Goals and Fists Lead to Danbury Victory
BY: Zak McGinniss, Danbury Titans
Danbury, CT — Nikolai Okhlobystin recorded two goals in a Gordie Howe hat trick, including the game-winning goal, as the Danbury Titans won their second in a row over the Cornwall Nationals by a 5-2 score on Saturday night at the Danbury Ice Arena. Nikita Ivandikov stopped 28 of 30 shots as the Titans retook sole possession of fourth place in the Federal Hockey League.
Cornwall would record their first goal just 1:33 into the game off a deflected pass from behind the net that found its way between Ivandikov’s legs. The goal would be credited to Ian Boots, but it would be the only lead that Cornwall would hold for the rest of the game. Tyler Noseworthy tied the game halfway through the period beating Cornwall’s Paul Bourbeau Jr with a snap-shot along the ice to the glove side. Okholbystin then recorded a pair of goals five minutes apart, and Taylor Bourne scored with 22.2 seconds remaining to pace the Titans to a 4-1 lead at the end of the first period.
Bourne’s goal proved to be too much for Cornwall head coach Alain Quenneville, as he replaced Bourbeau Jr with backup Francis Dupuis to begin the second period after the Titans scored 4 times on only 11 shots. Junior Harris scored a highlight reel goal with a short-handed breakaway to make the lead 5-1. The game took an aggressive turn and the fists started flying towards the end of the period. Okhlobystin and Stan Vlasov squared off with 4:45 remaining in an even bout. Two minutes later Sean Maktaak and Sylvester Bzdyl dropped the gloves, and Maktaak fed Cornwall’s leading scorer a steady diet of uppercuts before being separated by the linesmen.
Fifty-five seconds into the third, Jean-Christopher Houde found a loose puck on the side of the Danbury net and stuffed it through the legs of Ivandikov for the last goal of the game. The pugilistic affairs were not through, as Maktaak and Mikael Pregent went at it off a faceoff in the Danbury zone. While the fight was certainly more even than Maktaak’s first fight, the British Columbia native again brought the home crowd to its feet with another win. Late in the game, Cornwall’s Joe Cannan would pop Danbury rookie James O’Reilly in the face which nearly resulted in Cannan’s ejection. He would stand over the fallen O’Reilly until the rookie got back to his feet. They dropped the gloves and O’Reilly dropped the veteran with one shot.
The Titans will be in action again tomorrow, Sunday afternoon, hosting the Watertown Wolves with a 5:05 pm faceoff. It will be Romance in the Rink, where a lucky fan will walk away with a diamond pendant valued at $1750.00.