DASHERS SNAP 5 GAME LOSING STREAK
By Nate Williamson (@NateJWSports)
Danville, IL - The Danville Dashers ended a five-game losing streak on Saturday night as they took down the Port Huron Prowlers by a score of 7-5. The Dashers had a phenomenal offensive night at the David S. Palmer Arena after a recent drought in scoring.
The Dashers were without league point-leader Ryan Marker, as he signed with the Evansville Thunderbolts of the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL). They were unfazed, however, and went straight at the Port Huron defense from the beginning. It was Teddy Bear Toss Night at the Palmer Arena and fans tossed a massive number of stuffed animals onto the ice as the result of the Dashers' first goal. Stephen Gaul was the one who let the teddy bears fly when he scored on a power play with just 5:07 gone in the first period. The goal was assisted by Aaron Atwell and Justin Brausen. The Prowlers rebounded about ten minutes later as Yianni Liarakos scored off a brilliant passing play, with assists from Zach Zulkanycz and Dalton Jay. The scoring continued for the Dashers at 19:50 when Ryan Stayner tallied off assists from Justin Brausen and Stephen Gaul, ending the period at 2-1 in favor of the Dashers.
Danville netted again early in the second when Daniel Martin scored on an assist from Patrik Zilak and Danville native Brock Drews. It was thirteen minutes before anyone scored again, as Artem Stupnikov found the net, with assists from Austin Fetterly and former Dasher Joe Pace, Jr. Minutes later, Zulkanycz scored off assists from Matt Robertson and Josh Colten to tie the game. Danville struck back, with Stephen Gaul and Ryan Stayner both netting their second goals of the night to end the period at 5-3. Justin Brausen assisted on both of those goals, adding to his massive point total on the night. Aaron Atwell and Taylor Cutting also both had assists.
Port Huron wasted no time upon the start of the third period, scoring after just eleven seconds on a goal from Yianni Liarakos, with assists from Zach Zulkanycz and Dalton Jay. The goal cut the lead to 5-4, but the close game wouldn't last too long. Brock Drews made the game 6-4 when he scored just five minutes later on assists from Daniel Martin and Patrik Zilak. Justin Brausen netted the final Dashers goal of the night to make it 7-4. Port Huron would score late in the game to narrow the lead to two goals. The dynamic Danville attack was too much for the Prowlers, and the Dashers took the game at 7-5.
Port Huron spent a total of ten minutes in the box, with Danville seeing twelve on the night, with Taylor Cutting seeing eight of the twelve. Despite giving up five goals to the recently-revived Port Huron offense, goalkeeper Aaron Taylor had some beautiful saves for the Dashers, many times ripping sure-fire goals out of the air with his glove-hand. He finished saving 51 shots out of 56, while Port Huron keeper Cory Simons saved 23 goals out of just 26 shots against. He was replaced in goal after playing 31 minutes by backup keeper Rick Odria, who stopped 20 on 24 shots from the Dashers.
3rd Star on the Game was Ryan Stayner (3 points, 2 goals, 1 assist), 2nd Star was Stephen Gaul (4 points, 2 goals, 2 assists), and 1st Star was Justin Brausen (5 points, 1 goal, 4 assists).
Photo credit: LMB Studios