Delaware splits weekend series with Mentor

by Mike Basile

   Delaware came into the weekend series against Mentor looking to end their four-game skid. Friday night, they were home against Mentor for Military Appreciation Night. The Ice Breakers came out buzzing and scored just 26 seconds into the first period. Nathan Harrington scored on the doorstep after Delaware failed to clear their zone. The Ice Breakers kept the pressure on most of the first period and at the 13:37 mark went on the power-play and made no mistake. Declan Conway scored and gave Mentor a 2-0 lead.

    Just like the first, Mentor jumped on the Thunder early in the second. Jon Buttitta scored just 31 seconds in on the powerplay. Isiah Crawford added another at the 5:04 mark of the second, and that would end goaltender Aaron Taylor’s night. Morgan Hudson came in for Delaware and shut Mentor out the rest of the second. Delaware responded well to the goaltender change and netted one late in the second to cut the lead to three. It was Ryan Marker scoring the goal and breaking Austyn Roudebush’s shutout bid.

  Delaware came out strong to start the third, but couldn’t get one by Roudebush. Both goaltenders looked very solid in the third period trading big save after big save. Finally, Parker Moskal solved Morgan Hudson late in the third and all but put the game away at 5-1. Ryan Marker would add a power-play goal in the dying seconds to cut the lead to 5-2. Mentor would take game one of the home and home in Delaware.

  Saturday Night was a different story for The Delaware Thunder. The Thunder were looking for their first road win of the season in Mentor. The Thunder knew a good start would be a key to success, and they were able to pot the first goal late in period one. With less than two minutes to go in the first, Evgenii Demin found a loose puck in the slot and made no mistake firing it into the yawning cage. Aaron Taylor bounced back strong stopping all 18 Mentor shots in the first.

   Mentor came out fast to start the second and went on the power-play early in the period. The leading point-getter in the league, Jon Buttitta scored on a great feed from Alexander Morrow. Delaware would bounce back midway through the period on the power-play. Dan Dicristofaro wristed a shot on goal, that hit a Mentor stick and deflected in past Roudebush. Delaware took a 2-1 lead to the third.

   Declan Conway took a penalty with 14:52 to go in the third and Delaware headed to the power-play. Delaware took advantage of the power-play on a wrap-around goal from Ryan Marker. Parker Moskal answered back just 1:01 later for Mentor. He walked through the slot and scored over the pad of Aaron Taylor. Mentor kept the pressure on after the goal with three power-plays in eight minutes. With some great play in goal, Delaware killed off all three. They held on for a 3-2 win. Aaron Taylor made 51 saves in an incredible performance.

 Delaware heads back home next weekend for a pair of divisional games against Elmira. Mentor will also be home against Port Huron of the Western Division.