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24 in 24: New Jersey Titans

September 5, 2018
The 24 in 24 series features a look at all 24 teams in the NAHL for the 2018-19 season, with a new team being highlighted daily, leading all the way up until the start of the regular season. 24 in 24 looks into each NAHL team and will include video interviews with 24 coaches in the NAHL, as they provide fans with their expectations and outlook for the season, including taking a look at their strengths as a team and thoughts on the league.  It will also take a look back on last season and how each team fared and what they accomplished.
 
New Jersey Titans
Head Coach: Craig Doremus (3rd Year)
2017-18 record: 29-22-9, 67 pts. (2nd in the East Division)
2017-18 leading scorer: Tate Singleton, Hunter Alden (47 pts.)
2018 Playoffs: Lost to the WBS Knights in the East Division Semi-Finals, 3 games to 2
2018-19 Division: East
First regular season game: Friday, September 14th @ Maryland Black Bears
Home opener: Friday, September 28th vs. Johnstown Tomahawks
 
The New Jersey Titans were once again in the thick of the playoff race in the East Division in 2017-18, and were armed with a veteran group that had made the East Division Finals from the year before. After a regular season that saw the team rack up almost 30 wins, the Titans found themselves in an opening round playoff series against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Knights. The series would go the distance with the Titans holding a 2-1 lead in the best of five series, but in the final two games, they could not solve Knights goalie Christian Stoever as they were only able to find the back of the net twice on 102 shots and lost the series, 3-2.
 
Titans head coach Craig Doremus said that he was happy that the team put themselves in position to succeed in the post-season and tipped his cap to the Knights for not only winning the series, but the East Division playoff crown as well. “I think we had a good season. We played a good series against the Knights and anytime you get to a deciding Game 5, anything can happen. We ran into a hot goalie and it just wasn’t meant to be. I am not disappointed in the effort and hats off to the Knights because they represented the East well at the Robertson Cup. Our guys laid it on the line and that’s all you can ask for,” said Doremus.
 
The Titans also had an incredible season of NCAA commitments, which was a big boost to the overall NAHL total of 331 commitments in 2017-18. The Titans had 16 players from the 2017-18 squad committed to NCAA schools, including nine NCAA Division I commitments. Some of those NCAA commitments included NAHL East Division Defenseman of the Year Tyler Antonucci and also forward Ryan Naumovski, who was named to the NAHL All-Rookie 2nd Team.
 
“I think it speak volumes of what the NAHL has been able to do in recent seasons and we have seen the impact of that here in the East in New Jersey. The owners and the coaches go above and beyond in their investment into a players development and it’s what separates us from the rest and allows us to keep raising the bar each season with our NCAA commitments. This past year was a very good one for us and one we hope to duplicate,” said Doremus.
 
Watch: Craig Doremus video interview
 
The Titans will be strong again in 2018-19 thanks to the return of some key veterans. However, the team did lose a significant amount of high-end scoring, which will have to be replaced. The Titans were one of only three teams in the NAHL last season with 200+ goals scored. “We lost some significant scoring, so that was at the forefront of what we were looking for throughout the season, the draft, and during our camps this summer. We also are going to need to find some veteran leadership as we had some player’s age out after being here the last two years,” said Doremus.
 
“It’s about the type of player we are looking for. We need to be hard to play against and then rise to the occasion in the playoffs. We have been successful and good team, we just to take that next step,” said Doremus. “I think we head into the 2018-19 season really happy with our new players. Our scouts worked really hard to replace the talent we lost.”
 
Returning to the line-up from last season will be Naumovski (46 pts.), who doesn’t head to Niagara until the 2019-20 season. Other key returners include forwards Kyle Jeffers (27 pts.) and Gavin Gulash (21 pts.) along with defenseman Spencer Stanley (16 pts.). However, the Titans may get the biggest lift by returning both goalies from a season ago as Brandon Perrone and Matt Ladd will both return. Both had winning records last season and had good statistics.
 
“I think we want to be better every year. We want more commitments from the year before and we want to be better on the ice. We want to put ourselves in position to challenge for a division title, and then more importantly, be playing our best hockey of the year in the playoffs,” said Doremus.
 
Next up in the 24 in 24 series: Northeast Generals
 
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