Depleted Outlaws hang on for win

The end of the NHL lockout wasn’t all good news for those involved in the hockey world.

The start of the new season Saturday means teams have been scrambling to fill rosters. Thus, a depleted Williamsport Outlaws team greeted the Williamsport faithful as they welcomed in fourth-place 1000 Islands.

The Outlaws lost seven players prior to Thursday’s game, with the potential of more call-ups coming. Although the roster was depleted, the Outlaws survived a 6-4 scare at Airmen Pond. And even received quality performances from some of the new faces on the team.

“It’s been tough,” Outlaws coach Chris Firriolo said. “We’ve lost a lot of guys to call-ups when the NHL went back to work. I knew this was going to happen. We got raided.”

The new faces made a quick impression as Bryan Mock, who joined the Outlaws (18-3-3-14) just yesterday as they attempted to fill roster spots, scored the game’s opening goal. Ryan Dolance, another new face, earned the secondary assist.

“There isn’t much you can do when guys get call-ups. It’s just the nature of the beast,” forward Trevor Karasiewicz said. “There are always players you can find. We just have to make do with it.”

The lack of numbers wasn’t apparent through the first two periods as the Outlaws built a 5-1 lead.

Over the course of the first two periods, the Outlaws received help from Chris Leveille, who scored two goals, and Karasiewicz, who also added two.

“We lost seven or eight key guys,” Firriolo said. “All those guys will be back once everything settles and the NHL gets back to work.”

The effects of playing with a undermanned roster took hold in the third period when 1000 Islands scored three unanswered goals to pull within a goal of tying.

James Gordon highlighted the third-period surge, adding his second score of the night. Adam McAllister also scored and tallied two assists.

“We didn’t do a good job protecting the lead tonight,” Firriolo said. “We always find a way to make it a game. Fortunately, Chris Whitley played very well for us.”

1000 Islands (11-4-3-15) entered Airmen Pond sporting a three-game losing streak, as well as a three-game losing streak against the Outlaws. The Privateers have been outscored 15-9 in its last three games against Williamsport.

“We just seem to have their number,” Karasiewicz said. “We just get up for the games we play against them. They are a rival from last year and it works out for us.”

Karasiewicz has been especially effective against 1000 Islands, tallying two goals and five assists in his last three contests against the Privateers. Leveille has been just as good, posting three goals and three assists in three games.

Thursday night, Karasiewicz, the FHL’s leader in points and assists, continued to work his magic against 1000 Islands.

On the Outlaws first goal, Karasiewicz earned the assist as Levielle broke through with a first-period goal. Karasiewicz then scored a goal of his own with a hard slap shot from just across the blue line.

Levielle was the beneficiary of another Karasiewicz feed in the second period that put the Outlaws up 4-0.

“These guys worked hard today,” Firriolo said. “I’m really proud of the effort they gave today.”

In last Saturday’s victory over Dayton, Williamsport surrendered a shorthanded goal that helped the Demonz reach overtime. Yesterday produced similar results as a second period penalty turned into a short-handed goal for 1000 Islands.

Peter Campbell quickly took advantage of a questionable defensive effort by the Outlaws, and then found a streaking Gordon for a 1 on 1 chance against Whitley. Gordon went under Whitley’s blocker to cut the home lead to 4-1 with more than a period of hockey left.

The defense then gave up 22 shots in the third period with Whitley notching saves in just about every fashion imaginable.