River Dragons Win In Overtime Over Danbury; Clinch First-Ever Playoff Berth
Danbury, CT - The Columbus River Dragons extended their winning streak to six games with a 4-3 overtime win over the Eastern Division leading Danbury Hat Tricks and in the process, clinched a spot in the 2020 FPHL playoffs.
The Hat Tricks got on the board first with a power play tally from Matyas Kasek 6:59 into the first period. Kasek found a loose puck in the slot and fired a quick wrister past Karpinski for the early lead.
The River Dragons would respond before the period ended when Anton Lennartsson streaked up the left wing side and zinged one through the five-hole of Dillon Kelley with about 57 seconds left in the period. Despite a massive shot advantage for the Hat Tricks through 20 minutes, the teams were tied heading into the locker room.
Coming into the second period the River Dragons found their first lead of the game when Ivan Bondarenko put a backhand into the net from an acute angle past Kelley. It was part of a big push the Dragons had in the middle frame to push the direction of play.
About midway through the second though, Danbury would start to turn that tide in their favor and were rewarded with a Cory Anderson snipe to tie the game 11:28 into the second. Then about five minutes later Kasek picked up his second goal of the night on a tap-in rebound off of Karpinski who initially saved a Shayne Morrissey shot.
Facing a 3-2 deficit in the 2nd intermission locker room the River Dragons again found it within themselves to keep pressing forward and forcing Kelley to make save after save in the third. Just when it would appear that Kelley was going to steal the game in the third Chase Fallis found the twine on a wraparound effort beating Kelley to the post for the game tying goal with 2:36 to go in the game.
With no team able to break the deadlock in regulation the River Dragons headed to their first road overtime game in franchise history and it would take 3:46 of OT play to find a winner. CJ Hayes grabbed a loose puck in his own end and used his speed to create a 2-on-1 look heading into the offensive zone. He picked his spot with a snipe of his own to the top right corner and the Dragons skated away with two points and their sixth consecutive win.
Because of this result and the Battle Creek result against Danville the River Dragons mathematically clinched the playoffs in their inaugural season. Due to the split in points on this night, the Danbury Hat Tricks also clinched the playoffs in the Eastern division.
Playoff ticket package details will be available from the team later this week. Stay tuned to the River Dragons on social media for more information.
The Dragons and Hat Tricks finish up this first weekend set Saturday night in Danbury with a 7:00 puck drop from Danbury Ice Arena. Catch the River Dragons call on 92.1FM/1420AM at 6:30 for the Burger King pregame show.
Three Stars of the Game
Matyas Kasek (DHT)
Kendall Bolen-Porter (DHT)