Can’t spit at the refs and call them names
by Than Acuff
It was a goaltending showcase in town league action Wednesday evening as Eric DiMarco and Hunter Donleavy put on a clinic in net for their respective teams. Sure, eight total goals were scored, but the score line says nothing about the work of both Donleavy and DiMarco.
And while the pace of the game was noticeably slower at times than most town league games, that can only be attributed to the fact that REG had one sub on the bench while the Eldo had just two, so fitness preservation was fully in effect.
That certainly didn’t make the game any less exciting and it opened with a bang as REG player Jonathan Holton fired a high heater which Donleavy never saw, but blocked, and then 10 seconds later William Muller did the same that DiMarco never saw, but blocked with his face.
REG opened the scoring one minute later, winning a faceoff in the Eldo zone and dropping the puck to Henrik Forsling for a blistering wrister through traffic and past Donleavy.
DiMarco and Donleavy proceeded to trade off amazing saves the rest of the first period until the 10th minute when the Eldo tied the game up. REG was set up in the Eldo zone and Elizabeth Welsh worked hard at the blue line to keep the pressure on until Muller skated free to catch REG, pinched in and made the most of his trip up the ice to score.
DiMarco and Donleavy remained on point in net to open the second period and a brief distraction in the scorer’s booth discussing the nuances of the KU/K State brawl resulted in a lack of attention on my part but when the cheering subsided I was led to believe that Muller netted his second goal of the game for a 2-1 Eldo lead.
Meanwhile, amidst all of the Muller, Forsling, Guy Ciulla, DiMarco and Donleavy highlights, one player kept his head down and kept working hard. Ian Baird spent every second of his time on the ice at full throttle, chasing long passes down and battling in the corners and eventually came up for air with 15 seconds left in the second period to skate to net and score for REG, tying the game 2-2.
Twenty-three seconds into the third period Ciulla and Forsling connected to put REG on top 3-2 but the Eldo regrouped to turn the heat back on REG. Their increase in tenacity created numerous chances until they eventually broke through the REG defense as Muller put the finishing touches on his hat trick, tying the game once again.
A minute later though, a collision into the boards in front of the REG bench left Ciulla crumbled on the ice in pain and forced to leave the game temporarily and left the Eldo with a penalty.
REG took advantage of the swing in momentum during their powerplay, setting up shop in the Eldo zone. Donleavy denied the initial series of shots and Welsh was battling for rebounds in the slot but not until the puck spat out to Dodson Harper and Harper stuffed it home did their work finally pay off.
A timeout then allowed a little extra time for Ciulla to recuperate and he returned to the ice to score in the final minute and seal the 5-3 REG win.