By Nick Magoulas
For the Federal Hockey League
The regular season was an up and down season for the Danbury Whalers but the playoffs gave way to a perfect showing as they captured their first Commissioner’s Cup Friday night with a 6-3 victory over the Dayton Demonz.
In a series that everyone knew would feature a lot of scoring, it was the Whalers who were able to play the stronger defensive game and get spectacular goaltending from Finals MVP Mike Brown (42 saves). Phil Aucoin opened the scoring at 8:03 of the first period with a turn-around slapper that beat Demonz goaltender Jeff Rose over the glove side.
The second period featured a total of six goals between the two teams. The Demonz got the first from Brayden Metz just 1:29 into the second frame. The Whalers would retake the lead just 21 seconds later on a one timer from Kelly Miller. Matt Puntureri made a beautiful pass through the slot and Miller buried it over the goal line. The Demonz would tie it up again at 5:54 on Jason Hill’s 9th goal of the playoffs. On the ensuing Whalers power play, it was a Demon, not a Whaler, who scored what turned out to be the game winning goal. Trevor Karasiewicz’s attempted clear of the puck accidentally banked into his own net off of goalie Jeff Rose. Tyler Noseworthy was credited with the goal. Anthony Pisano would tack on another at 16:23 on a rocket from the blue line that beat Rose to the top shelf. Just 55 seconds later Cody Ayers would make it a three goal lead with what looked like a harmless wrister from just outside the right circle. That would spell the end of the night for Jeff Rose, who had a very tough series in net for the Demonz.
The Whalers would tally another at 15:38 of the third, as Noseworthy would cash in his second of the game. The Demonz would add a late power play goal from Jesse Felten, but by that time the result of the contest had already been decided. Jeff Rose made 25 saves, while Tony Tabisz made 13 in relief for Dayton.
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Danbury wins FHL Commissioner’s Cup – 3-0