Hat Tricks get first crack at River Dragons - Series Preview (2/21 & 22)

by Casey Bryant

The Danbury Hat Tricks will get their first look at one of the hotter teams in the FPHL, the Columbus River Dragons, who enter into this weekend on a five-game winning streak. Danbury also has been putting up big numbers, winning their last seven consecutive games.

Game time is scheduled for 7pm at Danbury Arena. Tickets are available by clicking here. Live game streaming will be featured on the Hat Tricks' Youtube channel.

Let's take a look at what fans can expect on the ice.

scorey's big weekend

Cory Anderson had not played in front of the Danbury faithful since January 25th, as he served a five-game suspension imposed by the league. His return to the Hat Tricks' lineup paid big dividends, as he has six points in three games since his activation. 

He exploded last Saturday for four points against the Delaware Thunder in a 6-1 rout. Anderson provides a tremendous offensive spark when on the ice, with the ability to shoot from all angles while at the same time having excellent vision of the ice. His strength allows him to be just as dangerous along the boards as he is in open space waiting to fire. 

Anderson is currently on a six-game point streak, dating back to before his suspension. He currently sits second in the league in powerplay goals with eight. Expect "Scorey" to be an impact player this weekend. 

levesque heating up

Another player quietly racking up points for the Hat Tricks is player/assistant coach Nicola Levesque. Levesque went through a bit of a dry spell in January, tallying just a pair of assists over the course of eight games. He has finally gotten off the skid, registering points in his last five games. He snapped a 10-game goalless drought by rattling off goals in three consecutive games. 

Levesque is a tenacious player who has experienced the most success this year when paired with fellow FPHL veteran Phil Bronner. The duo has been a force of nature in the attacking zone, throwing their weight around and generating open space in front of the net. They will need to be on their game against a physical team like Columbus.

columbus' pim problem

The River Dragons are the most penalized team in the FPHL. All things considered, that's quite the accomplishment. They like to take the body and use their physicality to change up the momentum of play. If the Hat Tricks find themselves on the man advantage, they have to convert to keep the River Dragons at bay.

final thoughts

Danbury will have a few familiar faces back in the lineup tonight. Gordy Bonnel is expected to dress, as is defenseman Martin Tuma. Defender Thomas Freeman is expected to return to the lineup tomorrow night. There may be a bit of rust, but it's good to see some of the keys to the lineup return healthy.

As an added bonus, there will be a new face behind the Hat Tricks bench this weekend: Bill McCreary Sr., father of head coach Billy McCreary and former Toronto Maple Leaf.