Snipers Earn First Win Of 2017 Against Springfield
Special teams propel Snipers to first home victory behind newcomers Tugo, Lasuen
By Jason Felts
After a successful WSHL Showcase showing in Las Vegas, the Snipers (4-25-5, 6th in Mid-Western Division) opened 2017 with a home series against the Springfield Express (20-7-1, 3rd in Mid-Western Division).
Game 1- Dallas 3 – Springfield 3, Express won 2-1 in Penalties
Game one of this series was the first game back in a Snipers uniform for forward Michael Tugo, who put up 31 goals and 32 assists with the team last season. It was also a home debut for recently signed center Imanol Lasuen, who joined the Snipers from Spain just before the Vegas tournament.
The series got off to a quick start when captain Sterling Cooper scored in the first 25 seconds of the game to give Dallas an early lead. Starting goaltender Brady Weiss made a plethora of saves before finally letting in an equalizer with 6:22 left in the first, but Jaroslav Vasicek answered shortly after to give the Snipers a 2-1 lead at the end of the first.
Snipers opened up the scoring in the 2nd period with a powerplay goal from defender Andres Kato to go up 3-1, but Springfield grabbed one more before the end of the period to make it 3-2 going into the 3rd.
Hard defense and great goaltending from Weiss kept the Snipers competitive throughout, but Springfield was able to tie it at 3 with 14:21 left in the 3rd, which eventually forced overtime.
Snipers dominated the first overtime period, firing off 6 shots to Springfield’s 2, then flipped the script in the second overtime period with Springfield amassing 9 shots to Dallas’ 2, although it remained scoreless.
Springfield pulled goalie Jonatan Persson for the shootout, electing to go with Bailey Stephens, who stopped all but one of the Snipers’ attempts in the shootout, as the Express were able to capitalize on the solid goalkeeping and score 2 shootout goals, taking game one.
Game 2- Dallas 8 – Springfield 5
With the win slipping just out of reach in game one, the Snipers answered well in game two, notching their first home victory of the season, and their fourth total win on the year.
Goalkeeper Matt Stewart got the nod for game two, and both Tugo and Lasuen made their way into the starting lineup.
Eric Eaton opened the scoring with a beautiful top corner goal just 5 minutes into the game. Springfield was able to respond with two goals of their own, before a powerplay goal by the “Spanish Stallion” Imanol Lasuen knotted the game at 2 before the first break.
Both teams continued to exchange blows in the second, as forward Hunter Lovdokken put in two for the Express, but Tugo picked up a shorthanded goal for his first of the season to make it 4-3 Springfield going into the 3rd.
Tugo with another goal, this time on the powerplay, tied the game again with 16:03 left to play. The tie didn’t hold long, as Springfield scored an unassisted goal with 11:31 remaining to go up 5-4. From there, the Snipers ramped it up, and Stewart didn’t allow any more goals. Center Peter Kutlak grabbed an equalizer with 9:32 left to play, then forward Christopher Mingus gave the Snipers a 6-5 lead with just 3:54 left. Springfield elected to pull goalie Mario Lamper in exchange for another field player, but got burned twice by Tugo for goals 7 and 8, his 3rd and 4th on the night, giving the Snipers their first home victory of the year by a count of 8-5.
Game 3- Dallas 1 – Springfield 5
After a riveting first two games of the series, game three took the early cap on Sunday morning, and saw the Express come out victorious.
Snipers turned to routine starter Alex Moustakas in goal, his first game played since the Vegas tournament.
A relatively boring first period saw no goals scored and only one penalty, despite Dallas scoring early in games one and two.
Springfield finally broke the seal in the second period, scoring just 5 minutes in to go up 1-0. The Express then picked up two more in quick succession with just over a minute to go in the period to take a 3-0 lead. A scrum placed 5 total players in the penalty box, but Dallas was able to capitalize on the extra man advantage for a powerplay goal by forward Sasha Yunanov with just 15 seconds left to take a 3-1 deficit into the 3rd.
Springfield scored two more quick ones after 15 minutes of play in the 3rd to go up 5-1, and Dallas was unable to beat goalkeeper Jonatan Persson again in the third, giving Springfield the win and the series by a count of 2 games to 1.
The Snipers will be back in action again on January 20th, 21st, and 22nd at home in Plano against the El Paso Rhinos (24-5-2, 1st in the Mid-Western Division). Game one will start at 7:45 pm.