Dramatic Rally Lifts Ice Breakers to First OT Win
By Jared Tennant
Mentor, OH - The Mentor Ice Breakers entered Sunday’s series finale looking to salvage what had been a disappointing slate of games against the 5th place Danville Dashers, who opened the weekend with a pair of home wins. Mentor looked to be headed to their third straight loss against Danville before a two-goal rally in the final minute of regulation led to a game-winning goal from newly acquired forward Parker Moskal just over a minute into overtime, capping off a crazy 8-7 victory.
The Dashers controlled play early and took a 1-0 lead at 1:10 of the opening frame when Fred Hein scored on a wrister, stretching his point streak to seven games. Mentor responded on the power play at 3:45 with Mark Essery’s team-leading 21st goal of the season. Tommy Mahoney initially whiffed on a wrist shot from the blue line, but Essery was able to pick up the loose puck and fire a shot over the outstretched glove of Dashers goaltender Matt Kaludis. The excitement continued just 31 seconds later when Brett Oldaker scored off assists from Mahoney and Brody Duncan, who made his return from an 8 game suspension. Danville forward Taylor Cutting isn’t really known for his scoring touch, but you wouldn’t know it after watching this weekend’s games. The rookie out of Royersford, PA netted his 2nd goal in his last three games against the Ice Breakers with a beautiful deflection on a wrist shot from Hein that left Mentor netminder John Sellie-Hanson with little chance to make the save. The Dashers were able to pull ahead before the first intermission with a goal from Eric Masters at 19:42.
Danville was looking to take control in the first few minutes of the second period and did just that when Brandon Contratto scored at 3:01 on a power play for a 4-2 scoreline. Just 22 seconds later, Moskal netted his first goal of the evening on a great individual effort, carrying the puck in all the way from his own defensive zone before beating Kaludis on the near-side post. Levi Armstrong restored the Dashers lead on a breakaway that caused Ice Breakers Head Coach Iain Duncan to insert goaltender Derek Moser into the game, replacing Sellie-Hanson. Moskal answered once again with a nice deke that led to a backhanded finish at 7:39, less than a minute after Armstrong’s tally. Mentor tied the game at 5-5 when Matt Kadolph tipped home a slap shot from Duncan from the point. Oldaker also chipped in with an assist on the goal, which was Kadolph’s 12th of the season. Danville took the lead for the third time with less than three minutes left in the period when Daniel Martin netted a shorthanded goal before Alex Basey capitalized on a two man breakaway at 18:20. Moser made the initial save, but Basey sent the rebound through the five-hole for his second goal on the year to make it 7-5.
The Ice Breakers controlled play for the vast majority of the third period, but Danville created enough traffic in front of the net to prevent any realistic scoring opportunities. Sellie-Hanson came back into the game at the beginning of the third period and was able to settle things down, albeit with limited action. It wasn’t until the final few minutes of regulation that Mentor was able to get anything going offensively. After Jared Henderson was called for a check from behind at 17:26, Dustin Henning took a delay of game penalty 55 seconds later to setup a 5-on-3 power play for the Ice Breakers. Sellie-Hanson was pulled for the extra attacker, and the Ice Breakers used the ensuing three-man advantage to set up a beautiful passing play as Duncan sent a backdoor pass to Declan Conway, who deposited the puck into the open net on a one-timer. Mentor completed their last minute rally when a scramble in front of the net led to a rebound goal for Mahoney with only five seconds left in regulation, giving them their third power play goal of the evening and sending the Ice Breakers faithful into a frenzy.
After a great save by Sellie-Hanson on a Dashers breakaway in the first minute of overtime, Moskal was sprung free for a breakaway of his own off a pass from Patrick Porkka and capitalized to hand the Ice Breakers their first overtime win in franchise history.
Parker Moskal finished the game with 4 points after netting a hat trick and dishing out an assist on Mahoney’s goal. Tommy Mahoney chipped in with a 4 point night of his own with a goal and three assists, while Brody Duncan racked up 3 assists in his return from suspension. The Ice Breakers led shots on goal, 48-31, including a 21-3 advantage in the third period. For the Dashers, Brandon Contratto, Fred Hein, and Eric Masters each scored and dished out a pair of assists, while Matt Kaludis took his first overtime loss of the year after making 40 saves.
Photo credit: Dee Hannum