First Game, First Win: Columbus Takes Inaugural Game Battle From Delaware

Harrington, DE - The Columbus River Dragons started their inaugural season on the right foot with a 5-2 win over fellow expansion team the Delaware Thunder on Friday night.

It was a sloppy start from Delaware that did them in as penalties kept racking up early. After three straight power plays for Columbus were killed off by the Thunder in the first 10 minutes the River Dragons finally broke through with Jay Croop slapping one into the top-left corner for the River Dragon's first ever goal. It was a proud moment for owner Jeff Croop as well to see his son get his team's first goal.

Once Croop scored the floodgates opened for a bit as a Tim Santopoalo goal on a 2-on-1 and a Chad Herron shorthanded tally all came in after that. Before you could blink the River Dragons had scored three goals in 1:40 of game time.

Heading into the locker room up three, the River Dragons didn't let up on the gas pedal though. A little over two minutes into the second, Zach Pease blocked a Taylor Cutting shot from the point and strode in on a breakaway on Aaron Taylor. A great forehand-backhand move put the puck past Taylor's blocker and it was 4-0 Columbus.

Delaware would respond in this period, as Ryan Marker scored the first goal in Thunder history set up by a nice passing play from Basey and Brandon Contratto.

Marker would get another tally on a turnover in the River Dragons zone and wrapping one around to the near post on goaltender Jared Rutledge. Marker's second goal came with about 13 minutes still left in the game which gave Delaware some hope to grab something out of their first game.

The River Dragons got hit with an unfortunate injury while it was 4-2. Midway through the third period, forward Jagger Williamson fell awkwardly while taking a hit and suffered a lower body injury. He left the game and was checked at a local hospital and will be out indefinitely.

The team was able to rally around their injured teammate and got a power play goal from Brett Menton who jumped up on a play and split the defense beautifully to get in on goal.

The River Dragons took all three points in their first game and Jared Rutledge got his first win of the season stopping 31 of 33 shots in the contest. Aaron Taylor took the loss for Delaware making 34 saves on 38 shots.

The same two teams go at it again on Saturday night with a 7:05 puck drop in Delaware, this means a 6:35 pregame show on WRCG.

---River Dragons---

HOCKEY RETURNS to the Columbus Civic Center on Friday, November 1st at 7:35 p.m. when your River Dragons take on the Elmira Enforcers to open the home portion of their inaugural FPHL schedule. The River Dragons have also scheduled two neutral site games in Athens, GA this summer. Visit for season ticket information and everything you need to know about the Columbus River Dragons.