With the district postseason on the horizon, the Titusville Rockets welcomed Eisenhower to the Ed Myer Complex with the hopes of building off a crucial win at Saegertown on Saturday. However, with the help of mother nature, the Knights rained on the locals’ parade with a 3-0 final.
Luke Smelko converted on a free kick in the closing minutes of the first half, and Daren Glotz tallied two goals in the second half to help the visitors pull away in the Region 4 contest.
Following the conclusion of the action, Titusville head coach Joey Timon pointed to his team’s sluggish performance on the pitch.
“There was just a lack of hustle from us,” said Timon. “Not necessarily the physical hustle, but we deserved that result.”
The Knights’ defense executed a suffocating game plan, holding the locals to just seven shots, including four on goal.
Campbell Sines managed Titusville’s two shots on net in the first half, sending both chances in low on Eisenhower netminder Gavin Labowski, but the junior keeper stood his ground and kept the score even for the time being.
On the opposite end of the pitch, Joey Banner faced four shots before the Knights garnered a free kick from 12 yards out.
Smelko stepped up to the spot and delivered a grounder to the left corner. Diving to his right, Banner came within inches of stopping the striker’s shot as the ball snuck right under him and into the back of net, with only 3:30 seconds to play in the opening frame.
A 2:46 stretch in the early stages of the second half proved to be the dagger. Glotz notched the first of his two scores after driving in from the far side and firing a shot into the near side of the net. The senior would follow that up with a point-blank chip shot off a pass from Glotz to suddenly increase the Knights’ lead to 3-0.
“I don’t know if it was a confidence thing,” explained Timon. “I think they came out and were not ready.”
The locals were notably without their leading scorer in Sam Rout, as well as Owen Reib. Although their absence was not specified, Timon acknowledged that he remained confident that his side could pull through.
“It hurt to lose them, but with the guys we had that game should have been a lot different,” stressed Timon.
With the loss, Titusville drops to 6-6 overall and 6-6 in region action with only two regular season games remaining on the schedule, including a Monday afternoon match at Conneaut Area, and a battle with undefeated Warren next Thursday at home.