Hat Tricks at Thunderbirds - Series Preview (11/8 & 9)
The Danbury Hat Tricks are venturing down to North Carolina this weekend to battle the reigning champions, the Carolina Thunderbirds. Watch parties will be held at the Rabbit Hole in Danbury Arena both Friday and Saturday night with full food and beverage service (click here for details)! As the Tricks look to break into the win column, here's what fans should watch for in Winston-Salem.
QUALITY AND QUANTITY
What do you get when you outshoot your opponent 90-65 over the course of two games? Not a whole lot, apparently. Despite winning the shots-on-goal battle against the Danville Dashers last weekend, the Hat Tricks came away empty-handed, losing 5-3 and 6-2 respectively. Danbury will need to emphasize quality scoring chances just as much as they have been valuing pure quantity.
Nicola Levesque was a bright spot for the Hat Tricks last weekend, coming away with a goal and two assists. He's consistently been one of the best drivers of offense this season, utilizing his hulking frame and speed to carry the puck into the attacking zone. Carolina boasts one of the stingiest defenses in the league, so Danbury will need a Herculean effort out of Levesque.
Cory Anderson has gotten off to one of the hottest starts on the team, netting three goals in his first four games. In his first professional season, he's put himself in prime positions to score, especially on the powerplay where he's potted two of his three goals. A left-handed shot, he loves to position himself at the right circle where he can utilize his lethal wrister after forcing lateral movement up top.
Keeping Anderson going is going to be one of the primary points of focus for the Hat Tricks. He's a big body with silky mitts, dangerous both in close and from the perimeter. Keep an eye on #27 to see if he can wreak some havoc in the offensive zone this weekend.
Anderson scores against Port Huron (10/26/19)
Legs feed the wolf
Losing your first four games is far from fun. Skating suicides, or "Herbies" as they're affectionately called, is debatably less fun. But that's exactly what the Danbury Hat Tricks did in practice leading up to this weekend's set. They'll need to have their motors gassed up to keep up with a speedy, talented Thunderbirds team.
Jan Krivohlavek already has four goals and six points through his first four games in Carolina. Michael Bunn leads the team with seven points, looking to build on his 56 points in 52 games marker from last season. Their penalty kill has yet to allow a single powerplay goal. This is a well-coached, well-oiled machine. If Danbury is going to steal one (or two) on the road, they are going to need to have the stamina to match Carolina shift for shift and shot for shot for 60 minutes.
The Hat Tricks are desperate to get the monkey off their collective back and get that elusive first win in franchise history. They've come exasperatingly close in three of their first four contests. It wouldn't be surprising if desperation set in a bit early this weekend- which is a good thing. Every point matters in the FPHL, and Danbury would much rather return home next weekend with a little swagger in their step having knocked off the defending champs.
Live coverage of the Hat Tricks-Thunderbirds series will be hosted on the Carolina Thunderbirds Youtube channel, available for free on the go and at home. Friday's watch party begins at 7:30pm at the Rabbit Hole in Danbury Arena, while Saturday's begins at 6pm.