by Hat Tricks Staff

DANBURY, CT – The Danbury Hat Tricks (24,11-3, 71 pts) are set to host the Columbus River Dragons (19-9-4, 61 pts) for a three-game series beginning on Friday night at Danbury Arena.

Here are five things to know ahead of this weekend’s series

1. First Meeting

The Hat Tricks and River Dragons have not met this season, but have both spent virtually the entire season among the top-three of the league.

Danbury and Columbus will play all six contests of their season series over the next two weeks, kicking it off this weekend with three games in Danbury.

The River Dragons’ .635 points-percentage is .032 ahead of Danbury’s .623 for second-place in the league.

2. New Backstop

Since arriving two weekends ago, goaltender Pete Di Salvo has been rock-solid for Danbury. Di Salvo has posted a .916 save-percentage in three games for the Hat Tricks thus far.

In two wins, Di Salvo has a shutout against league-leading Watertown and a goals against-average of 3.00.

Brian Wilson also returned to the Hat Tricks two weeks ago, recording a 4-1 win in Delaware and making 38 saves in a loss to Watertown last weekend.

3. Captain Clutch

Captain Jonny Ruiz continues to lead the Hat Tricks in major offensive categories. Ruiz is third in the league in goals (35) and points (63).

Ruiz is a +18 on the season and has fired a league-leading 231 shots, 34 more than the next closest player (Justin MacDonald – WAT).

Ruiz has recorded a point in all but three games this year and has 19 points in his last 10 games.

Ruiz played his 100th career FPHL game last weekend against Watertown.

4. Scouting the River Dragons

Columbus enters with the longest win-streak in the FPHL, winning five-straight games.

The River Dragons are led by Josh Pietrantonio’s 27 goals and 56 points. Austin Daae is just behind, with 54 points. Daee leads the team with 30 assists.

Columbus recently acquired former Delaware Thunder goaltender Mike Cosentino, who made 20 out of 21 saves in his debut against the Thunder on Sunday.

The River Dragons have allowed the second fewest goals in the league (109) and have the second-best goal differential at +39.

5. Blast from the Past

Saturday night will be Danbury Hockey Alumni Night at Danbury Arena. Five inaugural members will be inducted into the Danbury Ice Arena Ring of Honor: Jim Galante, AJ Galante, Matt Caranci, Nick Niedert and Dave MacIsaac.

Festivites will begin with an alumni game for all Danbury Hockey Alumni before the game and continue with the Ring of Honor induction ceremony during the first period.

Tickets are available for all-three games here. Puck drop for each game is at 7 p.m. and will be available to watch on the Hat Tricks YouTube.