WATERTOWN — Dominik Bogdziul continues to embrace his opportunity with the Watertown Wolves.
Signed only two weeks ago, the rookie forward delivered a memorable Friday night, scoring twice, including his first professional goal, to help spark the Wolves to a 5-2 Federal Hockey League win over the expansion Delaware Thunder before 930 fans at Watertown Municipal Arena.
Bogdziul’s first goal was the go-ahead goal, coming 5 minutes and 34 seconds into the second period. Watertown then never looked back.
“It’s pretty good,” Bogdziul said. “It feels great for me because last year I played juniors, so this is totally different hockey. More mature, all the guys are older, more physical.”
Tyler Gjurich scored a pair of goals for the Eastern Division-leading Wolves (10-2), who have won 10 of their past 11 games, including winning their first meeting against Delaware.
“It’s pretty good, I like the guys here,” Bogdziul said of the Wolves. “We have a pretty good atmosphere here, all the guys are really friendly and all the coaches help me out.”
Rookie goalie Jeremy Pominville stopped 36 of 38 shots faced for Watertown.
“You can always get a good start to weekend if you win that first one,” Pominville said. “I think tonight, we played pretty good, grinded it out and were able to get the three points.”
Watertown took a 2-1 edge on Bogdziul’s first goal as he finished off a cross-crease pass from Cameron Dimmitt to capitalize on a 2-on-1 partial breakaway.
“It was a good play by Joe Deveny to get the puck out and then Cameron and I got the puck and we went in 2-on-1,” Bogdziul said. “It was a really nice pass by him back door and I tapped it in.”
“Dominik got his first goal and that was nice to see,” Watertown coach Paul MacLean said. “He’s very skilled, he makes nice passes and sees guys when they’re open. He had a good night for us, that’s for sure.”
After the Wolves took a 3-1 lead on Jamie Lukas’ rebound goal with 8:28 left in the second period, the Thunder drew within 3-2 on Brennan Young’s tally with 3:22 left in the period.
Bogdziul added a goal 2:17 into the third, snapping a shot from the right faceoff circle past goalie Aaron Taylor for a 4-2 lead.
“It was pretty nice, it was a like a little struggle for me before in the (previous five) games here,” Bogdziul said. “But now I got that off my back, so I’ll keep going and keep working hard every day.”
A native of Lithuania, Bogdziul hasn’t been a stranger playing hockey in North America. He played the better part of the previous four years playing at the junior level in the United States, including last season with the Utica Junior Comets.
“I like what I see here, this is a really good experience for me,” said the 21-year-old Bogdziul, who was coached in Utica by former Thousand Islands Privateers coach Paul Kelly.
The Wolves later had a power-play goal waved off after officials ruled the Delaware net had been knocked off its moorings.
Gjurich followed with a power-play goal with 1:56 remaining in regulation to complete the scoring.
“I think the third period was our best period,” MacLean said. “I think we played better and got stronger as the game went along.”
The Wolves went 2-for-4 on the power play on the night, while fending off both of the Thunder’s man advantages.
Gjurich provided Watertown with a 1-0 lead as he finished off a pass from Lukas 6:27 elapsed.
Delaware drew even at 1-1 as Ryan Marker scored a power-play goal at 10:36 of the first with two seconds left in the man advantage.
Taylor, who has started every game this season for Delaware (2-9), finished with 37 saves.
Delaware and Watertown will square off again at 7:30 tonight at the Fairgrounds.
n NOTES: With two assists, Watertown forward Deric Boudreau extended his point streak to 12 games, generating at least a point in each of the teams’ games this season, totaling 10 goals and 11 assists. ... Wolves’ forward/defenseman Nikolas Kalpouzos was called up by Roanoke of the Southern Professional Hockey League on Tuesday. ... Former Wolves players Anton Kalinin and Igor Kostyukov were acquired by Delaware in a Nov. 12 trade for cash considerations, and both played Friday. ... Watertown improved to 5-2 on home ice and is 5-0 on the road.