PHOTO: LMB Studios

Danville, IL – The Mentor Ice Breakers didn’t have a full lineup as they began a three-in-three weekend series in Eastern Illinois against the Danville Dashers, and it showed. After picking up a point in the opening contest on Friday, Mentor had a tough game from start to finish on Saturday night.

Friday, March 8 – Dashers 4, Ice Breakers 3 (OT)

A three-goal rally from the home team sent the Ice Breakers to a disappointing loss in the series opener on Friday night. Mentor got off to a great start when Vaughn Clouston scored at 15:07 of the opening frame off assists from Mark Essery and Parker Moskal. Just under three minutes later, Moskal found the back of the net to make it 2-0 in favor of Mentor. Tommy Mahoney and Patrick Porkka both logged assists on Moskal’s goal, which was his third in four games since joining the Ice Breakers.

Brett Oldaker converted on a power play chance midway through the second frame to make it a 3-0 game off feeds from Thomas Devesvre and Mahoney, but things turned in the Dashers favor from there. After captain Dustin Henning scored on a shorthanded breakaway late in the second period, Fred Hein cut Mentor’s lead to 3-2 at 3:21 of the final frame on the power play. The Ice Breakers held on to the one-goal lead for most of the period, but after Mentor took a bench minor with less than three minutes left in regulation, Danville pulled its netminder for an extra attacker and Taylor Cutting scored on the ensuing 6-on-4 advantage.

Overtime began as a back-and-forth affair, but Brandon Contratto sent the Ice Breakers to defeat at 3:50 off an assist from Daniel Martin. Cutting, Contratto, and Henning each had a goal and an assist for Danville while netminder Matt Kaludis earned the win after making 37 saves on 40 shots. For Mentor, Mahoney dished out a pair of assists and Moskal scored and added a helper. Goaltender John Sellie-Hanson fell to 4-6-1 after making 33 saves.

Saturday, March 9 – Dashers 7, Ice Breakers 2

The shorthanded Ice Breakers were only able to dress 13 skaters on Saturday night after having 14 in the lineup the night before, and Danville was able to capitalize. Gordy Bonnel netted a power-play goal 37 seconds into the contest, but the Dashers took control from that point on. After Daniel Martin scored at 10:13 and Brandon Contratto netted a pair of goals over the last seven minutes of the opening period, Danville jumped out to a 3-1 lead at the first intermission.

The Dashers’ onslaught continued just 25 seconds into the second period when Fred Hein scored a power-play goal off assists from Contratto and Nathan Campbell. Jared Henderson netted a power-play tally of his own at 6:01 before Eric Masters gave Danville a commanding 6-1 lead just under two minutes later. Parker Moskal brought some positivity to what was otherwise a forgettable game when he scored his fifth goal of the year at 7:08 of the third frame. Declan Conway and Vaughn Clouston both factored in with assists.

The Dashers capped off the scoring when Dustin Henning found the back of the net at even strength midway through the final period. Contratto had another big night with a pair of goals and an assist while Henning and Daniel Martin had a goal and two assists each. Matt Kaludis earned his second consecutive win with 51 saves. The Dashers had a big night on the power play, cashing in on 3-of-8 opportunities.