April 15, 2017 - Federal Hockey League (FHL) - Carolina Thunderbirds
River Drivers take Commanding Lead in Series with Convincing Victory over Dashers
By Ethan Dorval
Berlin enters their first of two home games in the Commissioner's Cup final having won one and lost one in Danville.
Cole Gunner opened the scoring at 15:02 in the first period. Gunner beat Danville starting goalie Eddie George off a one-timer from the top of the circle. The Gunner goal was assisted by Jan Salak and Josh Pietrantonio. The Danville Dashers managed to tie the game at 12:57 when Gehrett Sargis beat Drivers starter Matt Kaludis. The Sargis goal was assisted by Andrew Harrison. Seconds later, at the 12:17 mark, Justin Brausen threw a wild shot towards the Riverdrivers net. The bad angle shot caught Drivers netminder Matt Kaludis unaware, as the puck deflected off the inside part of his pad and ended up in the back of the Berlin net. The assist on the Danville's goal was credited to Justin Levac. Berlin regained the lead on the powerplay with 4:00 remaining in the first frame of action. Jon Celli established puck possession on his off wing, one of three Riverdrivers set up at the top of the umbrella powerplay formation. Celli patiently waited for Matt Fuller to get into position for the one-timer before sliding a perfect pass over to his teammate. Fuller fired a one-time shot that beat George high, glove-side just under the crossbar. Dominik Synek added a goal at 2:29 in the first period. Walking out of the corner, Synek scored on George on the second of two attempts. The assists on the Synek goal were awarded to Jiri Pestuka and Pavel Kubina.
Jan Salak scored the lone second period goal with just 12 seconds remaining after collecting a Cole Gunner pass that found Salak all alone in the slot. Salak received the puck and in one motion snapped off a wrist shot that beat George high, glove-side. The secondary assist on the Riverdrivers fourth goal of the game was credited to Josh Pietrantonio.
Cameron Dimmit scored against his former team at 15:51 in the third period. Dimmit finished off a play that saw John Celli center a pass from below the goal line. Artur Drindrozhik also assisted on the play. Berlin added another goal in spectacular fashion when Jiri Pestuka turned his defenseman inside out, making a move from his forehand to his backhand, before tucking a shot under the crossbar. Pestuka's highlight reel effort resulted in a goaltender change for the Dashers and ended George's night between the pipes. The goaltender change sparked the Dasher's offense as Sargis added his second goal of the game with 11:11 left to play. Sargis found himself behind the Riverdrivers defense before sending a low wrist shot that beat Kaludis to the far side of the net. Darius Cole and Andrew Harrison assisted on the play. Cole Gunner sealed the game and the win at home for Berlin with 2:09 left to play, scoring an empty net goal that brought the score line to its final 7-3.
With a 2-1 series lead the Riverdrivers can clinch their first ever Commissioner's Cup title on home ice Saturday.
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