Five Goal 2nd Period Propels Dragons To Game 1 Win
Columbus, GA - The Columbus River Dragons secured a road victory in their semifinal series with the Danbury Hat Tricks to take the series lead 1-0.
Danbury came out as the stronger offensive force in the first period with Jonny Ruiz beginning the scoring at the 15:09 mark of the first period with a rebound goal assisted by Gordy Bonnel and John Macdonald to put Danbury up 1-0. MJ Graham and Nicola Levesque were involved in an altercation in front of the Danbury bench at the 17:45 mark of the first period which saw the two head back to the locker room with fighting penalties.
Danbury started the scoring for the period once again in the second with an even strength goal from Steve Mele at the 8:14 mark assisted by Nicola Levesque to stretch the lead to 2-0 for the Hat Tricks. A goal from Jay Croop at the 11:14 mark of the second period caused a major shift in momentum in favor of the River Dragons and cut the lead to 2-1 for the Hat Tricks. Parker Moskal capitalized on this momentum and made a goal of his own at the 14:37 mark of the second period, out waiting Brian Wilson and sneaking one into the left side of the net to even the score at 2-2. Joe Smith was the next River Dragon to add to the scoring tally with a goal at the 15:20 mark of the second period assisted by Alex Storjohann and Hunter Bersani to give Columbus their first lead of the night. Hunter Bersani extended that lead just 43 seconds later with a goal assisted by Parker Moskal and MJ Graham, putting the score at 4-2 in favor of Columbus. Josh Pietrantonio wrapped up the scoring of the period at the 16:30 mark of the second period assisted by Austin Daae and Jagger Williamson to give Columbus a 5-2 lead.
Danbury gained momentum back in the third period with Aaron Atwell scoring at the 15:20 mark assisted by Jonny Ruiz to cut the Columbus lead to 5-3. Steve Mele scored his second of the night for Danbury at the 18:15 mark to put the Hat Tricks within one of Columbus. Kirk Underwood shut down the Danbury comeback with an empty net goal assisted by Jagger Williamson to make the score 6-4 in favor of Columbus. The final goal of the game came at the 19:54 mark of the third period with another empty net goal, this one by Austin Daae to conclude the score at 7-4.