Rob Sich carried the puck toward 1000 Islands goalie Matt Anthony and appeared to be picking his spot. The prolific goal-scorer leads the Outlaws with five goals and is the all-time leading scorer in the Southern Professional Hockey League with 259 goals in 345 games, so it was a matter of when he was going to fire a shot on goal, not if.
Sich patiently waited and waited as Anthony hugged his post in anticipation of the expected shot, but instead of turning his wrist to shoot on goal Sich twisted his stick blade and slid a pass to Chris Leveille who easily scored into a wide-open net.
It was the cohesion between longtime teammates that was expected and the Outlaws added one more goal before defeating 1000 Islands, 3-1, on Wednesday night at Airmen Pond at Bowman Field for their second win of the season.
"Sich is a goal-scorer," said Williamsport Outlaws coach Chris Firriolo, "and I would have bet my life, my house and my savings that he was going to shoot the puck. It was great to see him move the puck."
Williamsport (2-5-1) defeated 1000 Islands for the first time in three meetings and scored three goals against Anthony, who entered last night with a 1.76 goals against average and a .953 save percentage. He was 4-0 entering last night's game and had made 142 stops.
The 5-foot-9 goaltender made 17 saves in the first period Wednesday and left the Outlaws frustrated leaving the ice. Williamsport continued to tilt the ice in the second period and outshot 1000 Islands, 16-6, but one of the Privateers' six shots gave them a 1-0 lead just 1 minute, 10 seconds into the second 20 minutes.
Outlaws reduce price of general admission tickets
The Williamsport Outlaws have reduced the price of a general admission ticket to Airmen Pond at Bowman Field for future Outlaws games, according to a release by the team Wednesday.
General admission tickets will now be offered for $8, and additionally, children ages 5 and under will be admitted for free. Because of the price change, all Outlaws season ticket holders will be offered two tickets to the Federal Hockey League All-Star game, scheduled for Jan. 2 at Airmen Pond at Bowman Field.
The Outlaws have had problems this season at home scoring goals and then surrendering the equalizer shortly thereafter, but they turned the tables against 1000 Islands. Hard-working Jamie Zaleski tied the game just 32 seconds after the visitors took the initial lead.
Zaleski, from Scranton, has scored three goals in his last two games.
"The Jamie Zaleski line is my third line and those guys have been the best line all year long," said Firriolo. "He works hard and that line gives us a big boost."
Leveille's goal off the Sich assist with 11:15 left in the second period gave the Outlaws their first lead.
"I played with him the last four years and I was struggling there a bit so coach put us back together, all of three us (including Brett Needham) played together in Fayetteville," said Leveille. "We played really well and I think we can build off that."
Another perfect setup gave the Outlaws a 3-1 advantage entering the third period.
This time it was Matt Smyth sliding a pass from the boards and across the ice to Martin Moucha who stood all alone in the front of the net and beat Anthony. Nathan Oke had a secondary assist on the second and third goals.
"I just think we had enough of losing," said Leveille. "We wanted to turn the ship around and everyone felt good tonight. It was nice and cold out there so you don't have choice but to get into it.
"This was the best game we played so far for sure, 100 percent, from the D-zone from goaltending all the way to the forwards."
Chris Whitley made 29 stops on 30 shots for the Outlaws, who killed off four 1000 Islands' power plays. It was the first time this season in eight games the Outlaws surrendered less than two goals.
Williamsport hosts Danville on Friday night. It will be the first meeting between the two teams this season.