Brausen Tallies 3 Points as Dashers Fall to Wolves in Shootout

By Nate Williamson

Danville, IL - Though the Danville Dashers are eliminated from playoff contention in the Federal Hockey League and the Watertown Wolves are solidly locked in, the game on Friday night at David S. Palmer Arena looked to be a battle for the Cup. The two teams went back and forth almost the whole contest, but some stellar goaltending from Watertown netminder David Otter served as the separating factor in a match that was down to the wire, even in the deciding shootout. 

Justin Brausen scored just forty seconds into the contest on assists from Fred Hein and Jared Henderson, as an intercepted Dasher pass rebounded to Brausen, who found himself on-one-on with Otter. It wasn't long though before Yianni Liarakos answered back for Watertown, when he scored on a shot that went sliding past the overturned glove of Danville's Matt Kaludis. Watertown scored their second on a George Holt goal with assists from Tim Santopaolo and Aleh Shypitsyn. Champaign native Levi Armstrong got his 7th goal of the season to tie the game at 2 when his backhand found its way past Otter.

Liarakos netted his 2nd goal of the night when he went bar-down to beat Kaludis on a stick-side attempt. He put in a fantastic performance on the night, including a SportsCenter Top-10 finish on the goal, in which he bounced the puck on his stick, carrying it through the Danville zone. His night was cemented by his hat trick goal on a backhand that stumped Kaludis to increase Watertown's lead to 4-2. The Dashers were down but not out, however, as Brausen scored once again on a breakaway, gliding past several Watertown defenders to score with just four minutes remaining in the second period. It wasn't long before the Dashers rode that momentum into a tying goal from the Captain Dustin Henning when his slapshot hit the side of the post and bounced in to tie things at 4-4 with just over thirty seconds left in the frame.

The third period went without incident for both sides, as it appeared most likely that an overtime situation would be in order, until Deric Boudreau scored on a beautiful display of passing in front of the Dasher net from Santopaolo and Lane King. The Dashers' hopes appeared to be cut down after that goal, until Armstrong found Hein with a pass through the slot, where Hein buried home the tying goal.

The game went into overtime with the Dashers gaining a power play with just under two minutes left. They were unable to capitalize, despite leading the overtime shot total, 5-2, and the game went to a shootout.

The shootout was opened quickly by Watertown's first shooter Tyler Prendergast who beat Kaludis stick-side before Fred Hein, the Dashers' third shooter, found the back of the net to tie it at 1-1. Those two goals would remain the only in the shootout period, until Watertown's Cameron Dimmitt shimmied his way into a hard wrist shot that ended the contest in favor of the Wolves.

These two teams will go head-to-head once again on Saturday night for Blues Night at the David S. Palmer Arena.

Photo credit: LMB Studios