COLUMBUS RIVER DRAGONS at DANBURY HAT TRICKS
Falanga Leads Hat Tricks to 5-4 Overtime Win against River Dragons
by Jim Cerny
Danbury, CT.- Michael Falanga’s second goal of the game, with 41.3 seconds remaining in overtime, lifted the Danbury Hat Tricks to a thrilling 5-4 win against the Columbus River Dragons at Danbury Arena on Saturday.
The goal capped a wild sequence, where each team believed it had won. The Hat Tricks thought Falanga scored on a drive to the net and began to celebrate but the referee waved off the apparent goal. The River Dragons kept playing and Jacob Kelly scored on a breakaway at the other end of the ice, seemingly to end the game. The on-ice officials converged to discuss what happened and decided that Falanga had indeed scored, giving the Hat Tricks the victory.
Falanga also scored on a breakaway at 2:41 of the first period to give Danbury a quick 2-0 lead, shortly after Dustin Jesseau scored his team-leading 25th goal 1:09 into the game. Falanga has eight goals this season.
Columbus pulled even before the first intermission. Alex Storjohann scored his 21st goal at 12:57 and Kelly scored at 19:45 to make it 2-2.
The Hat Tricks started quickly again in the second period. Michael Marchesan scored an unassisted goal 43 seconds into the period. Then Lucas DeBenedet made it 4-2 for Danbury, scoring at 3:55.
Again, the River Dragons came back to tie the game before the intermission, scoring on both ends of a 5-on-3 power play. Kelly scored his second goal of the game, 30th this season, at 17:12 during the two-man advantage. Jay Croop then scored a 5-on-4 goal 20 seconds later to tie the game, 4-4.
Jesseau and DeBendet each had a goal and an assist for Danbury and Dmitry Kuznetsov had two assists. Brian Wilson made 26 saves for his League-high 17th win in goal.
Storjohann led Columbus with three points (one goal, two assists) and Christian Pavlas finished with 28 saves.
The Hat Tricks ended their season series with a 2-1-1 record against the River Dragons. Three of the four games were decided in overtime or a shootout, including each of Danbury’s wins.
Danbury will travel to Watertown next weekend (Feb. 10-12) for a three-game series against the Wolves.
RIVER DRAGONS LOSE HEARTBREAKER IN OT TO HAT TRICKS
Kelly Scores Twice, Storjohann Records
Three Points in Loss
by Tom Callahan
Danbury, CT - A wild, back-and-forth game ended with a referee review and two goals on the same sequence in overtime that ended in favor of the Danbury Hat Tricks by a 5-4 count on Saturday night at Danbury Arena.
In the overtime, the drama began with a goalmouth scramble in front of Columbus River Dragons goaltender Christian Pavlas. Initially it appeared the puck was stopped from crossing the goal line by the River Dragons’ Alex Storjohann, and then a race up the ice resulted in a breakaway goal for Jacob Kelly. As the River Dragons celebrated the apparent overtime win, the referees convened for a discussion in the crease, eventually deciding that Michael Falanga had scored the game winner on the preceding scramble, giving the win to Danbury.
The reversal took away what would have been a dramatic hat trick for Kelly, who scored his league-leading 29th and 30th goals of the season on Saturday. Storjohann also posted a three-point night with a goal and two assists.
The first two periods followed almost the exact same pattern, with Danbury going ahead by two goals early in the frame followed by the River Dragons rallying to tie the game before the end of the period. In the second, Columbus capitalized on consecutive power plays of five-on-three and five-on-four to knot the game again, this time at 4-4.
Saturday wraps up the season series between the two teams, with Columbus ending with a 1-1-2 record against the Hat Tricks. Next weekend the Carolina Thunderbirds host the River Dragons on Friday and Saturday night before the Delaware Thunder come to Columbus on February 17, 18 and 19.