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Gems Overpower Sundogs for 5-2 Win Saturday Night in Arizona

March 3, 2012 - Central Hockey League (CHL) - Dayton Gems News Release

Prescott Valley, AZ - The Dayton Gems avenged their Friday night shootout loss with a hard fought 5-2 victory over the Arizona Sundogs on Saturday inside Tim's Toyota Center. Scoring for the Gems were Nick Fanto, Brett Lutes, Damian Surma and Matt Larke (2).

In the final game this season between the Gems and Sundogs, neither team would waste little time in trying to dominate the tempo, with physicality on both ends of the ice early and often. After overcoming an early barrage of shots on Gems netminder Dan Dunn in the opening minutes, the Gems would warm up their offensive machinery as the period wore along. Dayton's Nick Fanto would add his name to the scoresheet in the opening period picking up a centering pass from Jon Ornelas to blast in his 16th goal of the season to make it a 1-0 Gems lead at 14:51. Despite being outshot 10-7 in the opener, Dayton maintained their one goal lead into the first intermission.

In what would shape up to be an exciting period of action, both teams would ultimately combine to score five goals in a middle frame marred in physicality and controversy. Dayton's all star forward Brett Lutes would kick off the second period with his 17th goal of the season to extend the Gems lead to 2-0 just sixty-two seconds in. Lutes's goal, assisted by Brandon Naurato and Damian Surma, would also be registered as Dayton's first powerplay goal of the night at 1:02. Arizona returned the favor at the 12:42 mark to break their scoring seal thanks to a deflection which hit the shoulder of former Ohio State Buckeye Kyle Hood and deflected past Dunn. Revving the engines, Dayton's leading scorer Damian Surma blasted a rocket top shelf at 14:32 to again extend the lead to two goals with his 23rd lamplighter of the season. Controversy would descend upon the rink as time wore along in the period, as questionable calls assessed against the Gems handed the Sundogs a two man advantage, in which Arizona quickly cashed in with their first powerplay goal of the night at 16:05 to make it a 3-2 game. The Gems would get their final laugh in the period thanks to Matt Larke sending in a one-timer to lead his Gems into the second intermission leading the Sundogs 4-2. Shots in the middle period favored the Gems 19-18 in an offensively charged twenty minutes of play.

The Gems held their ice throughout the third period, backstopped by solid netminding from Dunn to dash Arizona's comeback hopes. Dayton added a final tally in the closing moments of regulation, giving Larke his second goal of the night on an empty net with :29 left. Arizona again edged the Gems in shots in the third 12-10 but Dayton would skate away with the 5-2 regulation victory.

With the win, the Gems improve their record to 19-25-12 and finish their season series against the Sundogs 2-0-1.

Dayton returns to action on Tuesday evening when they host the Fort Wayne Komets on Cassano's Italian Ice at a special 6:30pm start time. The first 1,000 fans through the gates starting at 5:30pm will receive a limited edition Gems player trading card pack.

Tickets for Tuesday's game against the Komets are on sale now by calling 275-7777 or by visiting the all new www.DaytonGems.com.

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