The Norwich Sea Captains netted a goal 1:59 into overtime to clinch a thrilling 6-5 win over the Danbury Jr Hat Tricks in North American 3 Hockey League (NA3HL) action Friday afternoon, January 20 at Danbury Arena. Sava Makarenko scored the overtime goal, his second of the game, and Jacob Begich tallied twice as well to lead the offense. Andrew Yocum stopped 24 Danbury shots to earn his ninth win of the season in goal, which leads the Sea Captains.
Danbury scored on the power play 7:40 into the afternoon’s action, but Norwich answered with a man advantage goal of their own with only 1:10 left in the first to even the score. Begich scored his first of the game when he took a cross ice feed from Tim Hayden, accelerated into the Danbury zone and used the Jr Hat Tricks defenseman as a screen to help beat the netminder on the near side of the net.
Norwich was able to get two goals in a 2:50 span in the first half of the second period to build a 3-1 lead. Chris Hamilton won an offensive zone faceoff with the help of Angelo Donzella who slid the puck to Tony Morran at the point for a drive that the Danbury goaltender kicked back in the slot. That was where Hamilton one-timed the rebound home to give the Sea Captains the lead 4:50 into the second. Another faceoff win was a key factor in Norwich’s third goal as well. This time Brian Essing won a draw cleanly to Hayden whose hammer from the point bled through the Jr Hat Tricks goalie and laid in the crease until Begich slammed it home for his second goal of the game at the 7:40 mark of the middle stanza. The 3-1 score held until the 13:20 mark when Danbury scored to get within a goal. Makarenko’s first goal of the contest restored the two-goal advantage 1:18 later when his laser in the upper corner lit the lamp. Donzella assisted on the goal. Danbury answered again though, finding the net 48 seconds later to make the score 4-3 after two periods of play.
6:43 into the third period Danbury tied the game on the power play, but just 32 seconds later Jack Kinahan deflected a drive from Sean Loftus into the net to put Norwich in front 5-4. Danbury would not go away quietly though and they were able to tie the game with 6:11 left in regulation on yet another power play goal.
Makarenko’s overtime tally was setup by Hamilton and Hayden. Hayden sent a long pass through the neutral zone that put Hamilton and Makarenko on a two-on-one rush from the blue line. Hamilton cut back to create space and fed the puck to Makarenko who rifled the puck into the far lower corner off the post to earn the 6-5 win for the Sea Captains.
“While it was not a complete performance from our team today, we were able to regroup and finish the job to earn a big win. Andrew Yocum was great in net and we could not have won without his play today. I was thrilled to be able to help the team win today and I cannot say enough about the pass that Hammy gave me to setup the winner. Just a beautiful feed from him,” explained Makarenko about the game and his contributions to the victory.
Norwich concludes a five game road swing Sunday afternoon, January 22 when they visit the New England Sports Village to tangle with the Northeast Generals for a 4 PM opening faceoff. The game will be broadcast on HockeyTV.