Hat Tricks vs Wolves - Series Preview (12/13 & 14)

by Casey Bryant

First place in the Eastern Division is on the line this weekend. The red-hot Danbury Hat Tricks take their seven-game winning streak up to Watertown this Friday to take on the Wolves, then return home for a rematch at Danbury Arena Saturday night. Streaming of the set will be on Watertown's Youtube page Friday and the Hat Tricks' channel Saturday.

Let's take a look at what fans should expect from this weekend.

Gordy the great

Gordy Bonnel is quietly having a standout season for the Danbury Hat Tricks. He leads the team with 13 assists and has racked up six multi-point performances this season. He has 10 points in his last seven games, a key part of Danbury's recent surge.

Though technically skating on the third line with Matyas Kasek and Kendall Bolen-Porter, Bonnel has found his way onto the statsheet with consistency this season. Kasek and Bolen-Porter have seen recent spikes in their scoring as well, as Kasek is currently on a three-game goal-scoring streak and Bolen-Porter has a goal and an assist in his last three games.

Depth is an important part of the game, especially when you want to be one of the best teams in the league. For the Hat Tricks to take that extra step and leapfrog their way into first, they'll need their third line to be up to snuff.

Gjurich's powerplay

Tyler Gjurich is a force of nature on the powerplay for the Watertown Wolves. He already has nine goals on the man advantage, well on his way to eclipsing last year's total of 13. The next highest total on the team this season? Two. Gjurich leads the league with Matt Robertson a somewhat distant second at six powerplay goals.

The Hat Tricks penalty kill has sputtered a bit lately, operating at 76.1% efficiency on the year (8th in the league). If and when they find themselves down a man, they know who to mark- number 22, Tyler Gjurich.

Defensive reinforcements

Since returning to the lineup, Steve Brown has been an active contributor on both ends of the ice. His size and physicality are used to his advantage, running off oncoming attackers and boxing out rebound opportunities. His effort on defense and two assists earned him the honor of Hoisting the Barrel after the game, celebrating the Spirit of Hard Work. 

Then on Saturday, Aaron Atwell received the same honor for his excellent performance on the blueline. He earned an assist and chewed up key shutdown minutes en route to a 5-4 victory over the Delaware Thunder. Vlad Gavrik, a natural winger, was relegated to defense on Saturday and potted a goal. His frame and his instincts helped him even in moments where his offensive tendencies betrayed his positioning.

Lenny Caglianone has also been signed to the roster as a defenseman.

Now, Kruz Listmayer seems to be ready to return to the lineup, listed as day-to-day for this weekend. The question then becomes how much does head coach Billy McCreary want to ease Listmayer back into the lineup after not having played in a month, especially against the first place Wolves. 

Final thoughts

This is a marquee matchup. Danbury enters the weekend as arguably the hottest team in the FPHL, while the Wolves are coming off a two-game sweep at the hands of the Elmira Enforcers. With four points and two wins separating them in the standings, the Hat Tricks know very well what is at stake. 

This is also the beginning of four consecutive matchups between these two teams. Expect the tension to be high right from the get-go.


Tickets can be purchased for Saturday's game at Danbury Arena by clicking here.