WATERTOWN — In his first game against his former team, Ryan Marker didn’t disappoint for the Watertown Wolves.
The winger scored two goals to help spark the Wolves to a 5-3 comeback win over the Delaware Thunder on Friday night in a Federal Prospects Hockey League game before 723 fans at Watertown Municipal Arena,
“It’s huge, honestly I have a lot of good buddies on that team when I played for that team,” Marker said. “I have nothing but respect for those guys, but it feels great to get the win.”
Watertown (23-19) stormed back after finding itself down 2-0 early in the first period.
The Wolves responded by scoring three goals, including the tying goal by Marker, within a span of nearly three minutes later in the period to take the lead for good.
“The comeback was huge,” Marker said. “We came together as a team, we got everything going and we kind of got rejuvenated on the power play. We were down two, but there was still so much time left in the this game.”
“Definitely it’s good,” said Watertown winger Joe Deveny, who recorded three assists, including assisting on Marker’s second goal. “Facing adversity early on, I thought the guys battled back pretty well, so it was a good win.”
Marker, who was traded to Watertown by Delaware on Feb. 3 for financial considerations, continues to fit in well with his new team.
The sharpshooter has scored 35 goals in 36 games this season, including four goals in his first six games with the Wolves.
“He had another two goals tonight and he’s starting to really show what he can do,” Watertown coach Paul MacLean said of Marker. “I coached him in Danville (last season) and he’s natural goal-scorer.”
“Everything’s been going great so far,” Marker said. “Mainly these last couple weeks, I’ve just been gelling with the guys, starting to gain some chemistry.”
The Wolves, who built a 5-3 lead through two periods, also fended off two Delaware power plays in the third to protect the two-goal lead.
Watertown goalie Jeremy Pominville made 31 saves, including stopping all 17 shots he faced in the third, including denying former Watertown player Anton Kalinin’s backhander in close early on.
“It was nice,” MacLean added about the comeback. “You know what, they’re not an easy team to play against. They don’t have a lot of natural talent, but they work hard and I’m glad we were able to capitalize on a few things we worked on in practice all week.”
Delaware built a two-goal lead as Evgeni Demin scored 6:04 into the game, one-timing a pass from Kalinin. Brennan Young followed with a goal on his own rebound at 13:46.
Watertown responded with back-to-back power-play goals. After Tanner Hildebrandt scored with 2:19 left in the period on two-man advantage, just 11 seconds later, Marker fired a drive past Delaware goalie Aaron Tyler to tie the score at 2-2.
“That’s big, that’s something that we worked on in practice, so that’s huge for us,” Marker said of Watertown’s power play.
Dominik Bogdziul followed with the go-ahead goal for the Wolves at 3-2 with 1:04 left in the period, slipping the puck past Taylor.
Marker provided Watertown with a 4-2 edge, taking a pass from Deveny in front, faking out Taylor, beating the goalie with his forehand 9:47 into the second period.
“It was definitely great and we needed that,” Deveny said. “Because late in the game, we had guys get injured and left the game. So having a push like that really helped.”
The Thunder drew within 4-3 on Young’s power-play goal with 7:03 left in the second, but Tyler Bullard finished off a cross-ice pass from Cole Sonstebo for a 5-3 Watertown lead with 3:36 left.
Watertown bounced back after losing two straight games to division rival Elmira last weekend in the chase for playoff positioning.
Young scored a pair of goals and Taylor finished with 39 saves for expansion Delaware (8-29), which lost its 12th straight.
The Wolves also continued their dominance of the Thunder, winning their eighth of nine games, including five straight.
Watertown and Delaware will play again at 7:30 tonight in Watertown in the final regular-season meeting.
n NOTES: Wolves defenseman Justin Coachman played in his 100th career FPHL game on Friday. ... This was the second game of a seven-game homestand for Watertown, which will host league-leading Carolina at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.