Wolves’ MacDonald, Colgan earn FPHL awards

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WATERTOWN — While high winds continued to roar outside, the Watertown Wolves generated their own storm Saturday night, with several rookies leading the charge.

Four different rookies scored at least a goal each, including Brandon Day’s go-ahead goal with nine minutes and 32 seconds left in regulation, as the Wolves outlasted the Delaware Thunder to post a 6-3 triumph in a Federal Prospects Hockey League game before a turnout of 761 at Watertown Municipal Arena.

Rocco DiConstanzo tallied a pair of goals, and fellow first-year players Cole McKechney and Alexander Jmaeff each scored a goal, with McKechney adding two assists, to spark league-leading Watertown (11-3).

“We have 17 young guns and we played 15 of them tonight,” Watertown coach Brent Clarke said. “And we had one gentleman who actually did the surgery for the one player who got hurt, (Dr. Griffin Biedron), he’s a doctor. And he played for us tonight, he’s a military guy and did pretty well tonight.”

The Wolves, who were without team captain Justin MacDonald, who is sidelined with an illness, prevailed despite blowing a three-goal lead as Brandon Lucchesi scored back-to-back goals within a span of 2:16 in the third period to tie the game at 3-3.

But Watertown responded only 27 seconds later as Day broke in alone and beat goalie Jacob Caffrey for the game winner.

“He’s starting to break out into his own and it’s good to see,” Clarke said of Day.

“That was great, I’m just happy to help out this team,” said Day, who scored from the top of the right faceoff circle, beating the goalie glove side.

After Delaware pulled Caffrey with 2:40 remaining in regulation, DiConstanzo and Justin Coachman added empty-net goals, with DiConstanzo’s coming with 47 seconds left.

“It was good,” said Jmaeff, who scored his team-leading 12th goal for the Wolves. “We didn’t play exactly the game we wanted to play, but I felt like we got it together there at the end and made sure we secured the three points.”

Goalie Brandon Hussey stopped 33 of 36 shots for Watertown, which swept the home-and-home series with Delaware (0-11-1), after winning, 7-4 at Delaware on Friday night.

“It was some better hockey than (Friday), that’s for sure,” Clarke said.

“It was a tough weekend, a lot of traveling down to Delaware and back,” said Jmaeff, a native of British Columbia. “The boys were a little tired at the start there, but it was important that we had a good weekend to get back on the winning track here.”

With several players called up to the Southern Professional Hockey League in recent weeks, rookies have been given even more of an opportunity to contribute for the Wolves.

“We are a young team, but I think we’ve played well this year,” said Day, who grew up in Norfolk, Va. “We have like a next-man-up mentality.”

The Wolves struck for the first two goals of the game — from two different lines — within just under two minutes as McKechney scored a goal 4:24 into game for a 1-0 Watertown lead, with Jmaeff assisting.

Just seconds later, Jmaeff rang a shot off the crossbar, then DiConstanzo, who is from Long Island, followed with a goal at 6:28, with Johnny Bonta assisting.

Watertown led 3-0 as Jmaeff converted on a cross-crease feed from McKechney 4:11 into the second period.

“(Jmaeff) usually has a pretty good game, he’s missing his linemate J-Mac and he’ll be back next week,” Clarke said.

Delaware pulled within 3-1 on Brandon Lucchesi’s unassisted goal with 3:42 left in the period, before he followed with two goals in the third period.

Lucchesi finished with three goals on the night for the winless Thunder.

Watertown will play at the Binghamton Black Bears at 7 p.m. next Saturday and will host Binghamton at 7:30 p.m. on Dec. 23 at the Fairgrounds Arena.

“We’ve just got really good group in there,” Jmaeff added. “Everyone helps each other out and are very supportive. We all work hard and keep it simple.”

n NOTES: The Wolves improved to 5-1 at home this season. ... With goalie Breandan Colgan called up earlier in the week to Knoxville of the SPHL, rookie goalie Luke Cohen recorded the win for the Wolves on Friday night, his first with the team. ... Clarke was called into service to play in Friday’s game, recording an assist in his second game played with the team this season. ... Watertown forward Ryan Devine was called up earlier in the week by Vermillion County of the SPHL.

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