WATERTOWN — Because of travel issues, Tanner Hildebrandt and his Danville Dashers teammates didn’t get much sleep, if any, over the previous 24 hours heading into Friday night’s game against the Watertown Wolves.
That didn’t stop the Dashers from gutting out a win as a pair of streaks came ended in the Federal Hockey League, at the expense of the Wolves.
Hildebrandt scored a power-play goal 38 seconds into the third period to lift Danville to a 2-1 win over Watertown before 909 fans at Watertown Municipal Arena.
The Dashers halted the Wolves’ winning streak at eight games, the second longest in franchise history.
“It’s a long season and you can’t win every game,” Watertown coach Paul MacLean said. “But we know we have to be better than this.”
Goalie Jesse Gordichuk made 32 saves for Danville (5-5), which rallied past Watertown (8-2) to snap a five-game losing skid.
Watertown’s winning streak included two wins at Danville two weeks ago.
“It feels great,” Hildebrandt said. “Obviously we [were] kind of going in different directions, so it feels good to get this one under our belt. Obviously with Watertown coming to our rink and taking two wins from us, it was important for us tonight to get the win.”
After their bus broke down in Ohio on Thursday night during their journey from Illinois, the Dashers were forced to rent three vans and the team didn’t arrive in Watertown until just before Friday night’s pre-game warmups.
“It was a real good effort tonight,” Danville coach Ray Tremblay said. “We had a tough road trip getting here, so it makes it even sweeter.”
“I think we just beat ourselves,” Wolves forward Michael Desjarlais said. “We just didn’t come ready to play, our coach said, too, that we didn’t come ready to play in the warmup. It starts in the warmup, to be honest. If you’re not ready, you’re not ready and it’s going to show.”
With the score tied at 1-1 entering the third period, Hildebrandt finished off a rebound as his drive deflected in off the crossbar and past rookie goalie Jeremy Pominville.
“Coming into the third (period), we were able to make a play,” Hildebrandt said. “(Jesse Neher) shot the puck on net for us and I just managed to get a stick on it and put it in. I think that was a big start for us in the third period and helped us pull through in this game.”
“That was a tough one, I think it went in off of something,” MacLean said. “Pominville’s played well for us and that was a tough goal to give up.”
The goal was the first power-play goal allowed by Watertown in the past five games. The Wolves also went 0-for-6 while on the man advantage.
“I think with the penalties, I think we let our emotions get the best of us tonight,” MacLean said.
The Wolves, whose previous loss came four weeks ago on opening night, led 1-0 on Desjarlais’ goal with 7:40 left in the first period, with Deric Boudreau assisting.
The Dashers drew even at 1-1 with 5:46 left in the second period on Seth Ensor’s rebound goal as the puck deflected past Pominville.
“We were doing fine there,” Desjarlais said. “And all off a sudden, we just kind of let up and the next thing you know, it was 1-1.”
Pominville, who won six games during the Wolves’ winning streak, stopped 36 of 38 shots faced on Friday.
The Wolves’ previous loss was 3-1 to Mentor on Oct. 25 in Watertown.
“This was a tough one, but we still have another 50 games, right?” Desjarlais added. “So we’re not sweating any thing right now.”
n NOTES: Watertown will also host Danville at 7:30 tonight. ... Watertown’s franchise-record winning streak is 14 games, which was set during the 2017-18 season. ... The Wolves have yielded only three power-play goals in 10 games this season. ... Boudreau extended his point streak to 10 games and has at least a point in every game this season.