The Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks are officially streaking. A successful road trip to Maryland resulted in a two-game sweep of the Black Bears, marking three consecutive wins and a 4-1 record to start the year.
Friday night was a comeback effort, as Luke Mountain opened the scoring for the Black Bears just four minutes into the contest. Jake Veri would answer back towards the end of the frame, receiving an Alex Duncan pass from behind the end line to snipe a one-timer in the slot.
The game would remain deadlocked after a back-and-forth second period, with both goaltenders holding firm. Ultimately, it was Ben Biester who potted the game-winning goal for the Jr. Hat Tricks, capitalizing on a net-mouth scramble after a shot from the blueline. Edvard Nordlund would make 30 saves on 31 shots to earn the victory.
Special teams proved to be the difference in Round Two. Danbury leapt out to an early lead thanks to a powerplay goal from Nolan Barrett. Maryland would fight their way back, however, striking late in the first and twice more in the second to earn a 3-1 lead.
Danbury was gifted a 5-on-3 late in the second period, as Maryland’s Daniel Colabufo received two minutes for tripping and Jack Hillman took a double-minor for high sticking. Jason Kleinhans roofed a wrist shot for his first goal of the season, shortly followed by a Cody Hoban one-timer at 5-on-4 to tie the game heading into the second intermission.
A slew of penalties early in the third period gave the Hat Tricks yet another 5-on-3 look. This time, it was Shea Courtmanche burying a redirection to give Danbury the lead. Alex Duncan would tack on an empty netter to secure the 5-3 win.
“After we got the puck off the draw, I posted up in front of the net because I knew Dags [D’Agostino] was going to shoot,” Courtmanche said after the game. “He put a perfect puck on net and I got a piece of it.”
Josh Seeley earned his second win of the season in net Saturday. Mark D’Agostino recorded three assists in the victory.
Head coach Billy McCreary was quick to highlight special teams as a difference-maker this weekend- though still believes there’s room for improvement despite the success.
“The resiliency we showed killing off 15 short-handed situations was a key factor in our success,” he explained. “We weren’t particularly pleased with our powerplay but you have to give the guys credit, we stuck to it and found a way to pot four powerplay goals in the last game.”
“We just need to do a better job of getting traffic at the net and trusting our shots from the perimeter,” he noted.
D’Agostino, a key contributor for the team, believes the bar being set high by McCreary and company feeds into the team’s play.
“Four points was an expectation for us,” he said. “We had a great week at practice, and everyone’s getting comfortable out there. We’ve bought into the style of play, we used our speed as a team to our advantage. Everyone was doing their job and created opportunities for us to put the puck in the net.”
“We played really mature and smart,” Courtmanche added. “Every point really counts in this league and to get all four points on the road is huge.”
Danbury will return home this Friday and Saturday for a rematch with the Black Bears. Puck drop is scheduled for 1:30pm on Friday and 7pm on Saturday. Live coverage will be featured on HockeyTV.com.