By Jared Tennant

PHOTO: Jennifer Bryniarski

Watertown, NY—The Mentor Ice Breakers secured their first-ever win at Watertown Municipal Arena on Friday night, defeating the Wolves 6-3 on the back of Matt Kadolph’s first career hat trick. The win pushes the Ice Breakers to 12-28-0-2, good for 38 points and only five points back of the fifth-place Danville Dashers, who lost in regulation.

Mentor seemed to be in trouble early on when Yianni Liarakos scored a shorthanded goal just four minutes into the contest, forcing the Ice Breakers into an early hole. Dallas Ingram, a former fan favorite in Watertown who was re-signed prior to the game, notched an assist on the goal. Mentor fought back to tie things up on the power play when defenseman Ryan Koresky continued his incredible run with his fourth goal in as many games. Consequently, it was the fourth goal of the Midhurst, Ontario native’s career.

Liarakos struck again at 16:28 with his 20th goal of the year and seventh since being traded to the Wolves. The power-play tally was assisted by Kyle Powell and Tyler Gjurich, Watertown’s top two scorers. The Ice Breakers were able to answer again just under a minute later with a pretty passing play. Forward Tim Perks possessed the puck at the point before dropping it off to Steven Fowler, his long-time friend and fellow Oxford, Michigan native, on the right side of the Wolves’ zone. Fowler passed back to Perks, who fed Joe Swenson in the slot for a beautiful one-time finish.

The Ice Breakers took the lead just 1:41 into the second frame when Kadolph netted his first goal of the evening off assists from Vaughn Clouston and Parker Moskal, making it a 3-2 game. Soon after, Kadolph made it a two-goal game at 9:15 on the power play, taking a pass from Swenson, his former Rochester College teammate, and scoring on the backhand. Kadolph proved to be the only goal-scorer in the second period as Mentor netminder John Sellie-Hanson stopped all 13 Wolves attempts in the frame.

Watertown grabbed the momentum back when Tim Santopaolo scored just 55 seconds into the final period to make it a 4-3 game and cut the Ice Breakers’ lead in half. The Wolves’ celebration proved to be short-lived, however, as Tommy Mahoney restored Mentor’s two-goal cushion with his first goal as an Ice Breaker less than three minutes later. Mahoney took a pass at the point from Declan Conway, who was in the right corner of the Wolves’ zone, before skating up to the top of the faceoff circle and firing a nasty wrist shot over the glove of Watertown goalie Jared Rutledge.

Kadolph capped off the scoring in the game and finished out his hat trick at 9:29, effectively ending any real chance of a Wolves comeback. Thomas Devesvre assisted on the tally, which was Kadolph’s 10th of the season and made him the fifth Ice Breakers to reach double-digit goals. Watertown had a pair of power plays midway through the third period, but the home team was unable to capitalize en route to their second loss of the season against Mentor.

Sellie-Hanson stopped 38 of 41 shots to improve to 3-6-0 while Rutledge made 34 saves and fell to 5-7-1. The Ice Breakers converted on two of their five power play opportunities while the Wolves scored once in four tries on the man advantage. For Mentor, Mahoney and Swenson both scored and dished out an assist while Perks added two assists. The series will move to Mentor Civic Ice Arena tomorrow night as the two clubs continue the three-in-three weekend matchup.

The Ice Breakers, proud members of the Federal Hockey League, are in their inaugural season. Single-game tickets and ticket packages are available 24/7 online at mentoricebreakers.com/tickets. They can also be purchased at the box office prior to every home game or by calling (440) 290-8502.