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Privateers win streak at four


Continuing their strong start to 2014, the Watertown Privateers turned on the power just when they needed it most Friday night.

Sporting a new-look power play, the Privateers struck for three man-advantage goals in the third period, including Dustin Skinner’s game-winner in the final minute, to edge past the Dayton Demonz, 5-4 in a Federal Hockey League game at Watertown Municipal Arena.

Ludlow Harris and Britt Ouellette also scored on the power play in the third period for Watertown (11-13), which has won four consecutive games in the new year and six of its past seven.

“I think we’re sending a message, we’re 4-0 in 2014,” Skinner said. “It’s good, but we don’t want to get too far ahead of ourselves. We’re finding the pieces of the puzzle and everybody is working hard to win games.”

Goalie Bryan Kalczynski made 30 saves to win his third consecutive start for the Privateers.

After the Privateers fended off the Demonz in a shootout victory last Saturday in Dayton, the two teams appeared to be again heading to overtime on Friday when Ahmed Mahfouz scored an unassisted shorthanded goal on a breakaway with one minute, 32 seconds remaining in regulation.

“That was a tough one to swallow especially after we were on that 5-on-3 in the last few minutes of the game when we didn’t capitalize,” Ouellette said. “Once that one went in on a bad break, we stayed calm and there’s no quit in this team.”

Watertown answered on the same man advantage as Skinner tipped in a blast from the point from Ouellette past goalie Matthew Kinsella with 56.2 seconds left.

“That was a beautiful tip, just a simple tip,” Watertown coach Brad Zangs said.

The Privateers, who were held scoreless on their first three power plays, converted on three of their last five man advantages to turn back Dayton.

“If we’re going to be winning here at all, we’ve got to score power-play goals,” said Zangs, whose team improved to 6-6 at home. “That’s something that I’ve explained to the boys that we’ve got to keep working on ... and tonight was a good example.”

Said Dayton coach Trevor Karasiewicz: “They played well and they out played us — it’s as simple as that.”

Despite the recent loss of forwards Branden Parkhouse and Andrew Harrison, who both recently moved on to different leagues, Watertown has stepped up to score 30 goals over its past seven games, including 18 during its winning streak.

“I changed our power play up this week,” Zangs said. “But we still can’t give up these shorties (shorthanded goals) — we’ve given up way too many this year. I like that we’re aggressive ... we put together three good periods again tonight, so I can’t complain too much.”

The Privateers led 2-1 through the first 40 minutes before each team erupted for three goals in the third period.

After Roger Tagoona slid the puck past Kalczynski 1:57 into the final period to draw the Demonz even, Harris scored Watertown’s first power-play goal of the night by lifting a feed from Craig Cole at 5:22.

Just 1:24 later, Brian Marks followed with a man-advantage goal for Dayton (15-9) on a blast from the point. Watertown led 4-3 just nine seconds into a power play as after Skinner won the faceoff, Ouellette took a pass from Dane Erickson and snapped the puck past Kinsella at 15:03.

“It’s always a big win, especially at home,” Skinner said. “We came out flying in front of our home crowd, but we’ve been playing well these past 10 games and it’s always good to have a win against a team like Dayton.”

Skinner totaled four points, including three assists, Harris scored twice and Ouellette also assisted on two goals.

Kalczynski won his previous two starts for his first pair of wins in professional hockey, including a 45-save effort in Watertown’s 4-3 shootout victory at Dayton last Saturday.

“He gave up a few there, but I thought he played extremely well,” Zangs said.

After Dayton led 1-0 when Jonathan Juliano slid the puck past Kalczysnki 3:34 into the game, Beni Bersiha scored the tying goal by following up his own rebound later in the period at 16:31.

Harris provided Watertown with a 2-1 lead just 41 seconds into the second period as he took a feed from Ouellette and swept the puck past Kinsella.

nNOTES: Erickson extended his point streak to seven games and Ludlow has now scored in four straight games. ... Privateers forward Brent Clarke notched an assist in his season debut. ... The Privateers will host Danville at 7:35 tonight.

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