Jesseau Sinks Thunderbirds in Thrilling Hat Tricks Win

by Herm Sorcher

Danbury, CT- Friday night saw the Carolina Thunderbirds deal the Danbury Hat Tricks their first loss on home ice of the season. The Hat Tricks took the loss to heart and rebounded for one of the most electric performances of the season, knocking out the Thunderbirds in dramatic style.

Jonny Ruiz landed the only goal of the first period, potting a pinballing puck off his backhand at the 11:25 mark of the frame.

Neither team took a penalty for the duration of the first period. Then Carolina took three penalties in the second period. The first two Hat Tricks power plays went by with out incident, then the third resulted in Jonny Ruiz’ second goal of the night at 19:18 of the second. They needed that goal as at the 16:37 point of the second, John Buttita punched in a goal to take tie the score before Ruiz restored the home team’s lead.

The third period brought the energy to a fever pitch. Gus Ford opened proceedings with a nifty solo drive for a goal to tie the score at 2-2 only 50 seconds in. The teams traded punches, penalties, shots, and near goals. All this built on a screaming match held between the benches before the second intermission, saw Jacob Schnapp assessed a 10 minute misconduct, and built into a spectacular finish in the final minute of regulation.

Frankie McClendon stopped 19 shots on the game, and stopped a flurry of shots in the final minute, aided by the Thunderbirds hitting multiple posts. Dustin Jesseau then cleared the zone and finished off a beautiful solo drive to put the Hat Tricks in the lead for good with 41 seconds left, sending the packed Danbury Arena into a frenzy.

Danbury completed the 3-2 victory to improve to 21-2-2 on the season with the win.

Jesseau’s goal extended his goal streak to four straight games and his point streak to ten straight games.

Carolina drops to 16-7-1.

Mario Cavaliere stopped 26 of 29 shots faced.

The Thunderbirds return home for a two-game home series against the league leading Columbus River Dragons.

Danbury hits the road next weekend, heading to Biloxi for a two game series against the Mississippi Sea Wolves.