by Josh Starr
DANBURY, CT – The Hat Tricks (1-0-0-0-0) started the season with a 7-5 victory over the Port Huron Prowlers (0-1-0-0-0) on Opening Night.
With 3:06 to go in regulation, Steve Mele out-waited Port Huron goaltender Cory Simons to tuck a puck inside the post and put the Hat Tricks on top 6-5.
Mele’s first goal of the year came just after Alex Johnson scored a power-play goal for Port Huron to tie the game.
“Our team played hard-nosed hockey tonight and that’s a big reason we won the game,” said head coach Dave MacIsaac. “We need to continue to show the physicality we played with tonight.”
The Hat Tricks’ go-ahead goal came just after a five-minute penalty kill in which Jonny Ruiz scored a short-handed goal, ripping one by Simons inside the far post.
Dmitry Kuznetsov made his Hat Tricks debut in style on Friday night. The forward scored a hat trick, using his speed to create offense for Danbury.
The Opening-Night victory was Danbury’s first game in 601 days. Leaders Cory Anderson and Jonny Ruiz both spoke about “unfinished business” prior to the season.
The Hat Tricks displayed that hunger tonight, never trailing throughout the game.
Danbury is back in action tomorrow night at home against Port Huron. The puck drops at 7 p.m. Tickets are available at danburyhattricks.com/tickets
and the game will be streamed on the Hat Tricks YouTube.