Wolves Hang on to Early Lead to Beat Nationals

 By Jay Harris 

The Watertown Wolves faced off against the Cornwall Nationals at the Watertown Municipal Arena on Friday night. The Wolves saw the return of defenseman Justin Apcar-Blaszak and goal tender Ed Zdolshek to their roster. 

The Wolves set the score board afire in the first period. Jesse Facchini passed the puck down the ice to Brett Liscomb who then made a sly pass to Mark Petaccio for the first goal of the period. Petaccio shot a laser off a pass from Facchini for goal number two of the night. Shane Halaas would be the next to score on an assist from Joe Cangelosi. Goal number three prompted the Nationals to pull Francis Dupuis out of the net and replace him with Paul Bourbeau Jr. Marley Keca and Joe Cangelosi provided Zach Dymock with the opportunity to make Watertown's fourth goal of the period. Danilla Allistratov would keep the Wolves' net empty from any pucks the entire period to make the score 4-0 at the end of one period. 

The teams accumulated penalties instead of goals in the second period. Watertown's Brad Townsend and Cornwall's Joe Cannan earned the first penalties of the night for their scuffle seven minutes into the period and they each got five for fighting. The third penalty was issued to Cornwall when a water bottle came from out of their bench and across the ice. Watertown's Scott Roy received the last penalty of the period for tripping with one minute left in the period. 

Cornwall denied Allistratov a shutout when Anthony Mezzagno scored a short-handed goal during Jean-Christopher Houde's slashing penalty. Watertown retaliated when Ryan Connolly scored on a rebound from Dallas Ingram's shot. Zach Dymock's tripping penalty provided Storm Adams the power play advantage to make his first goal for the Nationals. The Wolves held on to beat the Nationals 5-2. 

Watertown's Head Coach Phil Esposito had the following comments about tonight's game:         

"It's just one of those games. We came out hard and did what we had to do in the first period and played physical. We had a lot intensity and scored four goals right off the bat. We got the lead and then it kind of turned into a men's league, pond hockey type game. We started stick-checking and stopped playing with the intensity we had in the first period. We just kind of went through the motions." 

"Unfortunately, stuff like that happens in games like this where these guys don't want to play a physical game. They just want to play like a men's hockey league game, no checking. They just want to open it up and we got a little mesmerized by it and we hung around. Like I said to the guys in the locker room, if it wasn't for Danilla it would have been a closer game, but Danilla played really well tonight. He made a lot of nice saves and kept our four-goal lead. It's unfortunate when it happens. You get a four-goal lead and the other team just wants to go through the motions and you do the same thing. But we gotta get away from that because Danbury is going to be a big game for us on Sunday. So we gotta be ready for that game on Sunday and play hard the whole sixty minutes." 

The three stars of the game went to Mark Petaccio, Jesse Facchini and Joe Cangelosi earning the first, second, and third respectively. The Wolves currently hold the third place in the Federal Hockey League standings. The Wolves will have a rematch with the Cornwall Nationals at the Watertown Municipal Arena on Saturday, February 18th at 7:30 pm.