by Chris Lynch
Danbury, CT- A raucous opening night crowd enjoyed watching the Danbury Hat Tricks top the Delaware Thunder 5-3 in the season’s opening game for both teams.
Danbury piled up 55 shots on net across the night. Dustin Jesseau started the evening’s scoring at the 1:08 mark of the game, tipping in a Jared Yau shot through Trevor Martin. Steve Leonard continued the scoring fun for the home team at the game’s 16:51 mark and sent the game into the first intermission at a 2-0 Hat Tricks advantage.
The offense kept going in the second period, as Dustin Jesseau scored his second goal of the game 3:57 into the stanza. The mid-section of the frame belonged to the visitors, as Alex Soucy potted his team’s first goal of the season at the 10:28 mark and Arthur Aloyan notched an unassisted goal 2:01 later.
The teams also exchanged plenty of pleasantries throughout the second period. Eight of the game’s fifteen penalties came in the middle stanza, including fighting majors for Danbury’s Steve Leonard and Daniel Amesbury and Delaware’s Denis Gafarov and Alex Soucy. Soucy was also serves a game misconduct for physical abuse of an official and was thus ejected from the game.
Despite all the penalties, the penalty kills were excellent for both outfits. The teams were a combined 1-10 on the man advantage throughout the course of the night. The lone power play goal came for Danbury when Tristan Mock scored his first professional goal in his first professional game. A mere 15 seconds later, the Thunder answered. John Amanatidis cut the deficit to 4-3. Head Coach Lou Santini called timeout with 1:03 left to play and drew the play up, but Danbury had other ideas. John MacDonald notched his second point of the night with an empty-netter and ended the scoring at 5-3.
A sour note filled the arena in the final seconds as Kameron Wilson took a hard hit and needed to be helped to the bench.
Trevor Martin stopped 51 of 54 shots faced and kept the Thunder in the game.
Hat Tricks netminder Frankie McClendon stopped 12 of 15 shots in the season debut.
Jarod Yau, Jonny Ruiz, and Gordie Bonnel all recorded an assist each in the win for Danbury.
Of his team’s power play chances, Danbury Head Coach Billy McCreary observed that “We rung a couple bars and we had the looks we wanted. We just didn’t have the normal touch but its game one. We’ll keep going and make a few adjustments.”
The Hat Tricks and Thunder re-match Saturday night at the Danbury Ice Arena. Puck drops at 7PM on October 22nd.