Outlaws win at home
The ends of the periods belonged to Williamsport Thursday as it welcomed in New York a day after hosting the city’s first professional All-Star game.
Anthony Battaglia and Martin Moucha tallied goals to end the first and second periods, respectively. The late magic was enough to get by New York, 7-4, at Airmen Pond at Bowman Field.
Surprisingly, the Outlaws struggled to put up quality shots throughout the contest against a team they scored 20 goals against in their previous two games.
“The last times we played New York we beat them back-to-back,” Williamsport coach Chris Firriolo said. “I’ll tell you what, New York played a pretty good game tonight. Their goalie got hot and at some point I thought we were going to get caught.”
For most of the second period Williamsport (17-2-3-12) and New York (3-1-1-16) exchanged attempts without much materializing. It wasn’t until the final two minutes when Moucha put the Outlaws back in front that anything noteworthy happened.
Moucha beat Kevin Moore as he cut across the front of the net and sent a quick wrist shot through for a 3-2 Outlaws lead.
Once the puck was dropped after the goal Tyler Matheson and Josh Richards dropped their gloves for a late-period fight. Matheson appeared to gain the upper hand and was pulled off Richards after he took him to the ice.
“It’s huge to get a goal in the last two minutes of the period,” Battaglia said. “It gets momentum for the next period. We were fortunate that we got it.”
The momentum from the last-minute goal failed to carry over for the Outlaws though.
What appeared to be a break for the Outlaws when Matt Maglione was called for hooking in the third period, quickly turned into disaster. Bryan Elfant intercepted a pass in the Bluefin’s zone and found Chris Hassler for a shorthanded goal and 4-3 Bluefins lead.
Hassler’s goal followed Bryan Mock, who opened the third period with a goal less than a minute into the final 20 minutes. Mock sent a whistling shot from just over the blue line for the equalizer. Hassler then gave New York a 4-3 lead with his first goal of the night.
“Once New York took the lead there everybody woke up,” Battaglia said. “We weren’t going to lose to this team in our barn. We woke up and got a couple quick goals and went from there.”
The Outlaws posted the next four goals for the game’s decisive stretch run. Battaglia rounded the scoring out with a goal with just 2:56 left in the game.
Matthew Puntuneri, Matheson and Chris Levielle scored the goals prior to Battaglia’s final effort.
“We weren’t too focused out there the first two periods. It showed in our play,” Battaglia said. “We have to get back to doing the little things right. We’d better get it together, because we are at Danbury next.”
The Outlaws travel to Danbury today and then return to Airmen Pond Saturday for a second consecutive game against Danbury. The Saturday game was moved to a 1:05 p.m. start.
One night after notching his first hat trick with the Outlaws, Brian Yanovitch recorded the first goal in Thursday’s game. The goal looked similar to one of his tallies in the All-star when he sent a shot flying over the goalie’s shoulder.
The Outlaws took a 2-1 advantage into the locker room when Battaglia broke through with two minutes left in the period. Karasiewicz, who broke the Outlaws single-season assists record in Monday’s game against 1000 Islands, was credited for the assist on Battaglia’s goal.
“They are always important, because you come out sharp the next period,” Firriolo said. “When you’re struggling to score at the end of periods it’s a problem.”