Progress can be marked in increments of competitive hockey. That will have to satisfy the Delaware Thunder, whose losing streak reached six straight games last weekend with a pair of hard-fought Federal Prospects Hockey League losses at Danbury (Connecticut) Ice Arena
Delaware never led in either Friday’s 6-4 setback or Saturday’s 5-4 nail-biter of a loss, but they rallied to tie each game three different times against the Hat Tricks (9-4-0-0-2), an Eastern Division foe that finished the weekend in 2nd place with 29 points, four behind 1st place Watertown.
“We outplayed Danbury in both games,” said Thunder Head Coach Charlie Pens, Sr., whose 2-12-0-0-0 squad resides in 5th place in the Eastern Division. “However, there were some questionable (referees’) calls, and losing two defensemen in the lineup (Alex Basey and Egor Kostukov) has been tough.”
The Thunder was also without their second-leading scorer, forward Brandon Contratto (15 assists, 21 points), whose five game suspension was reduced to the two matchups this past weekend.
On Friday, Delaware rallied from deficits of 1-0, 3-1 and 4-3, only to surrender a pair of 3rd period goals just two minutes apart.
Newcomer Eli Kinsman tied the score 1-1 with a first period goal Friday thanks to good legwork by fellow newcomer Tommy Munichiello and Evan Mackintosh. Kinsman, a forward who hails from Cocoa Beach, Florida was signed last week. He scored two goals and three points in four games for the FPHL’s Battle Creek Rumble Bees earlier this season. In 2016-17 and 2017-18, he combined for 22 goals and 70 points in two season with the Minnesota Iron Rangers of the Superior International Junior Hockey League (SIJHL).
Forward Munichiello (Weymouth, Massachusetts) also was signed last week. He skated for the FPHL’s Elmira Enforcers earlier this season, and is coming off a strong four-year career at Babson College in Wellesley, Massachusetts of the New England Hockey Conference (NEHC) where he scored 27 goals and 65 points from 2015-16 to 2018-19.
The Hat Tricks jumped back in front 3-1 before Anton Kalinin’s late first period red light and Taylor Cutting’s power play goal early in the second period pulled Delaware even again at 3-3.
Thunder leading scorer Ryan Marker’s goal early in the third period also tied the score at 4-4. Marker finished the weekend in 3rd place with 15 goals, tied for 4th in scoring with 29 points, and in 6th place with 14 assists in the FPHL. Goalie Morgan Hudson made 39 saves as Danbury outshot Delaware, 45-33.
On Saturday, defenseman Charlie Pens, Jr. and Kieran Devine scored two and a half minutes apart in the first period to tie the score, 2-2. Thunder forward Brennan Young’s sixth marker of the season later in the opening stanza tied the count at 3-3. Marker added another game-tying red light in the second period as Delaware again pulled even at 4-4. But Danbury ended the scoring with a goal late in the middle period against goalie Aaron Taylor, who finished with 45 saves. The Hat Tricks outshot the Thunder 50-29.
There were three sets of fisticuffs on Saturday as Thunder forward Evan Mackintosh battled Denbury defenseman Aaron Atwell in the opening period, defenseman Aaron Cutting took on Hat Tricks forward Phil Bronner in the middle session, and Pens duked it out with Cory Anderson in the third.
Delaware returns home to the ThunderDome in Harrington, Delaware this Friday night against the Danville Dashers with 7:05 p.m. opening puck drops each night. Saturday night features a Star Wars promotion in which game-worn jerseys will be auctioned to benefit charity. For ticket information, please call (302) 398-PUCK or order online.