Hat Tricks Survive Shootout in Columbus

by Herm Sorcher

Columbus, GA- Friday night offered a significant test for the Danbury Hat Tricks in the form of the Columbus River Dragons, who entered the weekend as the only team with more points in the FPHL than the Hat Tricks. The matchup lived up to all expectations with plenty of hits, goals, and a thrilling end. 

Danbury got the early jump on their hosts with defenseman Brendan Dowler scoring from the high slot 9:17 into the opening period of the game. 

The second period saw more Hat Trick offense. Zach Pamalayon scored at even strength to make it 2-0 at the 7:34 mark of the frame. Later in the stanza, Columbus took two penalties and resulted in an extended 5on3 power play. Captain Jonny Ruiz paid it off with the 3-0 score before the second intermission. 

The third period belonged almost entirely to Columbus. The River Dragons outshot the Hat Tricks 24-6 in the final stanza. And all that offensive pressure paid off. Josh Pietrantonio led off the Columbus scoring at the 3:06 mark of the frame. Josh Labelle cut the deficit further down at the 8:06 mark. Brian Wilson, voted the FPHL's Goalie of the Month for October & November, performed heroically, stopping 21 shots in the final frame alone. But Columbus had one more answer. With five seconds left to play, Alex Storjohann scored to tie the game and send the Columbus Civic Center into a frenzy. 

The three-on-three overtime session resulted in no goals, and for the first time all season for both teams, a shootout was required. And on the backs of Dmitry Kuznetsov and Gordy Bonnel on the offensive side and Brian Wilson in net, the Hat Tricks emerged with the shootout win and the extra point in the standings. 

Zach Pamalayon recorded a goal and an assist for two points, as did Jonny Ruiz. Gordie Bonnel recorded two assists for two points. 

Brian Wilson stopped a season and career high 48 shots in the effort to get the game to the shootout and stopped both shootout attempts from Columbus.