WATERTOWN — Deric Boudreau and the Watertown Wolves proved to be quick starters once again Friday night, again pouncing on the opposition.
Boudreau, a centerman, scored three goals, including a tally only 28 seconds into the game, to spark the Wolves to a 4-1 triumph over the Battle Creek Rumble Bees before 876 fans at Watertown Municipal Arena.
Watertown (20-15) extended its winning streak to five games, with all the wins coming over the past seven days.
“It’s going well, the guys have gained some energy,” Boudreau said. “Around the room, everything is really good, guys are happy, guys are working together. I think the biggest thing is it’s a team effort every night.”
Boudreau, who scored a goal in each period, helped the Wolves make quick work of the expansion Rumble Bees (1-33).
“That’s really important, especially the first game of the weekend here,” Boudreau said. “It’s great to get a good start, even if it’s not a goal, just to go in their zone and cycle the puck a little bit and put them on their heels right away.”
“It was a good win for sure,” said Watertown forward Joe Deveny, who scored the go-ahead goal in the opening period. “We had another strong start and we’re doing well.”
Boudreau, in his second season with Watertown, recorded his second hat trick of the season.
Boudreau’s linemates, Michael Desjarlais and Jamie Lukas, assisted on three and two of Boudreau’s goals, respectively.
“He set me up for all three, actually,” Boudreau said of Desjarlais. “The second one, he made me a good pass that I shot right away, and the third one was similar to the first one, a beautiful back-door pass — I didn’t have to do too much, but put my stick on the ice.”
Coming off a 6-3 win over Eastern Division-leading Danbury on Wednesday night, Watertown swiftly built a lead against Battle Creek as Boudreau finished off a centering pass from Lukas.
The Rumble Bees drew even 2:05 later as Nathan Pelligra beat Watertown goalie Jeremy Pominville up top.
Watertown reclaimed the lead with 2:39 left in the period with Deveny converting on a cross-crease pass from former SUNY Canton teammate Tyler Bullard, beating goalie Joel Eisenhower up top.
Boudreau provided the Wolves with a 3-1 edge as he snapped in a feed from Michael Desjarlais with 8:49 left in the second period. He completed his three-goal outburst, this time scoring 24 seconds into the third period, again with Lukas assisting.
“He’s a leader for sure,” Watertown coach Paul MacLean said of Boudreau. “And when the (third) period started 3-1, that was a big one, getting that fourth goal right away.”
Pominville returned to the lineup, and stopped 31 of 32 shots for the win.
“What I like what we did tonight is you don’t have to beat a team 7-4 or 8-5 or even 9-6,” MacLean said. “It was tight checking for a while, I thought their goaltender played well, I thought Jeremy did a good job with the shots he got.”
Pominville, who didn’t dress the previous two games, has now won all three of his past three starts.
MacLean also credited the Wolves with playing a tight defensive game, which has been a trend of late.
“We didn’t have any major letdowns, which is good because you have to treat every team the same, I don’t care who you’re playing,” MacLean said.
Boudreau now has 23 goals and has played in all 35 of Watertown’s games this season.
“He’s been really good, he works hard in his own end and takes pride in playing in the defensive zone,” MacLean said of Boudreau. “He can score, he’s a playmaker as well.”
“It’s a new mix,” Boudreau said of the recent changes to the Wolves’ roster. “The way we play I think we’re thinking about defense first a little more. Even our forecheck, I think every team has a struggle against our forecheck.”
The Rumble Bees were dealt their ninth consecutive loss and their eighth straight setback on the road.
The two teams will finish their season series when Watertown hosts Battle Creek at 7:30 tonight at the Fairgrounds Arena.
n NOTES: Boudreau registered his first career hat trick in a 5-1 win over Port Huron on Nov. 2. ... Watertown has won all five games this season versus Battle Creek, including the first three in Michigan, allowing only five goals. ... Deveny scored his 20th goal in his 27th game of the season. ... Goalie Michael Stiliadis, who won the last two games for the Wolves, including making 33 saves against Danbury, backed up Pominville on Friday.