Hunter, Moser Lift Ice Breakers to Blowout Win

By Jared Tennant 

Mentor, OH - Heading into Friday night’s game, the Watertown Wolves had handed the Mentor Ice Breakers three home losses as part of Mentor’s six-game losing streak to open the season. They seemed to have the edge on the young Ice Breakers, but this Mentor team is much different than the one Watertown encountered earlier in the month. Four goals from Drake Hunter and netminder Derek Moser’s second consecutive shutout led the Ice Breakers to a huge 7-0 victory over the defending Commissioner's Cup Champions at Mentor Ice Arena.

Mentor came out of the gate with a ton of energy, generating several scoring chances early in the contest. Hunter netted his first of the game at 8:40 of the opening period. It was just the beginning of a big night for the Ice Breakers power play unit and Hunter. 39 seconds later, Nate Farrington scored his second of the year for a quick 2-0 lead to cap off the scoring in the period. Patrick Porkka and Dzmitry Danilyuk contributed assists on the tally.

Hunter struck again with another power play goal at 5:55 of the second period before finishing off his hat trick less than a minute later, making it a 4-0 game and igniting the Mentor crowd. Hunter’s third goal of the game was a result of him being in the right place at the right time as he sent a rebound past Wolves netminder Cody Karpinski. The Ice Breakers got another power play chance later in the second, and they didn’t waste any time capitalizing. Porkka pushed Mentor’s lead to 5-0 just seconds into the man advantage. Mentor’s assault continued at 13:44 of the second period when Hunter capped off his career-best outing with his fourth of the night, going five-hole on Karpinski. In just eight games with the Ice Breakers, Hunter has scored six goals and dished out six assists. The Hamline University alum is now the Ice Breakers top scorer, one point ahead of forward Mark Essery (7-4-11). Things got chippy late in the second when Mentor defenseman Thomas Devesvre wrestled with Wolves forward Sam Williams. The altercation led to a fight between the two early in the third period.

At 10:13 of the final period, Gordy Bonnel made it a 7-0 game with a highlight reel goal, toe dragging through the Wolves defense before sending the puck over the glove of Karpinski. It was the only goal in what was mostly a quiet period.

For the Ice Breakers, blueliner Joe Swenson dished out a career-high three assists, while Ryan Alves and Brody Duncan added two assists each. Moser, who has a 1.96/.945 slash line, made 32 saves in the win and has not allowed a goal in his last two starts. Moser spent time with the Elmira Enforcers earlier this season but didn’t garner much playing time. The Iowa State product owns a 4-0-0-0 record and has been crucial to the Ice Breakers’ recent success.

Karpinski made 38 saves for the Wolves, who were out-shot by a 45-32 margin.

The Ice Breakers have a new outlook on their season since starting the year with six regulation losses. Mentor has four wins in its last five games and is one of the hottest teams in the FHL. These two teams are back in action on Saturday night in Mentor to finish out the two game series.

Photo credit: Dee Hannum