Exhausted Outlaws lose at home
Williamsport’s first impression of Danville’s representative in the Federal Hockey League probably wasn’t the best first impression.
The Dashers’ first game at Airmen Pond featured a team without uniforms and a roster made up of the leftovers of leftovers.
Friday night, in the ever-changing world of the Federal Hockey League, a much improved Danville team hoped to prove it was not the same team. And it would have do so against a completely different Outlaws bunch, as seven players have left due to call-ups now that the NHL?lockout has affected minor-league hockey in midseason.
The effort to redeem themselves was immediate as Dustin Skinner scored 30 seconds into the first period as Danville blasted the Outlaws, 7-2.
“It takes us out of the game early,” Outlaws coach Chris Firriolo said of the early goal. “It took the wind out of our sails right away. It was a bad goal for sure.”
Skinner, who completed a hat trick by posting a goal in each period, led the revamped Dashers, scoring the game’s first goal and then assisting on Justin Levac’s effort for a 2-1 Danville lead at the conclusion of the first period. Skinner’s efforts then gave him another goal in the second period as Danville opened with two quick goals to take a 4-1 lead.
The Outlaws, who appeared exhausted after Thursday’s game, struggled after the departure of the seven players. Most players were forced to work double shifts, which meant a more tired bunch the further the game progressed.
“We knew we were in trouble,” Firriolo said. “We were short Thursday and were short two more tonight. It’s just a tough part of the season.”
“It’s very hard, we have less bodies and guys are just exhausted,” Kevin Hamel said. “We are double shifting and you can’t really go at the speed you want.”
On the bright side, though, it was one of the team’s newest additions who broke through for the Outlaws’ lone second-period goal.
One night after Ryan Dolence assisted on Bryan Mock’s first goal as an Outlaw, Mock returned the favor with a second period pass to set up Dolence’s first goal with the team.
Jamie Zaleski continued to be the fan favorite with inspired play throughout the night.
And as the Dashers opened on a surge to take a 1-0 lead just 30 seconds after the puck dropped, Zaleski’s tally was the lone aspect of the first period worth remembering.
The Outlaws whiffed on three power play chances in the first period, including a four minute roughing offense that only yielded four attempts on goal.
“We had eight minutes of power plays and we just couldn’t bury a shot,” Firriolo said.
The one player who didn’t seemed bothered at all by the added minutes of play was Kevin Hamel. The Outlaws top defensemen played with a purpose through the second period.
“We have to do the little things,” Hamel said. “We just have to come together as a team and work. It’s the way we’re going to win.”
On multiple occasions it was Hamel’s effort to get back to the defensive end that kept the Outlaws in the game. He was eventually called for roughing with less than three minutes left in the period.
Danville controlled the third period as a lethargic Outlaws squad attempted to get back into the game. Danville posted a game-high 21 shots in the final period and scored three unanswered goals to bury Williamsport.