TRENTON, NJ - Shane Harper has spent just ten games in the ECHL this season, and on Friday night, he proved why. The Trenton Titans' forward scored a power play goal, shorthanded goal, and even strength goal, as his hat trick helped to propel his squad to a 5-2 victory against the Wheeling Nailers at Sun National Bank Center.
The early stages of the first period were controlled by the Titans, and in particular, Shane Harper, who gave his team a quick 2-0 lead. Harper's first marker came at the 4:13 mark, when he took a cross-ice pass from Jacob Cepis, and lifted a shot into the top corner of the net on the power play. 1:37 later, the Nailers were playing with the man advantage, but Harper turned the tables on them. He stole the puck in center ice, cut around the Wheeling defense, and slipped a shot past Scott Darling.
Trenton extended the lead at the 2:05 mark of the second period. Blake Kessel jammed a puck onto the net from the left side of the goal line, which was blocked by Darling. Unfortunately, the puck found a seam, and dribbled its way into the crease. Mike Ullrich spotted the loose biscuit, reaching out to poke the puck into the net, as the Titans carried a three-goal advantage into period three.
Less than one minute into the third period, the home team added one more tally. Marvin Degon sent a long lead pass ahead to Jacob Cepis, who lifted a shot off of Darling's glove and in for a 4-0 advantage. Late in the frame, the Nailers potted a pair of goals of their own. With 3:12 left to go, Cam Fergus centered the puck to Matt Germain, who drove through the slot, tipping in his eight goal of the season. 54 seconds later, Keven Veilleux and Chris Barton entered the zone on a 2-on-1, with Veilleux faking a slap shot, before setting up Barton for his team-leading 20th marker of the campaign. Unfortunately, with 55 seconds to go, Harper iced the 5-2 win for the Titans, completing his hat trick with an empty net goal.