by Chris Lynch
Danbury, CT- A rematch of last year’s opening round playoff series between the Danbury Hat Tricks and the Binghamton Black Bears saw two halfs. The first was a dominant scoring display from the Danbury Hat Tricks. The second featured a parade of penalties and fist-to-cuffs.
Danbury jumped off the blocks with four goals and the most complete period of the young season in the opener. Luke Richards hung a goal on the board 1:02 into the game and the avalanche of offense only picked up. Dustin Jesseau scored 35 seconds later. Richards scored his second goal of the evening and fifth in his first three games of the season at the 8:24 mark of the frame. Danbury capped the scoring with Sandy Hook, CT, native Evan Lugo punching home his second goal of the season.
The first period shot counter was 20-4 for the Hat Tricks. Owen Liskiewicz played the first period, stopping 20 of 24 shots on net. Joseph Sheppard entered for the second and third periods and stopped 27 of 28 shots on his net.
The pace slowed a bit in the second. Danbury expanded their lead to 5-0 with Dustin Jesseau dicing the Black Bear defense to set up Steven Leonard for a goal of the year candidate at the 4:38 mark of the second period. Binghamton broke the shutout with a nifty roof job by Gavin Yates to make the scoring 5-1 at the frame’s 9:53 mark.
The rest of the game did not sport a goal, but there was no lack of action. The teams combined for 13 penalties in the last half of the final period. Most notably, there were six fights throughout the course of the night. Daniel Amesbury and Jake Schultz shared two dances, one five seconds into the game and the other in the late stages of the third period.
All-in-all, the Hat Tricks emerged with a 5-1 victory. Danbury’s Dustin Jesseau hung a goal and three assists on the board for four points and a total of twelve points across his first three games.
Danbury Goalie Brian Wilson stopped 23 of 24 shots in his season debut.
The Hat Tricks and Black Bears complete their season series against each other on Saturday night at the Danbury Ice Arena. Puck drop is at 7PM ET.