Hat Tricks Survive Game Four, Force Finals to Game Five

by Chris Lynch

Danbury, CT- The Danbury Hat Tricks and Carolina Thunderbirds met on Saturday night for Game Four of the Commissioner’s Cup Championship series and battled to a 4-3 final that extended the series to a fifth and deciding game on Sunday night.  

For the second night in a row, Carolina opened the scoring with a josh Koepplinger punch in on an airborne puck 3:24 into the game. The Thunderbirds had the better end of the chances on the attack but could not figure out Brian Wilson again in the opening stanza. Brendan Sheehan tipped the equalizer into the net with 3:02 left to play in the first to send the game to intermission tied at one apiece.  

Danbury took the lead for good in the second period thanks to two goals by Jacob Ratcliffe. The Canterbury, New Zealand, native roofed a shot 3:14 into the period and added another one 16:04 into the stanza for his 7th and 8th goals of the postseason.  

Carolina pushed back in the third period. Jan Salak cut the deficit down to 3-2 7:25 into the frame. The Thunderbirds kept pushing, ultimately firing 25 shots on Brian Wilson. The 2023 Co-Goaltender of the year recorded 23 saves and kept his team in the game by his sheer will. Danbury pushed for one more goal on a power play thanks to Zach Pamalayon’s efforts with 8:06 left on the clock. Gus Ford capitalized on a 6-on-3 power play chance that resulted in his 7th goal of the postseason. Carolina kept pushing but could not get another puck past Brian Wilson in a frantic finish that ultimately saw the game end at a 4-3 final. 

Brian Wilson recorded 51 saves in the Danbury net.  

Gregg Hussey stopped 25 of 29 shots in the Carolina net.  

The FPHL’s Championship Series is tied at two games apiece.  

Game Five is at the Danbury Ice Arena at 5 PM.  

Tickets are available by clicking the link here.