HAT TRICKS FLOCK TO CAROLINA TO KICK OFF SERIES
WINSTON-SALEM, NC – The Danbury Hat Tricks (5-2-1, 15 pts) continue their road trip on Friday when they head south to face off against the Carolina Thunderbirds (4-5-0, 11 pts) at 7:35 p.m.
This will be the Hat Tricks first meeting with the Thunderbirds this season.
Here are five things to know ahead of the weekend series:
1. Shots, Shots, Shots
Over the past two games, the Hat Tricks have ripped 112 shots. In a loss to Watertown last Saturday night, the Hat Tricks recorded 50 shots, but could only muster two goals.
On Wednesday night in Binghamton, the Hat Tricks added to that total, shooting 62 pucks at the Black Bears’ net. Danbury created more dangerous scoring chances in Wednesday’s game and slipped five pucks into the net.
“We did a much better job creating grade-A chances tonight,” said head coach Dave MacIsaac on Wednesday night’s performance. “We put a lot of pucks on net, but more importantly, we generated high-quality chances.”
On the flip-side, Danbury allowed just 28 total shots on Wednesday night, after allowing 15 in the first period.
2. Streaky Bunch
With Wednesday night’s win in Binghamton, the Hat Tricks snapped a three-game losing skid.
The Hat Tricks started the season with four consecutive victories, three of which came at home. They started off with two wins over Port Huron and a win over Watertown, all inside Danbury Arena.
In their first road trip of the season, the Hat Tricks won the first game against Port Huron. However, a loss in the second game was the beginning of a three-game skid.
After losing both legs of a home-and-home with Watertown, the Hat Tricks got back on track with Wednesday’s win against the Black Bears.
3. Between the Pipes
Goaltender Frankie McClendon snatched his first win with the Hat Tricks on Wednesday.
McClendon was awfully busy in his Hat Tricks debut on Nov. 19 at Watertown, facing 53 shots. He made 48 saves in the loss, but the Hat Tricks tightened up the defense on Wednesday.
McClendon faced made 14 of 15 saves in the first period and was 12-13 over the final 40 minutes.
He faced a few high-danger scoring chances that he was able to stop early and settled nicely into the game.
McClendon has made three-consecutive starts since joining the Hat Tricks.
Forward Tal Finberg had just one point in seven games coming into play on Wednesday night. Entering play on Friday, Finberg has two goals and four points.
Finberg recorded his first two career goals on Wednesday and added an assist to go with it for a three-point night.
“Tal has a great attitude and is always making good decisions with the puck,” said MacIsaac. “It was nice to see him get rewarded.”
5. Scouting the Thunderbirds
Carolina has grown accustomed to spending time atop the FPHL standings in recent years, but the Thunderbirds have started slowly this season.
Carolina has four wins in its first nine games, carrying a -1-goal differential.
John Buttitta leads the way for Carolina, recording 10 points in nine games. Buttitta has team-high figures in goals, assists and points.
Chris Hunt’s four goals are tied with Buttitta for the team lead. The Thunderbirds are scoring 3.8 goals per game, while the Hat Tricks average 4.5.
Carolina splits the net between goaltenders Nicholas Modica and Chris Paulin.
Modica has 2-3-0 record with an .897 save-percentage and 3.38 goals against average. In four games, Paulin is 2-2-0 with an .871 save-percentage and 4.25 goals against average.
Friday’s puck drop is at 7:35 p.m. and Saturday’s is at 6:05 p.m. Both games can be seen on Carolina’s YouTube