Dashers Down Ice Breakers In Shootout
It was unfortunate that one of the two goaltenders competing in Saturday night's showdown between the Mentor Ice Breakers and the visiting Danville Dashers were destined to add a loss to their respective resume.
Mentor netminder Austyn Roudebush and his counterpart, Jesse Gordichuk, battled throughout the night in one of the better defensive battles seen in the FPHL this season. In the end, Gordichuk narrowly edged out Roudebush by stopping 31 of 32 Ice Breaker shots and stonewalling all five Mentor shootout attempts to give his club a 2-1 victory.
Roudebush saw nonstop action throughout the game, facing 44 shots through the first three periods and overtime before seeing five more in the shootout. He was credited with 43 saves, but his record dropped to 11-10-0-1 on the year.
Danville, which outshot Mentor 18-6 in the opening frame, struck first at 14:25 of the first period. Fred Hein deposited a rebound off a shot from Seth Ensor. Forward Jesse Neher chipped in with the secondary assist.
Four minutes later, Nate Farrington and Declan Conway skated in on a 2 on 2 fast break. Both Dashers defenseman were drawn over to Farrington, who was able to flip the puck over to a wide-open Conway despite being hounded by the duo of Danville blueliners. Conway reached out with one hand on his stick to tip the puck past Gordichuk low on the blocker side. Steven Fowler also added an assist on the goal, which turned out to be the only time Mentor would beat Gordichuk on the evening.
Neither club found twine in the second frame despite both penalty kill units being tested. Mentor successfully killed off an interference minor midway through the period while Danville kept the Ice Breakers power play unit scoreless on two opportunities.
In what was an exciting back-and-forth third period, Mentor failed to score on over a minute of 5 on 3 power play time before holding off a late push by the Dashers to send the game to the extra period. It marked the first overtime period of the season for the Ice Breakers, who had their first 25 games of the season decided in regulation.
The most pivotal event that occurred in overtime came after the final buzzer. Mentor's Steven Fowler and Danville's Jesse Neher exchanged words and briefly tied up, resulting in a pair of roughing minors that kept both players from participating in the shootout. Fowler, one of Mentor's most skilled players, would have almost certainly taken an attempt for Mentor. Neher is Danville's third-leading scorer and also likely would have been considered as a potential shooter.
After Fred Hein sent Danville's opening shot wide, Gordichuk made a nice save on Conway to maintain the scoreless tie. Roudebush responded with a save on Dashers player-assistant Justin Brausen before Jiri Pestuka failed to convert on a backhanded shot.
In the third round, AJ Tesoriero used a flurry of dekes to beat Roudebush and give Danville a 1-0 lead. After Tim Perks came up empty for Mentor, the final two shooters for both teams were unable to score, giving the visiting Dashers the 2-1 win.
Roudebush and Gordichuk were named the third and second stars of the game, respectively, for their efforts. Tesoriero took home the first star after his shootout winner.
Overall, Danville held a 44-32 advantage in shots on goal. Mentor was 4 for 4 on the penalty kill but failed to score on four power play chances. The Ice Breakers will return to action next weekend with a two-game set on the road against the Carolina Thunderbirds.
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Federal Prospects Hockey League Stories from January 5, 2020
- Dashers Down Ice Breakers In Shootout - Mentor Ice Breakers
- Enforcers Rebound and Bounce Bees, 6-3 - Elmira Enforcers
- Hat Tricks Sweep Weekend Series - Carolina Thunderbirds
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