Hat Tricks Drop First Home Game to Thunderbirds

by Herm Sorcher

Danbury, CT- Through the 2022 portion of the 2022-23 season, the Danbury Hat Tricks won all 11 games they hosted at the Danbury Ice Arena. On the first home game night of the 2023 calendar year, the Hat Tricks lost their first home game of the season and only the second regulation loss of the whole season in a 6-3 final against the Carolina Thunderbirds.

Carolina landed the only first period goal at the 16:30 mark of the frame when the FPHL’s leading scorer, Gus Ford, stayed hot as an oven in Gordon Ramsey’s kitchen, scoring on a 2-on-1 to put the Thunderbirds up at the intermission.

Dustin Jesseau flipped the scoring with two beautiful goals in the second period. The first came only 1:06 into the frame on a shorthanded breakaway. The second came 6:53 in on a wicked solo skating effort to put the Hat Tricks in the lead 2-1.

From the 11:18 mark of the second until the 18:10 point, the Thunderbirds flipped the script and rattled off four straight goals by four different scorers. Josh Koepplinger had a seeing eye point shot to tie the game. Lucas Rowe extended his goal scoring streak to five games in a row at the 12:31 mark. Joseph Kennedy drew Brian Wilson from his net and scored on the backhand at 16:53. And Jan Salak potted a goal at 18:10 to extend the lead to 5-2 at the second intermission.

Jonny Ruiz offered pushback with a goal only 22 seconds into the third period and the Hat Tricks outshot Carolina 8-5 in the final stanza. But alas, Danbury could not get another puck through Mario Cavaliere, who stopped 24 of 27 shots, and John Buttita potted the empty netter to end the scoring at 6-3.

Brian Wilson stopped 21 of 26 shots on the Danbury net.

The Hat Tricks drop to 20-2-2 on the season and stay in first place in the Empire Division by five points over the Binghamton Black Bears.

Carolina improves to 16-6-1 and jumps Motor City into third place in the Continental Division.

Before the game, Danbury honored the life of Melanie Frenkel, announcing that a permanent bell will be added to the area around Section 108 in the Danbury Arena in her memory.

The Hat Tricks and Thunderbirds meet again on Saturday night to conclude the two-game series.

Puck drops at 7 PM at the Danbury Arena.