Third Period Rally Sends Wolves Past Ice Breakers
By Jared Tennant
Mentor, OH - The Mentor Ice Breakers controlled play and jumped out to a three-goal lead early on in Saturday night's game. But the veteran Watertown Wolves used a hat trick from Brandon Wahlin and four third period goals to take a decisive 8-5 win at Mentor Ice Arena.
Watertown took an early 1-0 lead off a Sam Williams goal at 3:33, but Mentor responded with three straight goals throughout the remainder of the opening period. Declan Conway’s third goal of the season tied the game before Ryan Alves scored a goal after some great team play between the Ice Breakers forwards. Mark Essery created a fast break with his speed and sent a pass across the crease to Drake Hunter, whose shot was blocked by Watertown netminder Cody Porter. Essery corralled the rebound and fed Alves in front of the net for the one-time finish. Late in the first period, Alves struck again on a delayed penalty call against the Wolves, picking up a loose puck and sending a backhand finish over Porter for a 3-1 Ice Breakers lead.
Mentor stretched its lead to 4-1 at 5:39 of the second period when Essery fed Brett Oldaker, who scored his fourth goal of the season. The Wolves answered quickly though, with a tally from Tyler Gjurich to make it a 4-2 game. Another power play goal from Essery restored Mentor’s three-goal lead. Conway patiently held the puck behind the Wolves’ net and waited for Essery to find space before feeding him for a one-timer -- But the Ice Breakers’ big lead was short-lived. Back-to-back goals from Wahlin put the Wolves within one at 5-4 heading into the second intermission.
Watertown came out on fire in the third period. George Holt netted a goal at 8:49 before Wahlin, Gjurich, and Yates rounded out the scoring. The Wolves broke through for eight goals off Ice Breakers goalie Derek Moser, who had shut them out on Friday night. Mentor was hurt by several penalties in the third period, forcing the Ice Breakers to kill off multiple 5-on-3 situations. The Ice Breakers allowed only one power play goal in the game, but it was part of the Wolves’ big third period.
Mentor had a solid night on its power play, going 2-for-7 on the man advantage and continuing its recent trend of multiple power play goals per game. Porter logged his third win of the season after making 27 saves, while Moser suffered his first loss, falling to 4-1-0 following a 39-save effort.
Wahlin, the 1st Star of the Game, collected five points for Watertown (3-2-5), while Gjurich, the 2nd Star, posted four points with a 2-2-4 scoring line. For Mentor, Essery (1-2-3) and Conway (1-2-3), who was the 3rd Star, enjoyed productive outings while Alves scored a team-high two goals. Hunter and Gordy Bonnel dished out a pair of assists each for the Ice Breakers, who were out-shot by a 47-32 margin in the loss.
These two teams are back in action next Friday, December 7th from Watertown Municipal Arena. The Ice Breakers will take on the Elmira Enforcers at First Arena on Saturday to close out the two-game road trip.
Photo credit: Dee Hannum