Last-Minute Shorthanded Goal From Liarakos Gives All 3 Points To Columbus
Columbus, GA - The River Dragons won an offensive showcase against the Mentor Ice Breakers sealing the win with a Yianni Liarakos shorthanded goal with less than a minute to go. Final score tonight was 7-5.
Mentor jumped out early and often in this one. Just over a minute into the game the Ice Breakers broke the ice with Nate Farrington firing one short side past Ryland Pashovitz for the game's first goal. Mentor would add two more thereafter, one from Jon Buttitta (his FPHL leading 15th of the year) and then a shorthanded goal came on a 3-on-none rush for Mentor and was finished off by Parker Moskal doing his best Peter Forsberg imitation.
From that shorthanded goal the River Dragons would wake up and on the same power play opportunity as Moskal scored on Yianni Liarakos slammed in his first of the night staying in the right place at the right time for the easy goal. Columbus would get it back to a one goal game before the period ended when Tim Santopoalo knocked down a stretch pass while Mentor was on a power play. He settled the puck in the slot and outwaited Austyn Roudebush for his third goal of the year to make it 3-2.
The second period would be Columbus' turn to start fast when a shot from Mike Chemello was saved by Roudebush's shoulder but then the rebound popped up in the air. Many sticks missed it as it fell back to the ice and bounced off something or someone and landed in for a tie game. The Dragons would keep up that momentum when MJ Graham lasered one into the net off an Ivan Bondarenko pass and the River Dragons had their first lead of the night.
Mentor answered back before Columbus could try to run away with the game. Declan Conway fired a loose puck from the high slot and buried one high-corner to tie the game at four.
Just as quickly though, Columbus answered. Ivan Bondarenko would restore Columbus' lead 49 seconds later with a well-placed shot on a 2-on-2 with MJ Graham driving the net.
Facing a one-goal deficit Mentor would push the pace and take the shot lead in the game for a brief time while searching for the equalizer. They would finally get it when Parker Moskal fired a bullet past Pashovitz with about six minutes left in the game to get Mentor back in it.
A penalty by Dzmitry Daniliuk with about four minutes left in the game gave Columbus a prime opportunity to take the lead late in the game, but Mentor's penalty kill showed up big time to kill off the two minutes and keep it 5-5. Mentor then received a power play of their own when Will Laporte took a hooking penalty with 1:14 left in the game.
Mentor had the advantage but it was a hard forecheck from CJ Hayes that forced a turnover out of Brody Duncan and then Liarakos walked in a loose puck to the slot and sniped the top-right corner for what would end being the game winning goal. Chase Fallis added an empty netter with about 8 seconds left in the game to give the final score of 7-5.
Ryland Pashovitz picks up his second straight win with 30 saves on 35 shots. Austyn Roudebush took the loss stopping 32 of 37 shots.
The same two teams finish the three-game series on Saturday night with a 6:05 puck drop at the Civic Center. Burger King pregame show starts at 5:35 on WRCG. Tickets available at the Civic Center Box Office or on TicketMaster
Three Stars of the Game