by Brett Wisem
Winston-Salem, NC- Despite outshooting the Danbury Hat Tricks by a 44-38 margin, the Carolina Thunderbirds fell by a score of 5-2 at home on Friday night.
The Hat Tricks were aided by an offensive explosion from their captain and a stellar performance from their netminder.
Brian Wilson stopped 42 of the 44 shots he faced, improving on what has already been a superb start to his 2022 campaign.
After a scoreless first period battle between Wilson and his goaltending counterpart, Carolina's Mario Cavialere, Danbury captain Johnny Ruiz capitalized on a loose puck and beat Cavialere stick side just 39 seconds into the middle frame to put the Hat Tricks in front 1-0.
Ruiz wasn't done. He snapped home two more wrist shots, one at 3:29 and the third at 10:01 of the second to give himself a hat trick and the Hat Tricks a 3-0. Each of Ruiz's shots beat Cavialere stick side, right underneath the crossbar.
Dimirty Kuznetsov, just returned on loan from the SPHL, put home a backhand shot from the low slot to make the score 4-0 late in the second.
The physicality heated up in the third. Danbury's Jarod Yau and Carolina's Tucker Firth both received game misconducts at 14:50 of the third
Carolina was able to break through with goals from Josh Koepplinger and Lucas Rowe in the third, but it was too little too late as an empty netter by Kuznetsov sealed the deal.
Danbury and Carolina will tangle again tomorrow night at 6:05 in The Annex.