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Local pro hockey: Privateers fall in home opener


By mounting a comeback bid in which they took the lead in the third period, the Watertown Privateers thought they had the Danville Dashers just where they wanted them.

The opposite proved to be true, however, as Justin Barr scored four goals, including a natural hat trick in the third period, as the Dashers stormed past the Privateers, 7-4, on Friday night in a Federal Hockey League game at Watertown Municipal Arena.

Barr scored three consecutive goals in the final period, and goalie Jeromy Semtner made 35 saves as Danville (1-2) rallied with four unanswered goals to spoil Watertown’s home opener.

Watertown coach Brad Zangs didn’t mince words after the Privateers blew the advantage and never recovered.

“We got away from what we wanted to do defensively,” Zangs said. “We got lazy. ... When you dominate a game like this and lose like this, it’s pathetic. It hurts — it’s like taking a punch to your ribs.”

Andrew Harrison scored a pair of goals and Branden Parkhouse contributed a goal and an assist to pace Watertown (0-2).

With the Privateers trailing 3-2 entering the third period, Jeff Dill scored the tying goal 6 minutes, 19 seconds into the third and 1:19 later, Harrison followed with a power-play tally for a 4-3 Watertown advantage.

“I think we showed some character to come back and take the lead like that,” said Zangs, whose team rallied to take the lead after trailing 3-1. “But then we just let it slip away. This was the second game in a row where we’ve given a team the victory. No one has earned a victory from us yet — we’ve given two games away.”

The lead was short-lived, however. Barr scored a trio of goals within a span of nearly three minutes to spark the Dashers.

“It’s always nice to get your first win, especially on the road,” Barr said. “It was kind of almost a battle within two games themselves. We came out and were in control for a while and then they came back on us. It’s a credit to our guys — we just never gave up and kept battling.”

After he lifted a backhander over goalie Matt Anthony at 10:14 to tie the game, Barr scored on a blast from the slot at 13:08 for the game-winner. Barr followed with a back-breaking shorthanded goal at 13:08 to provide Danville with a 6-4 edge.

“It’s a tough loss, you always want to win your home opener,” said Anthony, who stopped 25 of 32 shots. “We battled hard and came back and took the lead in the third. But we just made too many errors defensively.”

“We have to learn from tonight’s game and become stronger from it,” Anthony added. “We’ve got to be smarter and we’ve got to play smarter — especially in our own zone.”

“I thought we played very well up and down the ice except for about four minutes in the game,” Zangs said. “And that’s what killed us, those four minutes.”

Malcom Lyles added a goal at 16:11 and the rout was on for Danville, which won its first game after being trounced in a pair of games against Dayton last weekend.

“You’re going to face adversity all season long,” Barr said. “And we responded well to the challenge we faced tonight.”

Jeromy Semtner stopped 35 of 39 shots to earn the win.

Watertown, which plays at Dayton tonight, will host the Demonz on Friday, both 7:35 p.m. starts.

nNOTES: Watertown Mayor Jeffrey E. Graham dropped the ceremonial first puck. ... The now-called Watertown Privateers sported a new team logo, with a snarling buccaneer wielding a sword. They also donned new throw-back like uniforms, which were black with red-and-white stripes and red shoulders. .... The first of two fights on the evening featured Dill squaring off with former teammate Jamie Zalewski, who was released by the Privateers last week before the season opener.

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