River Dragons Win Feisty First Game Against Mentor

Columbus, GA - The Columbus River Dragons scored their first regulation win at home on Wednesday night against the Mentor Ice Breakers by a score of 3-1.

This game started under a full moon with the strange happenings at the Civic Center that went down.

A pane of glass broke behind the Mentor net during warmups to delay the start of the game by about 10 minutes. When the game was ready to get underway the clock froze at 20 minutes through the entire first play that only lasted about 30 seconds. After the referees conferred to get the correct time on the clock an issue was brought up with the Mentor lineup. Parker Moskal's name was incorrectly entered onto the lineup card and he was deemed ineligible to play for the rest of the game after a minor penalty was assessed.

The power play came up empty for Columbus and then Will Laporte took a couple penalties that resulted in a rare 7-minute power play for Mentor. The penalties read as an instigator and a fight major.

Despite all of that Columbus would get on the board first with a shorthanded tally as Yianni Liarakos fed CJ Hayes on a 2-on-1 and Hayes buried it in his return to the lineup from injury.

While the seven minutes would be killed off by Columbus, seconds after Laporte stepped on to the ice the Ice Breakers tied the game with a well-placed shot from Jon Buttitta as he extended his FPHL lead in goals and points.

The game stayed tied to the break and was hard-fought throughout. A break for Columbus off of a Mentor pass saw Ivan Bondarenko pick up a puck and enter 2-on-1 into the zone. The Ice Breaker defense back checked with great intensity and got back to prevent a good chance but Bondarenko played the puck onto the tape of Jay Croop after a circle-back and he out-waited Austyn Roudebush to un-tie the game 2-1. Minutes later after a Brody Duncan penalty, Chase Fallis deflected a shot in front of the net to give Columbus an insurance goal at 3-1.

While the third period would go scoreless it would not go without interest. Penalties kept piling up for both teams and while they dried up for Mentor near the end, Columbus would continue cutting ruts to the sin bin and ended up in a 6-on-3 situation with two men in the box and a net pulled by the Ice Breakers. Ryland Pashovitz would make a couple of big saves on the Mentor power play to secure all three points for Columbus.

Pashovitz stopped 37 of 38 shots for his second win of the season. Austyn Roudebush took his fourth loss on the season, he stopped 30 of 33 on this night.

The same two teams enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday away from the ice before going right back at it on Friday night for the second game in this 3-game series. Tickets available for that game and Saturday's Cancer Awareness Game (brought to you by AFLAC) at the Civic Center Box Office or by searching TicketMaster.

Three Stars of the Game

Ryland Pashovitz
CJ Hayes
Wyatt Trumbley