Hat Tricks vs Rumble Bees - Series Preview (11/22 & 23)

by Casey Bryant

The Danbury Hat Tricks were able to secure their first home win last weekend against the Elmira Enforcers. The black-and-orange will look to build on that as they host the Battle Creek Rumble Bees, who after a rough start to their season have made some changes to their organization.

Here's what fans should be on the lookout for this weekend at Danbury Arena.

Jonny Be good

Jonny Ruiz leads the Hat Tricks in goal scoring, and for good reason- he puts himself in great scoring position. He's been strong on the face-off dot and has consistently been able to carry the puck into the slot. His lethal wrister has found the back of the net on multiple occasions, and it's especially dangerous between the hashmarks.

What's more, his linemates have consistently been able to feed him the puck in close both at even strength and on the powerplay. Ruiz had a pair of powerplay goals last Friday against the Elmira Enforcers, and both times he was assisted by Nicola Levesque and Phil Bronner.

Levesque, for the record, leads the team in assists with eight and is tied with Ruiz for the team lead in points. Expect that top powerplay unit to get to work against a Rumble Bees penalty kill that to date is operating at a paltry 54% efficiency rate.

bring the energy

The Rumble Bees have yet to break into the win column this season, starting off their year with an 0-9-0 stretch. Head coach Clint Hagmaier was relieved of his command earlier this week, with general manager Adam Stio stepping in as interim head coach. The team has also made a few additions to bolster their depth scoring, including adding defender Ethan Busch-Anderson and forward Jimmy Philbin from the Columbus River Dragons.

The Rumble Bees are desperate to get their first points as a franchise. They will want to come into Danbury and turn some heads to prove they are not the doormat of the FPHL. The Hat Tricks will need to match that intensity and play with their own sense of grit as they too need all the points they can get to rise up the Eastern Division rankings.

don't let up

Battle Creek's defense has left a lot to be desired. They were outscored 19-4 in a three-game set with the Watertown Wolves last weekend. Considering the Danbury Hat Tricks have struggled to provide multi-goal leads for themselves, this is a prime opportunity to put the pedal to the metal and get some mojo in their offensive game. Though they led 4-1 over the Elmira Enforcers last Friday, that lead quickly became a 5-4 nail-biter before they provided a late cushion for themselves for a 7-4 win.

If the Hat Tricks gain an early advantage, don't take it for granted. Keep pushing and keep shooting. Give the fans a chance to holler that goal song.

Final thoughts

The Danbury Hat Tricks currently sit fourth in the Eastern Division. They have yet to sweep a weekend from an opponent yet. This is as good an opportunity as ever to grab a crucial six points and make a push for the top spot in the division. The team is taking shape after the additions of Martin Tuma, Casper Dyrssen and Carter Shinkaruk, with more reinforcements on the way in the form of Aaron Atwell.

This is a key chance for the Hat Tricks to make some noise.