DANBURY HAT TRICKS at WATERTOWN WOLVES
Wolves Start the New Season with a Victory over Danbury
by Jeff Barrett
Watertown, NY - The puck dropped on the regular season with a matchup featuring teams that have won the last two Commissioner's Cup championships, the defending champion Danbury Hat tricks and the '22 champion Watertown Wolves, at the Watertown Municipal Arena in the first game of a home and home weekend between the teams.
It would take till just past the halfway point of period number one before the goal lamp would be lit for the first time in the new season. Johnny Ruiz was able to take advantage of a rebound that sat just in front of the blue ice, and slipped the puck under Wolves starter Josh Rosenzweig.
The Hat Tricks added to their lead at 16:34 when Nick DiNicola found a wide open right hand side of the goal off a pass from Johnny Ruiz and Daniel McKitrick.
Just twelve seconds later, Trevor Lord got the hometown fans on their feet when he stuffed the puck inside the lower left corner on the ice, beating Hat Tricks starter Frankie McClendon, cutting the lead in half.
Just a little under 2 minutes later, Lord was able to repeat the play, but this time from the right side. Knotting the game at 2 a piece. Watertown outshot Danbury 12 to 8 in the period.
It would only take one minute and twelve seconds for Trevor Lord to notch a hat trick on opening night, when once again he was Johnny on the spot, gathering a rebound and blasting it past McClendon to give the Wolves their first lead of the night and the season, 3-2.
The lead was short lived as just 1:06 later Zach Pamaylaon tied the game sliding the puck behind Rosenzweig. Assists on the goal belonged to Michael Falanga and Nick DiNicola.
After that point the goals came fast and furious for the Hat Tricks. Evan Lugo netted a power play goal at the 5:00 mark, assisted by Dmitry Kuznetsov and Kyle Gonzalez. Giving the Hat Tricks back the lead 4-3. Just 35 seconds after that Nick DiNicola would stretch the Danbury lead to 5-3 on an even strength goal, assisted by Johnny Ruiz.
Once again, the Wolves would have to scratch and claw their way back into the game.
This time it would be Tate Leeson that would go back to back to help Watertown tie the game.
First, at the 7:52 mark, Leeson would wrist one from the top of the right face off circle, and sneak the puck just inside the top right corner of the net, tightening the game with a power play goal, making it 5-4 Danbury. Mark Botttero was credited with the assist.
The game then began to take on a playoff atmosphere, with tempers flaring, and big hits being delivered from both sides. Leeson once again took advantage of a Wolves power play and snapped a nasty wrist shot from the right side, burying it on the top left side over McClendon's stick side, knotting the game at 5 each at 10:28 of the period. Joshua Tomasi and Trevor Lord were credited with assists on the goal.
A hat trick and assist were not enough to satisfy Lord, as he struck one more time, for another Watertown power play goal at 13:47. The assists belonged to Tate Leeson and William Godbout.
For the second time in the game, the Wolves had battled back from a 2 goal deficit to take the lead.
The third period ended up being a scoreless affair, with the Wolves battling off an abundance of Danbury offense to hang on for the win. Josh Rosenzweig would get his pro win between the pipes
Danbury's Nick DiNicola would be the games 3rd star with 2 goals and an assist. Tate Lesson with 2 goals and 3 assists was the second star. First star honors went to Trevor Lord for his 4 goals, 1 assist, 5 point night.
The two teams will tee it off again on Saturday evening in Danbury at 7:00pm.
HAT TRICKS 5, WATERTOWN WOLVES 6 IN SEASON OPENER ON THE ROAD
by Doug Lattuca
Watertown, NY - The Hat Tricks put up a valiant effort on the road but fell 6-5 to the Watertown Wolves in a back-and-forth high-scoring season opener. The Wolves came back from two two-goal deficits, buried five power-play goals, and scored the final three tallies of the contest.
Things started off well for the Hat Tricks when their Captain Jonny Ruiz netted the opening goal at 10:19 of the first assisted by defenseman Zach Pamaylaon.
Six minutes later, Ruiz was involved again, this time, setting up forward Nick DiNicola for the Hat Tricks’ second goal of the game at 16:34.
Down 2-0 with less than four minutes on the clock in the opening frame, Watertown stormed back and d-man Trevor Lord lead the way. The 25-year-old rattled off three straight goals within five minutes of each other. Lord buried one just 12 seconds after DiNicola’s goal and followed it up with a power-play score just 1:51 later. Lord wasn’t done, finding the back of the net on the man advantage again 1:12 into the second period.
Following three unanswered Watertown goals, the Hat Tricks flipped the script with three straight scores of their own. Pamaylaon tied the game at three 1:06 after Watertown’s go-ahead goal. 2:42 later, Lugo got his first of the year on the PP followed by DiNicola’s second score of the game just 35 seconds after.
The Hat Tricks wouldn’t score again though and the Wolves pounced with three straight power-play goals to close out the game, two from forward Tate Leeson and the game-winner off the stick of Lord.