At the halfway point of Friday's second period, Williamsport's newest edition Brett Needham sent the crowd flying when he scored the team's third goal up to that point. What followed was what fans expected when Williamsport announced it was the new home for Outlaws hockey.
Over the course of the game's second 20 minutes, Williamsport scored five goals and participated in three fights. All of this led to the most important aspect of the night as the hometown crowd walked out with heads held high after the Outlaws defeated Danville, 8-2, for their second consecutive win at Airmen Pond at Bowman Field.
Matt Smyth, whose goal scoring streak ended at four games at the end of last week, scored the first two goals of the second period.
"When you start to get on a roll things come a lot easier," Smyth said. "Three guys stepped up with some fights to get us going. We got the puck in deep and generated opportunities from it."
Smyth, who assisted on Jeff Winchester's goal in the first period to extend his points streak to seven games, broke through on the team's third power play of night for a 3-1 Outlaw lead.
Williamsport entered Friday's contest with only two goals on 22 power play chances. The Outlaws converted all four power plays into goals against Danville.
"Getting Winchester back was key for us," Outlaws coach Chris Firriolo said. "He has a big-time NHL shot. Just having him out there means guys are going to key on him, which should free other guys up."
The game's fast pace continued and Smyth gave Williamsport its biggest home lead of the year when he tallied his second power play goal of the night. Rob Sich then added his second goal and Jamie Zaleski scored to round out the second period scoring.
"You just have to take things one shift at a time," Smyth said. "You work with you teammates and you start to feed off each other. And they help me out. They do their jobs well and it makes it easier for me."
The Outlaws outshot the Dashers 11-8 in the second period after being outshot in the first 13-11.
Smyth opened the third period with his third goal for the Outlaws first hat trick in team history. Sich added his third moments later for the team's first short-handed goal and second hat trick.
"Records are records," Firriolo said. "It's great for the guys. All I care about are wins. For those guys personally it's always fun to do something like that."
"The puck is going in for him," Sich said of Smyth. "We were joking around about who would get the first hat trick. Fortunately for him, he got in there a little before I did. It was a great night for him."
The second-period outburst didn't seem sit well with Danville.
Moments after Smyth scored his second goal, Chris Affinati pulled Paul Arnott Jr aside for the first of three fights. And before the refs could drop the puck after separating the players, Mark Vida was punched and thrown to the ice by Tyler Matheson. Not to be outdone by his teammates, Jamie Zeleski added the third five minute major for fighting when he got into it with Billy Hunt.
Williamsport, which is starting to look more and more like a team with experience playing together, took advantage of two Danville penalties in the first period.
After Darick Ste Marie was called for hooking early in the first period, Winchester gave the Outlaws an early advantage with a quick shot from a Nathan Oke and Smyth feed. Smyth's assist extended his points streak to seven games.
As good as the early lead was for the Outlaws, the penalty was nearly disastrous as a short-handed rush gave Danville a chance at a goal. Chris Whitley, making his second consecutive start, was up for the challenge, though, as he stuffed the attempt to keep Danville off the scoreboard. Whitley stopped 40 of 42 shots on the night.
"We kind of had a sluggish first period and had a good meeting in the locker room before the second period," Sich said. "It started with the fights to get everybody going. Then we scored and just kept pushing from there."
"It was kind of sloppy, but a win is a win," Firriolo said. "In a couple weeks we're going to be at the top of the league."
Williamsport earned a second power play chance in the first period when Chris Affinati was called for slashing. Sich then scored his third goal in four games to restore the Outlaws one-goal lead.