Dashers Snap Losing Streak with 5-2 Win
By Nate Williamson
Danville, IL - The Danville Dashers finally caught their footing and grabbed a strong win at home against the Port Huron Prowlers on Saturday night at the David S. Palmer Arena. The Dashers dropped a neck-and-neck 3-2 game last night at home against the Prowlers, but avoided the dreaded 10-game losing streak with a victory on home ice.
The Dashers started out strong behind their revived attack, with Eric Masters finding the net halfway through the first period. A Patrik Zilak poke check kept the puck onside in Port Huron territory, and Justin Brausen found Masters in the slot. Masters made quick work of the open opportunity, and the Dashers took an early lead. Matt Kaludis would let up the first of two Prowlers goals when Austin Fetterly found the back of the net after firing home a third rebound after two shots from Jonathon Juliano and Shea Carey were stopped by the Dashers netminder. It wasn't long before Danville answered and retook the lead off of Cody Oakes' first professional goal. He proved to be a valuable acquisition for the Dashers, as he created many offensive opportunities this weekend. Oakes took advantage of great build-up play and fired home after a beautiful passing combination from Nathan Campbell and Levi Armstrong.
Danville continued to add to their lead in the second period, and made it 3-1 as starting center Patrik Zilak found the back of the net off assists from Justin Brausen and Player-Coach Dustin Henning. Zilak took advantage of a great pass into the slot and fired home past Corey Simons, much to the delight of the home crowd. Zilak picked up his first goal on the season to pair with seven assists, giving him 9 points in 12 games with the Dashers. Port Huron narrowed the gap with a power play goal that would prove to be their final of the night as a Matt Robertson slap shot found its way through the defense and past Kaludis, who was well-screened by a Port Huron attacker. It felt like the tide may turn in favor of the Prowlers, but that feeling was short lived when Brausen scored with a top-shelf shot, beating Simons to his glove-side to put the Dashers back up by two. The night got even better from there for the fans in attendance as Zilak strengthened the Dashers lead to three goals as he picked up his second goal of the night and season. Alex Basey and Henning picked up assists on the goal, giving Basey a point in his return after a 6-game suspension, and Brausen his third point on the night.
The third period was scoreless and sealed a much needed 5-2 victory for the Dashers.
The Dashers' attack looked like a team rejuvenated, with recent acquisitions Cody Oakes, Nathan Campbell, and Levi Armstrong all making impacts throughout the game. Matt Kaludis stopped many goal-hungry attempts from the Prowlers with acrobatic saves of screened shots and key puck wins. He would let just two in on the night and stop a total of 46 shots, keeping the Dashers in the game and being key in securing the win. The Stars for the Game were Patrik Zilak (2G, 1A), Justin Brausen (1G, 2A), and Matt Kaludis (2GA, .958SV%).
The Dashers travel for the next two weeks, going to Winston-Salem next weekend and Mentor the following weekend. The Dashers return home to the David S. Palmer Arena to host Port Huron again on Friday, January 25th for 70's Night.
Photo credit: LMB Studios