October 30—WATERTOWN—Trevor Lord and the New Wolves continue to settle in well with their new teammates.
Lord scored the game-clinching goal in overtime and goaltender Travis Smith, also a rookie, made 25 saves as Watertown beat the Elmira Mammoth, 6-5, Saturday night in a Federal Prospects Hockey League game in front of a crowd of 625 at the Watertown Municipal Arena.
“It was a bit wild, for sure, but it was a great win,” Lord said.
Lord scored with three minutes and 19 seconds left in the extra session. He moved in alone and beat Mammoth keeper Trevor Micucci for the match winner.
“I’m really excited, my first, first professional goal, you can’t complain about that,” Lord said. “And when you do it in overtime and the team wins, that’s even better.”
Smith and Wolves (3-1) swept Elmira on the weekend as the keeper made 22 saves in a 6-1 win on Friday night as he recorded his first professional win.
“It’s exciting, getting your first two pro wins is always important,” Smith said. “You get experience every game you get, sometimes you have to fight, like in games like tonight. And some of them go your way, but it’s all the way you go through , it’s good.”
Lord’s goal was also his first as a professional, as the two players are two of many new faces in the Watertown squad this year.
Smith overcame a 3-1 deficit in the first period.
“As I mentioned before, every team in this league is going to fight hard,” Watertown coach Justin Coachman said. “You can’t play to anybody’s level and we did that in the first half tonight. But we turned it around and bounced back, started playing our game and that’s when the things kind of turned around.”
Watertown led 5-4 in the third period, with rookie Ryan Sarris scoring the go-ahead goal on the power play with 1:51 left in the second.
But Matthew Bazarin of Elmira tied the game with his tally with 4:47 remaining in regulation time.
“It was awesome,” Lord said. “I was a little scared at the end, nobody likes to go into extra time. Playing (three against three) is a bit crazy, it can go anyway, it’s a real game of possession.”
Wolves completed 40 seconds of the power play in overtime, the Mammoth killing the penalty which set the stage for Lord, with each team playing 3-on-3.
“I kind of chipped it and beat the (defense) and just took my time and walked on,” Lord said. “I just took the ice open and just shot the short side, just below the pad.”
“I thought it was good, they had good puck control on that three-on-three, exactly what I was telling them to do and it was a great shot from Lord,” Coachman said.
After allowing three goals on seven shots faced in the first period on Saturday, Smith made 21 saves the rest of the way to support his team to victory.
“I mean games are going to be one-goal games when you have six goals against or one goal against,” Coachman said. “But the heart of this kid, he fought and he always played excellent.”
“The atmosphere here is amazing,” said Smith, who also assisted on Wolves’ back-to-back second-half goals. “It’s honestly something I’ve never really seen before going through junior (hockey) and obviously minor hockey as well. But the fans are electric here, they really are.
The game was the final installment of the Watertown hockey rivalry against Elmira, which has a new twist as this Mammoth team is a new team in the league.
Hockey returned to Elmira in the form of the Mammoth after the town was without a team last season. Prior to that, the Elmira Enforcers played three seasons in the league, much of that time as one of Wolves’ main rivals.
“It’s going to be a battle, right? said Smith. “Elmira is not too far from here, it’s fans who are going to come here, our fans are going to go there. It’s going to be a battle for sure. They’re a brave team, we can also bring courage, and it all depends on who wants it the most.”
“They were getting pretty restless,” Lord said of Elmira. “We just had to kind of grind it down and move on.”
Elmira, who is coached by former Clarkson University player and Potsdam native Glenn Thomaris, slipped to 0-6. Micucci finished with 50 saves.
“It’s a little bit different, different colors,” Coachman said. “Elmira will always be a hard working team, it’s just kind of in their culture, from when they were the Enforcers to now as the Mammoth, they’re not going to lay down and die. So you can’t not play down for them, you have to keep running your systems and playing your game, keeping it a bit simple and that’s where you’re going to be successful against a team like this.”
Santino Foti, also a rookie who scored his first two goals for Wolves in Friday’s win, scored two more and assisted another in Saturday’s win.
Wolves trailed 3-1 in the first half before Michael Mann drew his team within a goal with his tally with 2:01 left in the frame.
“When you come back to that first base … and the puck just jumps over your stick and you let that happen, it kinda goes to your head,” Smith said. “But if you get over it and fight back, things can go your way.”
Foti then leveled Watertown at 3-3 as he finished off a pass from Mann to complete a 3-for-1 break 2:17 into the second period, with Smith also assisting.
“They’re always going to fight, they’ll always be there for you,” Smith said of his new teammates. “Even if we’re down 3-0 and things don’t go your way, they’re still going to support you and you’re still going to support them. They’re a great group and we’re excited to see what can happen from From now.”
Wolves then received back-to-back power-play goals from Rocco DiCostanzo and Ryan Sarris, the latter coming with 1:52 left in the second period to create a 5-4 advantage. The goals were sandwiched around an Elmira tally from former Wolves player Yianni Liarkaros.
“As soon as we started to build momentum, we tried to use it and we did that all the way through the third period and into overtime,” Coachman said.
Samuel Hrabcak and Mathias Tellstrom scored twice, including their first for the team, in Watertown’s win on Friday night.
Wolves will spend the next two weeks on the road, playing Delaware on Friday and Saturday and Columbus on November 11-13.
“I think we’re in a pretty good position, everyone is working hard and they really want to be here,” Coachman said. “It’s about finding the right guys who really want to buy into a system, which is the hardest part as a coach, and I’m lucky to have 25 guys like that.”
“I think we’re looking good, we’re quite young this year,” Lord said. “So we’re losing a lot of older guys, so we have to understand, there’s a lot of first-time guys here too, so everyone’s learning.”
—NOTES: Sarris’ goal was his first point as a pro. … Wolves wore one of their alternate shirts, which are light blue with black trim and feature a large black “W” as the logo. … Elmira is located in the Empire division of the league, along with Binghamton, Danbury and Delaware.