Back-and-forth Scoring Match Slips Away from Dashers
Despite an average amount of shots on goal tallied for the evening, a high-scoring affair was in order as the Watertown Wolves and the Danville Dashers finished their season series, with a game that ended with 16 goals being scored between the two sides.
It was early and often scoring for the two sides, who spent their evenings engaged in a drastically back-and-forth contest, with Watertown taking an early 2-0 lead behind goals from Anton Kalinin (Tyler Prendergast, Yianni Liarakos), and Tim Santopaolo (George Holt, Cameron Dimmitt). Kalinin's goal was a true-to-form tic-tac passing exhibition on a 2-on-1 breakaway that left Matt Kaludis with not much to do but hope for a miss.
Danville veteran Chris Affinati (Fred Hein) lit the lamp for Danville's first goal as he scored on a backhand that left Watertown goalie Jared Rutledge nearly helpless, shifting momentum to Danville's favor. The lead was turned into a tie as Levi Armstrong (Justin Brausen, Jared Henderson) netted with 16 minutes gone in the first period.
Armstrong was ejected from the game following a major for checking from behind, and a game misconduct penalty for the brawl between the two teams that resulted after.
The Wolves would capitalize three times on that major, as Cameron Dimmit (Lane King, Tyler Gjurich), Anton Kalinin (Tyler Prendergast, Kyle Powell) and Tyler Gjurich (Lane King, Kyle Powell) would score on the power play opportunity, as the Dasher defense looked down and out.
That feeling would get even more strong, however, as Tyler Prendergast (Anton Kalinin, Jared Rutledge) scored just as the Dashers got back to even strength.
It was Chris Affinati that provided the next spark as he and Justin Coachman got tangled up in a fight, which ended up being more of a wrestling match, with Chris Affinati coming out on top of the pile.
It provided just what the Dashers needed, however, as Justin Brausen (Alex Basey) went on to get his second point of the night, cutting the deficit to 6-3 with seven minutes gone in the second period. Jared Henderson wasted no time trimming the lead even further, after finding a stretch pass from Nathan Campbell, and firing home Watertown's Rutledge.
Danville would have their second player of the night ejected after Alex Basey put on a solid beatdown of Watertown's Lane King. Earlier in the game, King caused a stir in front of the Dasher bench, when he exchanged words with the home side. Basey was tagged with a 10 minute game misconduct penalty, as well as seven minutes total for instigating and fighting.
In an interesting turn of events, the Dashers were forced to serve all seven minutes of the penalty, including the five minutes given for fighting, despite a Cameron Dimmit (Kyle Powell, Lane King) goal just under forty seconds after the call was made. The goal flipped the score to 7-4 in favor of the Wolves.
The final goal of the second came when Daniel Martin (Dustin Henning, Brian Dunford) scored short handed on the assessed five minute major, after Fred Hein's shot was narrowly stopped from crossing the goal line. The goal, scored with just 28 seconds left in the period, cut the Wolves' lead to 7-5.
Fred Hein (Brandon Contratto) made up for a narrowly-missed goal just one minute into the third period, however, as the Dashers scored their second short-handed goal to cut their deficit to 7-6. It wasn't long before the rising momentum of the Dasher offense caught up with the Wolves, and Justin Brausen (Fred Hein) scored to draw the two sides even at 7 apiece.
Watertown struck back however, increasing the unpredictability of the game, as Tyler Gjurich scored on some beautiful tic-tac passing from Kyle Powell and Lane King. Gjurich, the FHL's second leading scorer, increased his point total to 99 on the season, just two points behind league leader Dalton Jay. The goal took back the lead for Watertown, who remained in charge for the rest of the game.
The game's dagger in favor of the Wolves was scored when George Holt (Cameron Dimmit) beat Matt Kaludis stick-side to ice the score at 9-7 with just under 4 minutes left in the game. In a game where the Dashers came back from four goals not just once, but two times, the end result slipped away from the Danville side.
The three stars for the night ended up with Anton Kalinin taking the No. 3 star (2G, 1A), Danville's Justin Brausen taking the No. 2 star (2G, 1A), and Tyler Gjurich taking the No. 1 star (2G, 1A).
Watertown moves forward to take on Port Huron on the road on Sunday night, with the Dashers staring into a matchup with the league leading Carolina Thunderbirds. The puck drops at 6:05 EST., and an autograph session will be held after the game.
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Federal Prospects Hockey League Stories from March 30, 2019
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