For most of Sunday’s three-game series finale with visiting Watertown, the Delaware Thunder controlled the pace and territorial play in front of an enthusiastic near-capacity throng at the ThunderDome in Harrington, Delaware. However, the Wolves struck when the opportunities presented themselves and won going away, 5-1 to sweep the Thunder’s first home trifecta of the Federal Prospects Hockey League season.
Forward Ryan Marker gave the home team a 1-0 lead on an unassisted goal, his league-leading 31st, just a minute into the game. Delaware continued to take the game to the Wolves, making the lead stand up until late in the 2nd period when Watertown tied the game 1:25 before intermission. A shot from the point eluded goalie Sebastian de Massa Carlsson.
The visitors (17-13-0-1-2 for 55 points in 2nd place in the Eastern Division) took the lead for good, 2-1 with a shorthanded goal just six seconds into a Thunder power play early in the 3rd period. The breakaway occurred after a Thunder defenseman stumbled at center ice. Watertown added another shorthanded tally and two even strength goals in a 2:37 span midway through the final session as Delaware dropped its 5th straight game. The only altercation of the day occurred with :09 left when Delaware forward Taylor Cutting tangled with Watertown defenseman Justin Nattress. De Massa Carlsson finished with 37 saves as the Thunder outshot their visitors 21-13 in the 3rd period and 45-42 for the game.
In Saturday’s 6-4 loss, Delaware twice led early, 1-0 on forward Evan Mackintosh’s 5th goal of the season and 2-1 Anton Kalinin’s 14th on a power play late in the 1st period. But the Wolves scored three times in the middle period to take a 4-2 lead, including two goals in just 16 seconds during the session’s final two minutes.
Watertown added a pair of goals just 1:35 apart early in the 3rd period to take a commanding 6-2 lead. Delaware (8-22-0 for 24 points in 5th place in the Eastern Division) tallied twice in the final 2:29 to make it 6-4 on defenseman Anthony Pisano’s 1st of the season and Marker’s 30th red light.
Goalie Aaron Taylor (32 saves) was lifted after allowing Watertown’s 6th goal, and de Massa Carlsson finished up by stopping all nine shots that he faced as the visitors outshot their hosts, 47-37. Cutting and Nattress tangled early in the 2nd period during the game’s only fisticuffs.
On Friday night, Watertown scored a minute into the third period to break a 2-2 deadlock and held on for a 3-2 triumph. The Thunder fell behind on a 1st period Wolves power play tally, then tied it at 1-1 early in the second period on Kalinen’s 13th goal. After the visitors jumped back in front, 2-1 less than a minute later, Marker tied the score at 2-2 with his 29th of the season. Goalie Taylor made 33 saves as Watertown outshot its hosts, 36-26.
The Thunder continue to add players, signing Pisano and left wing Marc-Anthony Simonetta. The 6-foot-5, 285-pound Pisano (Elkton, Maryland) adds defensive skill and a touch of muscle to the blue line. He previously played during the 2015-16 season with the Danbury Titans of the Federal Hockey League, scoring a goal and three points in 10 games while amassing a +17 rating and 55 penalty minutes. Simonetta is a 22-year old forward who previously competed in 22 games last season and this year in Sweden.
The Thunder visits the Danville Dashers in Illinois this weekend on Friday and Saturday nights, with opening puck drop set for 8:05 p.m. EST both evenings.