Goalie Taylor Shines, then is Suspended as Thunder Drops Pair in Carolina

Delaware Thunder goalie Aaron Taylor is accumulating an impressive amount of saves in each game he plays. However, he incurred a Jekyll-Hyde type of weekend Friday night and weekend as his team dropped a pair of Federal Prospects Hockey League games to defending Commissioners Cup champion Carolina at the Winston-Salem Fairground Annex.

The native of Gormley, Ontario just outside of Toronto did another Hurculean job of keeping his team in Friday’s game, stopping 55 shots and maintaining a 2-2 tie until he was beaten with :06 left in regulation. Taylor’s performance followed a 60-save outing that led to a 6-2 victory over Danbury on Jan. 11, and a 49-stop victory, also 6-2 at Port Huron on January 4.

However, during a scrum at the end of the heartbreaking 3-2 loss to the Western Division leading Thunderbirds, Taylor was suspended for Saturday’s game after the referee claimed that the goalie speared one of his opponents.

According to Thunder Head Coach Charlie Pens, Sr., Taylor did no such thing. “It was a retaliatory suspension, a bad call,” said Pens, Sr. “It was an alleged spear. He (Taylor) didn’t (spear anyone).”

As a result, recently-acquired goalie Sebastian DeMassa-Carlsson made his FPHL debut in a 7-0 loss to Carolina on Saturday night.

Delaware fell behind 1-0 halfway through the 1st period in the series opener, then rallied with two goals in 1:15 to take a 2-1 lead midway through the session. Defenseman Charlie Pens, Jr. took a pass from forward Eric Masters and tied the score with his 3rd goal. Anton Kalinin added his 12th red light after being set up by defenseman Daniel DeCristofaro and forward Evgenii Demin. It would be the last goal of the weekend for the Thunder, whose leading scorer, Ryan Marker, failed to register a point. His 28 goals continue to lead the FPHL, and his 52 points tie him for 2nd best in the league.

Carolina tied the score 2-2 with :38 left in the opening period before Taylor gave another virtuoso performance, collecting great save after great save as the Thunder was outshot, 58-29. The 23-year old netminder made 16 saves in the opening period, 15 in the middle stanza and an amazing 25 in period three before the tough-to-swallow game-winner, then the suspension.

On Saturday, Carolina scored twice (once shorthanded) in a 2:52 span midway through the opening period against DeMassa-Carlsson, They added two more goals in the 2nd stanza and three more in the 3rd period to finish the weekend with a scintillating 23-3-0-1-1 record in first place atop the Western Division. The Thunderbirds’ 72 points lead 2nd place Port Huron by 21, and they are also 14 points better than Eastern Division leading Danbury.

Delaware is 8-19-0 and in 5th place in the Eastern Division with 24 points, 17 behind 4th place Mentor.

The Thunder will host the Watertown Wolves for three games this weekend at the ThunderDome in Harrington, Delaware. Friday and Saturday’s games will begin at 7:05 p.m., and the opening puck drop for Sunday’s matinee will be at 3 p.m. For ticket information, please call (302) 398-PUCK or visit 168tickets.com.