Williamsport's Trevor Karasiewicz skated in on Cape Cod goalie Scott Barchard, short-handed with his head up and chin perpendicular with the ice. The Outlaws leader in assists didn't turn his head to the left or right. The player who prefers to have many options only had one - shoot the puck.
Karasiewicz had plenty of time to pick a target as he waited out Barchard before firing a shot into the back of the net for his first goal of the season and the first of five Williamsport goals on Thursday night during a 5-2 victory over Cape Cod at Airmen Pond at Bowman Field.
"I really didn't think about it," said Karasiewicz. "I just basically knew I had to shoot the puck and I basically just wound up and missed the goalie and it went in."
Brett Needham (18) of the Outlaws and Luke Frey (4) of Cape Cod try for the puck Thursday at Bowman Field.
Karasiewicz, who leads the Outlaws with 15 assists, finished with a goal and two assists.
"He has one of the best shots on the team, but he just loves to pass," said Outlaws coach Chris Firriolo. "He is the only guy I ever yell out to shoot the puck."
The win moved the Outlaws into sole possession of third place with 14 points and they will hope to continue their climb during this three-game homestand that will be played on consecutive nights.
"Our goal is to get nine out of nine (points) this weekend," said Firriolo. "If we get nine points this weekend that is going to put us right at the top of the league."
Cape Cod made Williamsport earn its three points Thursday night and tied the game after Karasiewicz's short-handed goal, but Williamsport's Matt Smyth scored the first of his two goals less than a minute after the Bluefins tied the game to give the Outlaws a one-goal lead entering the final 20 minutes.
Smyth gave the Outlaws a two-goal lead less than four minutes into the third period after a steal at the blue line and a beautiful finish. Smyth beat Barchard after the Cape Cod goalie skated to the top of his crease to challenge the shot, but Smyth initially showed the goalie his hands like he was going to fire a wrister before moving the puck to his backhand and shooting into the empty net as a sprawling Barchard could only helplessly look over his shoulder as the puck went into the net and Smyth came crashing to the ice.
The first score of Smyth's two-goal night extended his point streak to nine consecutive games. He is now tied with Rob Sich for the team lead in goals with 10.
Smyth was quick to credit his linemates for his recent success.
"Karasiewicz is one of the best passers I've ever been with," said Smyth. "It's just me getting open and finding the right spots and when I do that he moves it to me and I have an open net every time."
Trailing 3-2, Cape Cod again made it a one-goal game when its captain Chris Campanale scored past Chris Whitley.
Williamsport restored the advantage to two goals when Jeff Winchester scored his second goal in three games.
Cape Cod had a golden opportunity to cut the lead to one again late in the third period, but Williamsport killed a power play and Chris Leveille added the fifth goal with 1:40 left to put the game out of reach.
The Outlaws killed two power plays and Whitley stopped 34 of 36 shots.
Barchard kept the game scoreless after one period with 20 saves in the first 20 minutes, but the Outlaws kept shooting and finally broke through with five goals on 51 shots.
Smyth, who had the best scoring chances during Cape Cod's final power play, nearly had a trick. He finished with a team-high 13 shots.
"The more I think about it (the hat trick) the worse I get, so I try not to think about it," said Smyth, "so I just try to go out and do my role and try to keep the puck in their end. Whether I score or I don't, it's helping the team."