Taylor Makes 60 Saves, Leads Thunder to Victory and Weekend Split

Delaware Thunder goalie Aaron Taylor made 60 saves in one hockey game……..that is NOT a typo.

The native of Gormley, Ontario (suburban Toronto) stopped all 48 shots that he faced in the 2nd and 3rd periods (again, NOT a typo) to give the Thunder an opportunity to win.

They did just that, posting a 6-2 victory over Federal Prospects Hockey League Eastern Division-leading Danbury Saturday night at the ThunderDome in Harrington for a weekend split of their highly physical two-game set. Danbury edged the Thunder 5-4 in Friday’s matchup.

Taylor’s performance was an encore to his outing on Jan. 4 when he turned aside 49 of 51 shots at Port Huron en route to a 6-2 Delaware triumph.

While the 23-year old Taylor was holding the league leaders for goals scored in check, forward Ryan Marker notched his 3rd three-goal hat trick of the season. Marker scored his team’s last three goals of the night, including his first of two shorthanded markers early in the 2nd period to give Taylor some breathing room, 4-2. The goal came just four minutes after forward Anton Kalinin had broken a 2-2 tie with his 11th of the season.

Marker also scored less than a minute into the 3rd period to make it 5-2, then finished his evening off with a shorthanded empty netter with six and a half minutes remaining in regulation. Marker, who was named the FPHL’s Rookie of the Month for December after posting nine goals and 19 points in nine games, continues to lead the FPHL with 28 goals. A native of Sewell, New Jersey (across the Delaware River from Philadelphia), the 25-year old Marker has 52 points to rank 2nd in the league, and his 24 assists are 5th best.

The game didn’t start very well for Taylor, who was beaten for two Hat Trick goals in the game’s first 12 minutes. But forward Brandon Contratto connected for his 10th goal on a power play just 1:07 later, and winger Patrick Tondl tied it up, 2-2 just :45 later with his 3rd of the campaign and 2nd in two nights.

‘We outplayed (Danbury) in both games, and we are becoming a very good team,” said Thunder head coach Charlie Pens, Sr. “Our defense was solid, Aaron Taylor was outstanding, and we are getting more scoring from different players.”

The evening’s fight card was confined to an explosive dust-up at the end of the middle period when 68 of the game’s 102 penalty minutes were whistled. Tondl left the players bench and was hit with with a game misconduct, in addition to a gross misconduct (for extreme unsportsmanlike conduct) and five for fighting. Teammate Brennan Young earned a game misconduct for being the third man into an altercation, as well as a gross misconduct. Danbury defenseman Martin Tuma and forward Gordy Bonnel were also penalized.

On Friday, Danbury grabbed a 2-0 lead in the first period before Marker halved the count with his 25th of the year just :47 before intermission. The Hat Tricks added shorthanded, power play and even-strength goals to build a 5-1 lead in the middle period.

Forward Thomas Munichiello began the Delaware comeback effort with his 3rd of the year in the final minute of the 2nd stanza to make it 5-2. The Thunder edged closer with two goals in a :31 span midway through the 3rd period on Tondl’s 2nd of the year and forward Evgenii Demin’s 6th of the season.

Friday’s two bouts featured Delaware forward Aaron Cutting trading punches with Hat Trick defenseman Thomas Freeman late in the 1st period, and Thunder defenseman taking on forward Casper Dyrssen midway through the 3rd stanza.

The Thunder signed goalie Sebastian Demassa-Carlsson, who was the backup to Taylor in Saturday’s game. Morgan Hudson was the goalie in reserve for Friday’s contest.

Danbury finished the weekend with a an 18-6-0-1-2 record for 58 points, 12 ahead of 2nd place Watertown. The Thunder is at 8-17-0 for 24 points in 5th place, 15 points behind 4th place Elmira.

The Thunder hits the road this weekend for a pair of games at defending Commissioner’s Cup champion Carolina. Friday’s game against the Western Division leading Thunderbirds begins at 7:35 p.m. EST, while Saturday’s opening puck drop is set for 6:05 p.m.