River Dragons Offense Stays White Hot; Sweep Watertown On The Road
Watertown, NY - The Columbus River Dragons pulled off their first weekend sweep in franchise history when they defeated the Watertown Wolves on Friday and Saturday by scores of 7-3 and 7-0 respectively.
Friday night's game featured Jared Rutledge in net for Columbus and Jeremy Pominville in the goal for Watertown. The first period was a particularly energetic one with both teams looking as sharp as they did in the previous meeting that went to overtime about two weeks ago.
Columbus struck first with Jay Croop firing home a loose puck during a loose puck scramble in the slot. Croop's 14th of the year came from Preston Kugler and MJ Graham and would stand as the only goal in the first period.
From there though Columbus would go on a tear. CJ Hayes potted in a goal on a nice centering feed from Parker Moskal about five minutes into the second period. 2-0 wasn't enough for the River Dragons and especially the line of Hayes, Moskal and Cameron Dimmitt. They would combine for another goal about two minutes later, and then off the 3-0 puck drop Moskal went in to the zone by himself and sniped the top right corner to make it 4-0 seven seconds later. After Moskal's second goal, Pomminville was pulled from the game, ending his night before the halfway mark of regulation.
Stephen "Will" Harvey would fare only a little better, but he still conceded before Watertown could get on the board. Some great zone movement from Yianni Liarakos gave space to Ivan Bondarenko crashing to the net. Bondarenko beat Harvey to the outside post and it was 5-0 Columbus on the road about halfway through the game.
Watertown would get one back before the period ended with Jamie Lukas finishing off a nice sequence of passing between he and Michael Desjarlais. Rutledge got a piece of it but couldn't get all of it as Lukas' right circle shot came after two rink wide passes to get the goaltender moving.
In the third period, the rough stuff started up between the Wolves and the River Dragons, who had nine former Wolves in the lineup this weekend. After the game was made 7-2 by Michael Desjarlais (his second point of the night) Chase Tippin fought former teammate Kugler and the later stages of the third period descended into chaos with multiple men in the penalty box being a common sight. The River Dragons got power play goals during all the penalties from Bondarenko and Anton Lennartsson to make it 7-2, but the final goal of the game belonged to Watertown with Deric Boudreau being in the right place at the right time for a power play tally of his own.
Rutledge picked up the win stopping 30 of 33 shots. Pomminville took the loss after he was pulled giving up four goals on 20 shots.
Three Stars from Friday: Parker Moskal, Ivan Bondarenko and Michael Desjarlais (WTR)
On Saturday a last-minute change gave Columbus fantastic results en route to the weekend sweep.
Rutledge was initially listed as the starter and took warmups as if he was but a late change occurred to put Cody Kaprinski in net. This may have surprised a few, but Karpinski would be more than up to the task of a late notice start with him registering his first shutout of the season during a 7-0 win.
Much like Friday night the first period was very energetic, up and down play, and saw Watertown put 22 shots at the Columbus net. Karpinski stopped them all and it took almost the entire period for Columbus to break through Pomminville. This time it was CJ Hayes feeding Cameron Dimmitt with a centering pass and Dimmitt joined the ranks of River Dragons to score against their former team.
In an almost deja vu kind of way, the River Dragons had another 1-0 lead heading into the second period and again exploded for multiple goals to start to turn the game into a route.
First MJ Graham unleashed a massive one-time shot past Pomminville after Liarakos put it on a tee for him. The goal gives Columbus its league leading 11th short handed tally on the season. Feeling that momentum the River Dragons then scored a goal with some tic-tac-toe passing and Tim Santopoalo became the fourth former Wolf to score this weekend. Near the end of the second period Fallis fired home a goal after a great designed faceoff play between him and Graham.
The third period on Saturday was much like the previous one that day. Hayes scored again to extend his point streak to nine games and his goal streak to eight games. MJ Graham would add a second goal in the game from an acute angle and then Moskal would end the scoring and Pomminville's night on Saturday with a blast from in-close.
Cody Karpinski got his fourth professional shutout and first one of this season with 41 saves. Pomminville got hooked again and gave up all seven of the River Dragons goals on 32 shots. Harvey in his relief made four saves.
Three Stars from Saturday: Cody Karpinski, MJ Graham, CJ Hayes
The River Dragons now look ahead to the Danville Dashers at home this Friday and Saturday. Friday is Education Night brought to you by Kinetic Credit Union. The first 1500 students into the game get a free ruler and there's a special ticket offer at the box office by presenting a valid school ID. Friday puck drop at 7:35, Saturday at 6:05.