Pounding the rock: Passarelli, McCurdy look to play the “Danbury Way” for fans

DANBURY, CT– The Danbury Jr. Hat Tricks will be welcoming in a home crowd for the first time since November 5th this weekend when they host the division-leading Johnstown Tomahawks. Alternate captains Hunter McCurdy and Valentino Passarelli are looking forward to finally having home support.

“I’m really excited,” Passarelli smiled. “The first few games we had people, it was fun.” 

Passarelli, a four-year NAHL veteran, is third on the team in points this season with 16 in 21 games. A skilled passer with four assists in his last six games, he is relied on to lead the Danbury offense both at 5-on-5 and on the powerplay.

“We’ve started playing consistently, it took a little time,” Passarelli said of the team’s 11-9-1 record. “We’re a little behind other teams, our process is delayed. It’s normal.” 

McCurdy, a stay-at-home defenseman, primarily focuses on his duties in Danbury’s own zone. A true bruiser and never one to back away from a fight, his teammates look to him for confidence and inspiration both on the ice and off. 

“We usually say, ‘Pound the Rock,'” McCurdy said. “That means, give it your all. Play a hard 60 minutes. That’s a key part to our game: our physicality.”

McCurdy spoke on the growth of his own game in the recent past, blossoming into a stalwart on the Danbury blueline.

“I feel more confident on the ice,” McCurdy reflected, crediting head coach Billy McCreary for his development. “[Billy] has helped a lot with angles, playing in the corners, more skating.”  

Danbury is starting to gain momentum, having swept The Maryland Black Bears last weekend in a two-game series. McCurdy and Passarelli noted the team beginning to “click” and find their identity as a physical team.

The last time Danbury and Johnstown met, hard-nosed play and intense action led to the gloves being dropped on two occasions. Passarelli predicted a similarly physical battle this weekend.

“We’re not backing down,” he emphasized. “We’ll do it the Danbury Way.”

The Jr. Hat Tricks face-off with the Tomahawks Friday and Saturday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. Tickets are available online for limited capacity crowds by clicking here.

Written by Johnny Alexandre