TRENTON, N.J. - Fans that attended games in Trenton over the weekend will be heading home with significantly less headgear. On Saturday night, Titans forward Shane Harper found the back of the net three times, as he connected for his second consecutive hat trick.
That, along with six points by Jacob Cepis, helped lead Trenton to a 7-2 victory against the Wheeling Nailers at Sun National Bank Center.
For the second night in a row, the Titans opened up the scoring in the first period. After Jordy Trottier connected with Cam Fergus for a quality scoring chance in the offensive zone, Trenton broke the other way on a 4-on-2 rush. Jacob Cepis carried the puck into the offensive zone, before handing off to Mike Ullrich, who snapped in a shot from the left circle. Shane Harper also assisted on the goal, giving him 14 points in 11 ECHL contests.
A little more than one minute into the second period, the Nailers drew even. Zack Torquato put a shot toward the net from the left point, trying to create an opportunity. The puck bounced to Chris Barton, who rang the post, before Peter Lenes buried the rebound for his 10th.
Unfortunately for Wheeling, the second period went downhill from there. Harper gave the home team the lead at the 5:28 mark, kicking off a five-goal explosion by the Titans. Cepis scored the next two, blasting in a shot from the left circle, before finishing off a splendid pass by Ullrich. After Peter Delmas exited the game, Bryan Haczyk gave Scott Darling a rude greeting completing a 2-on-1 rush with Blake Kessel. Kessel set up the final goal of the stanza as well, as Harper tipped in his drive from the blueline.
In the third period, Harper found the back of the net one more time, finishing off his second hat trick in a row. Kessel and Cepis helped to set up the marker, as Cepis completed a six-point night with his fourth assist. With 13:04 to go, Wheeling netted one more goal on the evening, as Paul Crowder tipped in Torquato's shot from the center of the blueline, giving the game a 7-2 final in favor of the Titans.
Scott Wedgewood got the victory for Trenton, stopping 33 of the 35 shots he faced. Delmas took the loss for the Nailers, making 29 saves on 33 shots, before Scott Darling took over with 12 saves on 15 shots.
The Nailers will conclude the road portion of their 2012-13 schedule on Sunday afternoon in Kalamazoo against the Wings at 4:00.
Trenton 7, Wheeling 2
Wheeling 0 1 1 - 2
Trenton 1 5 1 - 7
1st Period-1, Trenton, Ullrich 13 (Cepis, Harper), 6:14. Penalties-Veilleux Whl (interference), 14:05; Schmit Tre (roughing), 14:05; Hansen Whl (slashing ), 16:51; Veilleux Whl (roughing), 16:51; Goggin Tre (tripping), 19:29.
2nd Period-2, Wheeling, Lenes 10 (Barton, Torquato), 1:08 (PP). 3, Trenton, Harper 8 (Ullrich, Cepis), 5:28. 4, Trenton, Cepis 20 (Schultz, Schmit), 10:42. 5, Trenton, Cepis 21 (Ullrich, Harper), 12:20. 6, Trenton, Haczyk 17 (Kessel, Nagy), 13:48. 7, Trenton, Harper 9 (Kessel, Cepis), 15:15 (PP). Penalties-Delmas Whl (roughing), 8:06; Ross Whl (fighting - major), 10:44; Schmit Tre (fighting - major), 10:44; Barton Whl (cross-checking), 14:52; McNeill Whl (boarding), 14:58.
3rd Period-8, Trenton, Harper 10 (Kessel, Cepis), 4:40 (PP). 9, Wheeling, Torquato 9 (Crowder, Hansen), 6:56 (PP). Penalties-Pilmore Whl (high-sticking), 3:56; Ullrich Tre (interference), 6:31; Ullrich Tre (hooking), 7:49; Schmit Tre (interference), 17:12; Zollars Whl (misconduct - unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:58; Ullrich Tre (misconduct - unsportsmanlike conduct), 19:58.
Shots on Goal-Wheeling 10-11-14-35. Trenton 16-23-9-48.
Power Play Opportunities-Wheeling 2 / 4; Trenton 2 / 6.
Goalies-Wheeling, Delmas 15-11-0-4 (33 shots-29 saves); Darling 11-12-1-2 (15 shots-12 saves). Trenton, Wedgewood 19-21-3-2 (35 shots-33 saves).
Referee-Chris Pitoscia (3).
Linesmen-Brian Oliver (36), Luke Murray (79).