Jonny Ruiz' record-tying 4 goals pace Hat Tricks romp

by Chris Lynch

Danbury, CT- Jonny Ruiz joined the Danbury Hat Tricks in the 2019-2020 season and immediately became a fixture in the Hat Tricks lineup, rising to wearing a deserved captain’s “C” in Hat City during the 2021-22 season. 

On Saturday night, he spearheaded a 7-3 Hat Tricks win against the Port Huron Prowlers with a record-tying four-goal game. It was the second four-goal game in Hat Tricks history, after Dustin Jesseau scored four times against the Binghamton Black Bears on Jan. 15, 2022. 

In the process, Ruiz also scored his 100th goal as a Hat Trick, the first player in franchise history to achieve that milestone. The 29-year-old forward, who also scored 10 goals for Elmira in 2020-21 when the Hat Tricks did not play due to the coronavirus pandemic, recorded his 100th FPHL goal earlier this season, on Dec. 30 at the Delaware Thunder.

Ruiz started the scoring Saturday with a shorthanded goal at the first period’s seven-minute mark and added his second at the 17:23. Lucas DeBenedet and Dmitry Kuznetsov added first-period goals to give Danbury a 4-0 lead after one period. 

Danbury tacked on three more goals in the second period with the first two coming on a power play. Egor Borschev tipped in a Kuznetsov shot at the 6:20 mark of the frame on a 5-on-3 advantage. Twenty-nine seconds later, on the ensuing 5-on-4 power play, Ruiz recorded his third goal, his franchise-record sixth hat trick. With 1:59 left in the frame, Ruiz took a feed from Jacob Ratcliffe and potted his fourth of the night and 26th (in 32 games) this season. 

Port Huron scored three goals in the final minutes of the game, with Joseph Deveny, Jason Diamond and Bryan Parsons doing the honors. Diamond’s goal was his first after being signed by the Prowlers from Western New England University earlier this week.

Even with the late scoring, the Hat Tricks secured a convincing 7-3 win and a clean sweep on the weekend. Danbury improved to 30-6-5, becoming the second team in the FPHL to achieve that win milestone. 

Frankie McClendon stopped 29 of 32 shots for Danbury to record his sixth win in eight decisions this season.

Port Huron is 21-17-3. With the Motor City Rockers’ win over the Elmira Mammoth, the Prowlers dropped to fourth place in the FPHL’s Continental Division. 

Prowlers goalie Wyatt Hoflin was chased after surrendering 6 goals on 16 shots. Danick Rodrigue entered in relief and stopped 21 of 22 shots. 

Danbury faces Elmira in a home-and-home set next weekend with the Friday matchup at the Danbury Ice Arena.