Fists fly as Jr. Hat Tricks overcome early deficit for 4-3 victory

The game started, and a brawl soon followed.

The Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks set the tone with a four-pair line brawl at the start of Sunday’s contest, leading to seven ejections. The physical tone would carry throughout the game, as the Jr. Hat Tricks overcame a 3-1 deficit to take a 4-3 victory at Danbury Arena.

Maine’s Luke Antonacci opened the scoring, capitalizing on a Danbury defensive zone turnover.

Danbury’s Levi Stauber would take advantage of a second-period powerplay, netting his 5th goal of the season on a wrist shot past Maine goaltenders Avery Sturtz’s glove. Stefan Owens would answer for Maine just 40 seconds later, potting his third goal of the weekend to give Maine back the lead.

Later in the second period, Ignat Belov bang home a loose rebound to stretch the Nordiques’ lead to 3-1.

Danbury captain Shane Murphy would get the Jr. Hat Tricks back into the game, collecting a perfect lead pass, penetrating the Maine zone and converting on a breakaway chance. Aggressive Danbury play would force a turnover in Maine’s defensive zone moments later. Gabe Dombrowski roofed a wrist shot past Sturtz to even up the score.

The third period would start similarly to the second, with a Maine player taking an early penalty. With Jack Strauss sitting in the box, Danbury’s Jason Kleinhans struck on the powerplay to give Danbury a 4-3 lead. Kleinhans now has four powerplay goals in March.

Goaltender Josh Seeley would preserve the lead, stopping 37 of 41 shots.

“That stuff actually fires me up,” Seeley noted of the game’s physicality. “[Our defense] kept it together through the full 60 minutes, and overall it was a fun game to be a part of.”

The Jr. Hat Tricks visit the Northeast Generals next weekend in Massachusetts.

Written by Johnny Alexandre