.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Heeter’s Here

January 25, 2013
After a relatively successful first half with the Adirondack Phantoms, Cal Heeter was assigned to the Trenton Titans yesterday (Photo: Mike Ashmore)

After a relatively successful first half with the Adirondack Phantoms, Cal Heeter was assigned to the Trenton Titans yesterday (Photo: Mike Ashmore)

Back when the expectations were that it would be Cal Heeter and not Niko Hovinen who’d be starting the season with Trenton, the former was asked how he’d feel about heading to the capital city.

“Obviously, I’ll go wherever they put me.  It doesn’t matter where I end up,” he said in October.

“I’ll give the same effort and give my all if they put me in Trenton or Adirondack, it doesn’t matter to me.  I’d much prefer to be playing in the AHL, but if that’s not what they see fit, I totally understand and I’ll go down and work as hard as I can until I get that chance.”

That, of course, was before the 24-year-old got to spend the first half of his first pro season in the American Hockey League, where he played 20 games for the Adirondack Phantoms, splitting time with veteran Scott Munroe.  But the writing slowly began to appear on the wall when the Flyers organization traded for Brian Boucher.  And speculation really became rampant once Niko Hovinen was put on waivers yesterday…well, speculation for everyone except Heeter, that is.

“I guess that would have been a little bit of foreshadowing if I was paying attention, but I missed it,” he said through a laugh.

“I never really even thought about it, to be honest.  I didn’t see that until after I already got the call from (Flyers GM Paul) Holmgren that I was getting sent down.  So up until that point, I didn’t really have any idea, so it was tough.”

Heeter, who was signed by the Flyers after a four-year collegiate career at Ohio State, had posted a 2.97 GAA and .906 save percentage in his first foray into the AHL.  But still, even with a spot having opened up in Trenton, the move to send him down came as a shock to many…Heeter included.

“I wouldn’t say I’m happy that this is the position I’m in, but I understand why I’m here,” he said.

“From what I was told, it wasn’t due to playing performance or anything, it was just due to logistics.  They want to get Boucher a lot of games up there in Adirondack, so they didn’t want me just sitting on the bench and not getting a lot of playing time and experience in games.  So they sent me down here so I can keep playing, get a lot of games and continue to improve and work on my game.”

Heeter admits he got off to a slow start in his pro career — he won just four of his first 14 decisions in net — but says he felt like he’d been playing his best hockey over the past month or so.

“I wasn’t playing really well at the beginning of the year, but I think I’ve slowly gotten better since then,” he said.

“I think this past month or month and a half, I’ve been playing my best hockey.  I’ve been stopping a lot of shots, playing a lot of games, keeping us in games and giving us a chance to win…it was tough for sure at the beginning, but I tried to adjust as quickly as I could.  I had a lot of help from the coaching staff, especially Jeff Reese, he’s really done a lot for me.”

Heeter said he’d like to work on improving his focus while he’s down here — and for just how long that is remains to be determined — and he’ll get his first chance to do that on Saturday night, when he’s projected to make his ECHL debut.

“This is a good opportunity for him to play,” said Titans head coach Vince Williams.

“He’s going to make up a good tandem with (Scott) Wedgewood.  We have a depleted roster, but the one thing I feel like we’re stronger is our goaltending.  Last year at this time, we didn’t have the support back there to be able to sustain a lot of it.”

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com

Baier Back; Taylor Dealt, Todd Acquired

January 24, 2013

Interesting day in the capital city.  Already today, word had come out that Niko Hovinen had been waived by the Flyers organization, which meant that Cal Heeter had a spot to be sent down to from Adirondack.  Then, the Phantoms beat writers revealed that Kory Nagy would be heading up to Adirondack on a PTO, which was followed by a press release that David Laliberte was also going to the Phantoms on an AHL SPC.

Well, the day isn’t over yet.  Not by a longshot.

The AHL’s Providence Bruins have released defenseman Eric Baier from his PTO, meaning he’ll likely return to the Titans.  Baier, who had been a scratch lately, did not register a point in three AHL contests.

The Titans also have traded forward Justin Taylor to the Idaho Steelheads, and acquired forward Jesse Todd from the San Francisco Bulls in a separate deal.

The loss of Taylor means that Trenton lost all three players who served as alternate captains in their last game in the same day.  Taylor certainly didn’t bring the kind of production that was expected if you looked at his numbers in Kalamazoo the last two seasons, posting 10 points (4 goals) in 23 games with the Titans.  He played more of a pest role with the Titans, and certainly was not the point-per-game player he was with the Wings in 2010-11.

Todd, 25, is a Merrimack grad who was one goal in 10 ECHL games.  He was traded from Reading in the infamous Evan Barlow deal, and played just three games for San Francisco after that, notching one assist and posting a -6 rating.

Mike Ashmore, mashmore98 AT gmail.com